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

Minnesota 16 FINAL
Buffalo 17
Atlanta 7 FINAL
Baltimore 29
Tennessee 17 FINAL
Washington 19
Seattle 26 FINAL
St. Louis 28
Cleveland 6 FINAL
Jacksonville 24
Cincinnati 0 FINAL
Indianapolis 27
Miami 27 FINAL
Chicago 14
New Orleans 23 FINAL
Detroit 24
Carolina 17 FINAL
Green Bay 38
Kansas City 23 FINAL
San Diego 20
Arizona 24 FINAL
Oakland 13
NY Giants 21 FINAL
Dallas 31
San Francisco 17 FINAL
Denver 42
Houston 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Boston 95 FINAL
Brooklyn 90
Minnesota 112 FINAL
Oklahoma City 94
Golden State 83 FINAL
Houston 90
Charlotte 96 FINAL
Chicago 101
Utah 91 FINAL
LA Lakers 98
Minnesota 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
San Jose 0 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Calgary 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 1
St. Louis 0 FINAL
Anaheim 3
TX-San Antonio 20 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 27
Syracuse 30 FINAL
Wake Forest 7
Purdue 38 FINAL
Minnesota 39
Western Ky 38 FINAL
Fla Atlantic 45
(12) Baylor 27 FINAL
(22) West Virginia 41
(11) Kansas State 31 FINAL
(17) Oklahoma 30
Iowa 31 FINAL
Maryland 38
So Florida 38 FINAL
Tulsa 30
Tulane 13 FINAL
UCF 20
Virginia 13 FINAL
Duke 20
Akron 20 FINAL
Ohio U 23
Western Mich 26 FINAL
Bowling Green 14
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
Massachusetts 36
Appalachian St 53 FINAL
Troy 14
(25) UCLA 36 FINAL
California 34
Texas A&M 0 FINAL
(4) Alabama 59
Army 17 FINAL
Kent State 39
Kansas 21 FINAL
Texas Tech 34
UAB 22 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 34
Rutgers 17 FINAL
(13) Ohio State 56
(8) Michigan State 56 FINAL
Indiana 17
New Mexico 31 FINAL
Air Force 35
NC State 18 FINAL
Louisville 30
(21) Clemson 17 FINAL
Boston College 13
Ball State 32 FINAL
Central Mich 29
Cincinnati 41 FINAL
SMU 3
(9) Georgia 45 FINAL
Arkansas 32
Oklahoma State 9 FINAL
(10) TCU 42
San Jose St 27 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Miami-Ohio 41 FINAL
Northern Ill 51
New Mexico St 17 FINAL
Idaho 29
Colorado 28 FINAL
(20) USC 56
(23) Marshall 45 FINAL
FIU 13
Southern Miss 30 FINAL
North Texas 20
Georgia Tech 43 FINAL
North Carolina 48
Tennessee 3 FINAL
(3) Ole Miss 34
Utah State 13 FINAL
Colorado State 16
Missouri 42 FINAL
Florida 13
Kentucky 3 FINAL
(24) LSU 41
(16) Nebraska 38 FINAL
Northwestern 17
Georgia State 27 FINAL
South Alabama 30
Washington 20 FINAL
(6) Oregon 45
Iowa State 45 FINAL
Texas 48
(7) Notre Dame 27 FINAL
(2) Florida State 31
Nevada 42 FINAL
BYU 35
Stanford 10 FINAL
(14) Arizona State 26
Hawaii 10 FINAL
San Diego St 20
Arkansas State 10/21/14 7:00 PM
Louisiana
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Columbus 3 FINAL
Red Bull New York 1
Seattle 2 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
Ottawa 6 FINAL
Hamilton 16
Montreal 20 FINAL
Toronto 12
Calgary 33 FINAL
Winnipeg 23
Edmonton 24 FINAL
Saskatchewan 19
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite Wild player?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close