Outside of all that sweet, sweet cash, Roberto Luongo's reasons for returning to Vancouver this season didn't extend much beyond his lack of choice. But when the NHL announced the Heritage Classic game between the Canucks and the Ottawa Senators, at least he had that to look forward to.
At the risk of sounding like an after-school special: here we go again.
On the surface, Tortorella's reasoning appears to be simple: Lack's hot. he started the first game out of the Olympic break, and he posted a shutout. That earned him another start, Friday versus the Minnesota Wild, and he was very good, allowing just one goal and giving the Canucks several chances to win the game in a shootout. They didn't, because this team can't score right now, making their goaltending even more important than ever. So riding the hot hand makes some sense.
But at the same time, after everything we've been through, it makes none at all. It means sitting Luongo, your starting goaltender, for three straight games, including the one game he's had circled on the calendar all year, and once again raising questions about his happiness and future with the Vancouver Canucks organization.
At this point, the question isn't even is there a goaltending controversy in Vancouver? It's when is this crap gonna stop?
Asked about round two of this nonsense, Roberto Luongo balked.
"I'm just here to play, man," he told the assembled media. "I don't want to start going through this whole thing again."
But it would appear that he has no choice, which is about where he's been for the last two years.
Admittedly, the whole thing is a bit suspicious. Why didn't Luongo start the first game back from the break? He was obviously fresh. He played just one game in Sochi. Either the Canucks are truly dense, they're gaslighting him, or they're working on a deadline deal and are understandably paranoid about it falling through -- say, due to injury or an untimely, bad performance.
At this point, none of these three would surprise me. But either way, this is terribly handled. It's like watching a bachelor hold a baby.
A week ago, Luongo wasn't the focus of the trade deadline, and fans in Vancouver were fine with that, especially after the debacle at last year's deadline. But he is now.
You could say this is just John Tortorella being stubborn. Lord knows he has it in him. But honestly, if Luongo is still a Canuck after Wednesday, the unnecessary distraction they've created, for a team fighting for a playoff spot, deserves a whole new round of criticism, because this is unbelievable.
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