Well, Cory Schneider’s debut as a starting goalie in the NHL didn’t exactly go as planned. Schneider let in 5 goals on 14 shots and was yanked from the game in the middle of the second period. Cue the drama, as Roberto Luongo stepped in to replace him. The media began licking their chops.
How will this affect Schneider’s confidence? Is Luongo a better goalie? Does this make the Canucks more or less likely to trade Luongo? And on and on and on…
The fact of the matter is that it’s just one game. Having Luongo looking over Schneider’s shoulder doesn’t make things easier, but he’ll get over it. It’s one game, and it’s not a game in which Schneider was letting in goals from centre ice. The team played terrible in front of him, and Schneider wasn’t on top of his game.
So who starts in game 2 versus Edmonton tonight? Well, Roberto Luongo of course. And that’s ok.
The plan going forward with these two goalies depends on how long Mike Gillis thinks it will be before they complete a trade. If he thinks he might stick around all season long, then the Canucks need to use the two goalies as a tandem, going with the hot hand. If that turns out to be Luongo, then you play Luongo. If it’s Schneider, then you play Schneider.
Roberto Luongo is not Martin Brochu, Petr Skudra or Dany Sabourin. So why play him as such? If you’re keeping both guys, play both guys. And when you have back-to-back games, you play both guys.
Of course, if the plan is to trade Lu tomorrow, then it might be a good idea not to sit him, to not risk injury.
Schneider was named the #1 goalie, but he has never been #1 by a mile. He is a better goalie than Luongo in my estimation, but Luongo is still excellent as well.
If I’m Alain Vigneault and the probability of a trade is not high right now, he ought to split the games somewhat evenly, giving Schneider about 60-70% of the games over the first 10-15 games. After that, go with the hot hand.
This could get messy and awkward and controversial, but it shouldn’t right now.