May 14, 2010
With Luongo approaching free agency, there was a thought that this was Vancouver management's way to help convince him to stay in town -- something he did almost a year later when he signed a 12-year, $64 million deal.
"How on Earth is a goaltender supposed to wear the 'C' and speak to the officials since, you know, it's against NHL rules and all" others wondered. Was Canucks management taking a page out of the wacky book of Oren Koules and Len Barrie?
In the two seasons that Luongo's been captain, he's posted a 73-35-13 record, with a .917 save-percentage and 2.46 goals-against average. Impressive numbers until you look at what's happened in the postseason. Luongo is 12-9-1 in the playoffs with a .905 save-percentage and 2.87 goals-against average. Not to mention two consecutive Western Conference Semifinal bouncings at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Luongo's playoff struggles have caused some to question whether or not he should remain captain of the Canucks, and if the pressure of the 'C' is affecting his play. Last month, Don Cherry called it a "dumb move" to give Luongo the captaincy, and with another disappointing playoff exit for Vancouver, this issue might be coming to a head, but not without opposing sides on the matter. Even Luongo questioned his future in the role.
Talking Thursday, Luongo noted that the off-ice duties of being captain are something he will think about in the off-season.
Vancouver blog 'Nucks Misconduct is all for relieving Luongo of the pressure of the captaincy and giving it to defenseman Willie Mitchell(notes), should he be healthy and re-signed:
"Take the captaincy away. Is he a good leader in the room? Sure. Is he right for the 'C'? Absolutely not, his post-game interviews hammered home this thought. This doesn't mean he is any less important to the team or franchise, but it's apparent to anyone that knows even the slightest about hockey that he cannot handle the pressure."
Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province wonders what good would come out of naming a new captain:
"For starters, what's the alternative? If Luongo isn't captain, who is? And what happens if and when the 'C' were removed from Luongo's name; what would change?
"The media would still want to talk to him all the time and ask him the same questions day after day the way they always do. He'd still be the highest-paid player on the team and hence under the most pressure. And he'd still get the blame for everything that goes wrong here because that's another Vancouver tradition.
"Whether it's Dan Cloutier(notes), Kirk McLean, Felix Potvin or George Gardner, the goalie always seems to be the focus in this city, other than the couple of years Markus Naslund(notes) had the target drawn on his back. But somehow, mystically, all these troubles are going to disappear if Luongo is no longer captain?"
Luongo is scheduled to make $10 million a year beginning next season. That's a ton of pressure already. Does wearing the 'C' add even more, especially in a hockey-mad town like Vancouver?
1. Pass or Fail: The Canucks should replace Roberto Luongo as captain.
2. Who should the next Vancouver captain be, if not Luongo?