Thursday, December 9, 2010

reality check - escape with two

If you've been a fan of the Canucks for any small length of time you must be as confused as I am as to why they play to the level of their opponent.  Every season, no matter the changes, this team gets up for the big teams (in the regular season atleast) and coasts with the non-playoff cellar-dwellers.  It's Enfuriating.

Two points is two points though, but the Canucks did not come back so much as escape with a win.  It was like watching Indiana Jones run through some South American temple with a gold idol in his hand from a series of boobie traps and a giant stone.  Where have the Sedins been the past few games?  Why do they feel that they deserve to score after making brilliant passes and dekes; they need to remember that you still have to shoot the puck (above the goaltenders flailing pads) to score the goal, not make 100 moves and then slide it in. 

I'm not so upset with the win, or how we won, or even with the pour goaltending performance, my realization after this game, which I am considering a loss in which we were awarded two points, is that a players salary is reflective of the organizations success financially and not indicative of his play.  Roberto Luongo is the highest paid player in the league this season, but that doesn't mean he has to be the best, or can really even be expected to be.  He signed a contract with a corporation and he earned it.  How he did not win the Vezina his first year in Vancouver is beyond me, let alone the MVP.  That team had nothing and former GM Dave Nonis ripped off the Panthers, stole Luongo who won the division in a year we weren't supposed to even make the playoffs, but it wasn't enough to save his job.  Fact is that year Lou had no help and he may have actually been the best player in the league.  Now he has lots of help and lots of money and he isn't the best player in the league, in fact, he's not even in the top ten in his position, not even close, but he's an athlete and he's a human being like all of us with a job.  I have a job and right now I'm not doing it, why should Roberto Luongo be so different?  Some nights, like the 3-0 blanking of Chicago he looks like the 10 million dollar man, other nights he is a liability, like when he only stops 16 of 20 shots and is outplayed by a guy making 1/20th his salary.  It looks bad. It's easy to get on these guys for their play vs. their pay, but at the end of the day nobody is forcing NHL GM's to shell out big money to players.  Anybody disappointed with Alex Bolduc's play last night?

I actually feel sorry for these high paid players, honestly and legitimately feel for them.  Sure, I'd like to make millions of dollars, but would I really want to have everybody in the world know how much I make and expect me to perform everyday like I deserve that much?  I'd have to really think about it.  It can't be good for a persons mental standing to have that kind of attention and scrutiny paid to their income.  Not that I ever have to worry about that, right now I earn in a year what Bobby Lou makes for one save.

What does upset me is in all this empathy if a player shouldn't be bound by the fans to his contract then the best player should play.  In the course of a game we see star players benched for depth players with lower salaries but in the relm of goaltender it's either you start or you don't and Luongo has his coach and GM wrapped around his finger with his need to play every night so he can get in his groove.  Maybe these guys need to grow a spine and play the best goalie and that's Cory Schneider who hasn't started in forever.  Yes you pay Roberto more money than any other hockey player in the world right now, but if he isn't the best option then he shouldn't play.  How can Cory Schneider feel when Alain Vigneault says he can't afford to not play his number one goalie who almost single-handedly cost the team two games in a row against lesser opponents?  Schneider is expected to support Lou and get a start every now and then; how can he ever expect to play well when he never plays at all?  I thought we were resting Lou because only two goalies to play 70 or more games in the season have won a cup in recent memory. 

So, either Lou is expected to earn his 10 Mil this year by being the true number one or he should have the same shot as Schneider to play night in and night out.  I think they have to go with the hot hand and forget about this "number one".  If that was the issue then Schneider would have the bulk of the games and arguably the Canucks might have a couple more points.

Sure, team management and coaches would feel embarassed to not be playing the guy they gave the big contract to and the title of "number one" but I don't think any fan in Vancouver would be disappointed to see Cory Schneider treated better and given more starts when he deserves them.  Are you listening AV?

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