VANCOUVER, British Columbia – The rumbles that Roberto Luongo would start the first game of the Olympic tournament Tuesday against Norway began during Team Canada practice Monday: He guarded his own net, while Martin Brodeur and Marc-Andre Fleury shared a goal on the other end of the ice.
Why Luongo against Norway? Babcock: "He's from here."
Why Brodeur against Switzerland? Babcock: "Marty's played a ton of hockey. I think this buys him a little time."
It's a pretty foolproof plan in its conception: Luongo moves past his home-ice jitters in a game against a seemingly punch-less Norwegian team that focuses on mucking up the neutral zone. Roll the Vikings, get Roberto the W, and then confidently go back to him if necessary.
Brodeur, who has started 57 of the New Jersey Devils' 61 games this season, gets a few days of physical and mental rest – putting some distance between the Olympics and the 18 goals in six games he has surrendered in February.
In our opinion, it'll be Brodeur against the Americans unless something goes very wrong in Game 2. And not in a "Luongo pitches a shutout, Brodeur gave up a goal" sort of way. Still think this is Marty's job to lose, and this decision by Babcock reinforced that.