Yahoo!'s nuts-and-bolts hockey guys have addressed Canada opting to start Roberto Luongo in a qualification-round game against Germany on Tuesday. All that being said, The Contrarian Goaltender's rumination on experience is worth a click-through:
When you focus on experience, you just end up being biased for one player over another based on them having played more games, and what it ends up being is tyranny of the status quo. I'm reminded of Canada coach Mike Babcock's comments prior to the Olympics. He said about his goaltenders, "I don't think it's a big secret that nobody was really on fire coming into the tournament for us." In hindsight I should have known right then and there that he was planning to go with Brodeur as his starter, because that's a ridiculous statement. The pre-tournament play between the goalies wasn't even close, it was Luongo by far.
Hockey Canada seems to have a problem with picking goaltenders. The rule of thumb is to take good goalies who get a boost from playing behind a tight-checking, well-coached defensive team, as Brodeur did for many seasons with the New Jersey Devils. The issue is that at a major international tourney, opponents have so much talent that they can't be completely shut down. They're going to get theirs.
Recall that Canada's goaltending fell apart in the gold-medal game of the World Junior Hockey Championship, where it lost 6-5 in overtime to the U.S. (The Canuck goalies allowed six goals on 37 shots.) Canada practically won the 2009 World Junior in spite of shaky goaltending, surviving high-scoring games against Russia (6-5 in a shootout in the semifinal) and the U.S. (7-4 in the round robin after going down three goals early).
The point is that the Brodeur-Luongo debate suggests there should be red flags (not the Maple Leaf kind) about who picks these teams. Some flags were raised a few weeks ago by a TSN special: There was a scene where some Hockey Canada decision-makers were sitting in a boardroom throwing around terms such as "champion" and "warrior" and "winner," terms only used by middle managers and Joe Morgan. That's all well and good, but how about being able to figure out who is playing well?
As Brodeur Is a Fraud notes, in his last 11 starts before the Olympics, Luongo posted an 8-2-0 win-loss-overtime loss record, 2.22 goals against average, and .926 percentage, compared with Brodeur's 4-5-2, 2.78, and .884.
And the tournament is being held in Luongo's regular rink. Evidently that kind of experience doesn't count.
- Hockey Canada