Vancouver Canucks general manager Mike Gillis could have moved goaltender Roberto Luongo before the season started but opted not to, citing the middling trade offers that came his way.
So this distraction dragged into the 48-game season. Coach Alain Vigneault started Cory Schneider in Game 1 and the results were disastrous.
The Canucks fell to the visiting Anaheim Ducks 7-3, thanks largely to terrible goaltending.
“It was just unacceptable to play that way and put my team in that situation,” Schneider told the Vancouver Sun. “You never expect it to go this way. You know what? I was just maybe half a second off and, at this level, that's all it takes. Sometimes you need to make that one big save that will get you in a rhythm and send you on your way. Tonight, I couldn't make that big save. I didn't perform or produce and that's on me.”
After allowing five goals on 14 shots, Schneider gave way to Luongo – who earned heard a nice ovation as he entered the game in relief.
“It was a fun moment,” Luongo told the Sun. “I wasn't really expecting to go in but after the fifth goal, Alain just told me to get in there.
Luongo allowed two goals on 12 shots while other teams watched with great interest. How long will Gillis maintain this untenable situation?
Schneider ascended to the lead role last season. But Luongo has been one of the top goaltenders of his era and he wants no part of a back-up role in Vancouver.
The media stirs this pot constantly, creating a less-than-ideal scenario for a younger goaltender to settle in.
“You know what, it doesn’t matter what market I’m in,” Schneider told the Sun. “If I played this way, it would be unacceptable anywhere in the world. You have to be accountable and responsible and you have to perform and produce, and tonight I didn’t perform or produce — and that’s on me.”
Toronto and Florida, two potential suitors for Luongo, opened their seasons with victories. Philadelphia, on the other hand, is 0-2.
Let the rumor mill whirl.