Russo's NHL Insider: Canucks' goalie controversy stays quiet in house

  • Updated: February 9, 2013 - 7:47 PM

Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider remain friends, even though it's clear one will be departing Vancouver.

hide

Roberto Luongo.

Photo: DARRYL DYCK, AP

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

You have to hand it to Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider.

This Vancouver goalie controversy might be the least controversial in the history of goalie controversies.

Take Wednesday: As Luongo began to talk about his current situation -- one in which everybody knows Luongo's destined for another city, one that Luongo will essentially be able to choose thanks to a no-trade clause -- Schneider was surrounded by reporters a few feet away talking openly and loudly about starting against the Wild.

This came one day after Schneider's agent, Mike Liut, spouted off a variety of opinions to the Vancouver Sun.

As Schneider was peppered with questions about starting in Minnesota and his agent's comments, it would have been natural for him to talk in a whisper or for Luongo to duck out to a back room.

Neither happened.

"It starts with our relationship, our friendship," Schneider said. "It takes any possible awkwardness or tension out of the whole situation. It's very easy to be very normal around each other."

Both are used to the questions. The story has legs and won't die until Luongo is traded.

"It's pretty much the talk on a daily basis," Luongo said. "I don't really let it affect me. I know [the questions] are coming, and I just handle it the way it goes that day. At this point, we all know what's going on. There's no secret [he will be eventually traded].

"Everybody's up front and honest, and now it's just a waiting game. I just focus on playing because it's really out of my control at this point."

So far, like the former agent he is, Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis is standing firm. He wants real value for Luongo and won't just give him away. Chicago seemed a potential landing spot until the Blackhawks' scorching start with great goaltending. Toronto, Washington and Florida, where Luongo lives and his wife and kids remain, are the top contenders now.

The Canucks can be patient. They have an embarrassment of riches in goal, and the distraction hasn't affected the team. They lead the Northwest Division. Luongo, who had goalie guru Francois Allaire in Florida for eight weeks during the lockout to improve his game, has a 1.53 goals-against average. And since an awful opener against Anaheim, Schneider is 3-1 with a 1.71 goals-against average.

Canucks coach Alain Vigneault, who jokes (we think) that he flips a coin to choose starters, said both goalies and the team have done a remarkable job not allowing the sideshow to become a distraction.

Vancouver Province hockey writer Ben Kuzma says: "I wouldn't be surprised if I wrote 200 stories since last summer. It's quite the day when I don't write a goalie story."

Luongo, 33, is in his third year of a 12-year, $64 million contract. Schneider, 26, is in the first year of a three-year, $12 million deal. It's obvious which goalie is the future.

Luongo, after much scrutiny the past few years, has become a sympathetic figure in Vancouver. In large part, it's because of his hilarious secret anonymous Twitter account (@strombone1) that everybody knows is him.

I covered Luongo for a long time in Florida. I got to see his wit and intelligence on a daily basis, and he's finally allowed fans and media to see this different side of him.

Some of the best tweets recently have been: "Phone lines are open" once the lockout ended (referring to the fact he's on the trading block again); "Guys I've just been dealt........... POCKET ACES! #latenightpoker"; and this golden retweet from the league's official Twitter site: "Can't wait!!! RT @NHL: #Canucks fans, are you ready to see Cory Schneider as No. 1 in net? #hockeyisback."

It's become such shtick, Luongo's not about to come clean to his 67,000 followers that it's him. It's like Batman. Luongo is the Caped Crusader. He can't take the mask off @strombone1. It would lose its cache, wouldn't be as fun.

Part of the charm is knowing it's him, but actually not really knowing. It's kind of like who's the real No. 1 goalie in Vancouver.

RUSSO'S NHL SHORT TAKES

Realignment still kicked around

While there is a meeting this month to iron out the Olympics and the fact there is little doubt NHL players will participate in the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, realignment continues to be a hot-button topic.

As members of the NHL and NHLPA hierarchy gather to write the collective bargaining agreement, they are also discussing realignment. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly says the league "hopes to have a resolution in the near future."

While the Olympics and the uncertain future of the Phoenix Coyotes affect the schedule's release in June, Daly says it should not hold up realignment.

The Coyotes' sale to Greg Jamison did not occur by a Jan. 31 deadline set by the city of Glendale. The league continues to operate the team and there is the possibility for an eventual relocation, perhaps to Seattle.

The NHLPA would not provide its consent for realignment last year, something that disappointed Wild owner Craig Leipold.

At the time, Leipold promised "to continue to pursue this realignment plan as aggressively as possible. ... Our fans were universally excited to be playing against Midwestern teams in the previous old Norris Division."

The Wild wants to move out of the Northwest Division with Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Colorado into a "conference" with Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Nashville, St. Louis and Winnipeg.

WILD'S WEEK AHEAD

Monday: at Calgary, 8 p.m. (FSN Plus)

Tuesday: at Vancouver, 9 p.m. (FSN)

Thursday: vs. Colorado, 7 p.m. (FSN)

 

PLAYER TO WATCH

Jarome Iginla

The Flames captain, who is in the last year of his contract, is the all-time leading scorer against the Wild with 35 goals (10 winning goals) and 64 points in 67 games.

  • related content

  • The Wild's week ahead

    Saturday February 9, 2013

    Monday: at Calgary, 8 p.m. (FSN Plus)

  • Michael Russo's NHL short takes

    Saturday February 9, 2013

    While there is a meeting this month to iron out the Olympics and the fact there is little doubt NHL players will participate in the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi,...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Yankees - M. Pineda 12:07 PM
Toronto - D. Hutchison
Detroit - M. Scherzer 12:10 PM
Chicago WSox - C. Sale
Chicago Cubs - F. Doubront 1:15 PM
St. Louis - J. Masterson
Cincinnati - A. Simon 3:05 PM
Pittsburgh - V. Worley
Minnesota - K. Gibson 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Philadelphia - J. Williams 6:10 PM
NY Mets - B. Colon
Miami - J. Cosart 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Harang
Boston - A. Webster 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Odorizzi
Cleveland - T. Bauer 6:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Detroit - K. Ryan 6:10 PM
Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt
Texas - R. Ross Jr. 6:10 PM
Houston - S. Feldman
Colorado - T. Matzek 7:10 PM
Arizona - V. Nuno
Chicago Cubs - T. Wada 7:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Gonzales
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke 7:40 PM
San Diego - I. Kennedy
Milwaukee - M. Fiers 8:05 PM
San Francisco - J. Peavy
Oakland - J. Samardzija 8:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Rasmus
Washington - S. Strasburg 8:10 PM
Seattle - R. Elias
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 FINAL
ULM 17
Boise State 13 FINAL
(18) Ole Miss 35
Tulane 31 FINAL
Tulsa 38
Rutgers 41 FINAL
Washington St 38
Weber State 14 FINAL
(19) Arizona State 45
Temple 37 FINAL
Vanderbilt 7
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 7 1st Qtr 8:56
UAB 0
(7) UCLA 0 1st Qtr 6:52
Virginia 0
Western Mich 0 1st Qtr 6:32
Purdue 7
(5) Ohio State 0 1st Qtr 6:18
Navy 0
Appalachian St 0 1st Qtr 6:21
Michigan 7
Ga Southern 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Colorado 3:00 PM
Seattle
New England 4:00 PM
Toronto FC
Columbus 6:30 PM
Montreal
FC Dallas 7:30 PM
Chicago
Real Salt Lake 9:30 PM
San Jose
Portland 9:30 PM
Vancouver FC
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Chicago 6:00 PM
Indiana

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Gophers in their season opener

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close