During this past offseason, it appeared Cory Schneider had finally escaped the purgatory of being a “kinda-sorta” starting goalie in the NHL. With the Vancouver Canucks, it seemed he was given his shot to start, only to lose it to the much-maligned Roberto Luongo. Then he earned the job again. Then he lost it. For a professional goalie, it was a nightmare scenario. Even worse, the Canucks just couldn’t get rid of Luongo thanks to his monstrous contract that, unsurprisingly, no team was willing to take on. It seemed Schneider was never going to get the chance to be a permanent starter.
However, over the summer he found light at the end of the tunnel. The Canucks made a blockbuster deal that sent the American goalie to the New Jersey Devils. Not only was it implied he would be moving into the starting role, many believed it was a move that would allow Schneider to take the torch from arguably the greatest goaltender of all time, Martin Brodeur. It appeared Schneider would finally be getting his shot.
Well, it did early on at least. Brodeur started very poorly this season, and Schneider was slowly but surely becoming the Devils’ primary starter. At one point, Brodeur even admitted he was accepting the role of backup. Lately, though, the legendary goalie has been playing well. He’s played the last two, and got the start again tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes. While it’s a statement towards the fact that Brodeur just seems ageless, it’s also something Schneider isn’t exactly psyched about. Though he openly admitted Brodeur has been playing well, he made it very clear he’s upset about the situation.
“It’s like Groundhog Day for me,” Schneider said. “I can’t seem to escape it.”
He went on to say he was both surprised and frustrated about his lack of playing time. It seemed he left one goalie carousel just to jump aboard another.
If there’s any silver lining in this, it’s the fact that Brodeur most likely doesn’t have a lot of time left in the league. He’s on the final year of his contract, and it’s hard to believe New Jersey will throw a mult-year deal his way, if they even resign him at all. Brodeur is 41 years old, and with practically every relevant record under his belt, it would surprise nobody if he rode off into the sunset at the end of this season.
For now, though, Schneider is stuck in a role he knows all too well. There’s no shame in rotating starts with the best goalie the game has seen. He’s been patient this long, and if he’s lucky it’ll be the last time he has to wait to finally get a permanent place in the spotlight.