It’s officially time to start worrying in Vancouver. Not time to panic, mind you, just worry.
It’s always troublesome when your starting goaltender gets yanked in a playoff game and even more so when Andrew Raycroft is the replacement.
Let’s get one thing straight: it isn’t completely surprising Roberto Luongo was removed from the net in Game 3 by coach Alain Vigneault. It was the eighth time this season the captain was taken out prematurely and these lackluster games have often followed strong efforts, like the one we saw in a Game 2 loss.
If anything promising can be taken from this sudden – yet in some ways expected – turn of events, it’s Luongo’s record the game after being pulled this season is 6-1, although not all of those outings were special.
Of course, this isn’t entirely the goalie’s fault, either. The goals that were scored in Game 2 were from tough passes and the result of missed defensive assignments. In Game 3, there were serious mental lapses in the defensive zone, causing two goals off quick and unnecessary turnovers. When your goalie is your captain and you’ve committed 12 years to him, you’d hope he’d steal these games. But at the same time you can’t expect it if you leave him out to dry.
There’s been a lot of irritated chatter about keeping the up-and-down Luongo out, but that’s just silly talk. Luongo is a talent you ride the storm with and let him play out the slump. The Canucks are only three games into the playoffs and only one game down, so to cry out that the season is over or the goalie is overrated at this point is like jumping ship before it’s even left the port.
Sure it’s time to worry. How can you not worry when your team trails in the first round as a favorite coming off a record season?
But the team proved this year it is full of talent, skill and headline players and those are the type that can mount comebacks and overcome adversity.
Stick by the Canucks and Luongo until the bitter end. Otherwise, you run the risk of being a fair-weather fan – and there’s nothing wrong with a little rain every now and again to make the gleam of a golden sunlight feel warmer.
This article also appeared in the Vancouver Metro newspaper.
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