Leave it to Cory Schneider to gum up “the plan.”
A little over a week ago, the Canucks young netminder – who is likely to be traded at some point in the next 10 months – got back-t0-back starts because of an injury to starter Roberto Luongo. Schneider took advantage of the opportunity and despite one setback (a 5-1 loss to Chicago) he’s been solid ever since, leading the team to its first three-game win streak of the season.
Luongo has been healthy now for the better part of a week, but Alain Vigneault wisely chose to Ride the Schneid and go with the hot hand. The move first paid off when the Canucks shut out the Colorado Avalance Wednesday. After that, the assumption was that Luongo would get back into the crease on the weekend, in either Friday’s game against Phoenix or Saturday against the Sharks.
Schneider again got the call Friday, and win or lose, that left an opportunity for Luongo to return to action Saturday, right? Well, no.
That’s because Schneider put up a second straight shutout, making it awfully hard for Vigneault to make the switch. Now, for the last couple years, as Schneider as progressed into a top-flight netminder, the Canucks have done all they can to quell a goalie controversy, repeatedly saying Luongo is “The guy.” But times, they are a changin’ – at least for a week.
It was announced this morning that Schneider would start against San Jose, despite the fact Luongo was scheduled to play. And whether it anger Luongo or not, or gives media and fans the optics of the dreaded goalie controversy, the bottom line is the Canucks need wins badly, and whichever goalie gives them the best chance to win should start.
Gotta ride the hot hand.
Today, that’s Schneider.