For the third time this season, goalies Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider crouched over facing each other from one end of the ice to the other on game night. And for the third time this season, Luongo went home with the win.
What played out as one of the biggest hockey controversies of last year, Luongo and Schneider aggressively, albeit gracefully, fought for the position as the Vancouver Canucks‘ starting goaltender.
In a surprise draft-day trade, Schneider went to the New Jersey Devils, while Luongo finally became the starter once more for the struggling Canucks. Not before long, Eddie Lack showed the first sign of starting goalie potential, bringing the Luongo vs. backup goalie storyline back to Vancouver.
Most recently the story came to a head when Vancouver coach John Tortorella jumped before looking when he decided to start Lack in the Heritage Classic; a game the Canucks lost. As a result, reports state Luongo demanded a trade that was actually granted this year and off to Florida he went.
Days of Our Lives should really start taking cues from the NHL.
In a perfect description of the situation, New Jersey’s other goaltender, Martin Brodeur, recently commented on the “strange” fact that last year the Canucks had two of the top 10 goalies in the NHL — today they have neither.
Strange only begins to describe the situation in Vancouver these days, but Luongo’s fresh start with his former Panthers team has been a solid homecoming.
Friday night, Luongo managed to keep his team in a tough game, saving 28 of 31 shots, until Florida finally found its firepower in the third period for a 5-3 win over the Devils.
But daytime drama and night-time hockey aside, the best sight of the day wasn’t who won or lost the game — it was watching the former teammates chat on the visitors’ bench Friday morning at BB&T Center. When asked later by the media about the conversation, Luongo remarked it had been nice to catch up and the friendly “rivalry” between the two should be old news by now.
Old news? Maybe so. But what will forever be the right news is the fact that these two could not have moved forward with their careers in a classier way.