Archive for the ‘Roberto Luongo’ Category

Martin Brodeur should pass the Olympic torch in 2010

August 27, 2009

When Martin Brodeur passed Patrick Roy for the all-time record in goaltending wins, the NHL Network began running a gushing special feature about Brodeur’s illustrious career. One of the special’s primary focuses was Roy’s refusal to share goaltending starts with Brodeur in ’98, a frustrating experience for the then-budding superstar.

Canada fell short of a gold medal that year, but then came back in 2002 to take the top prize with Brodeur in net. Yet, in 2006, Team Canada was unable to even threaten for a medal.

Now, obviously, Brodeur wasn’t the #1 problem for a team that couldn’t score to save its life.

Still, it makes you wonder if Canada – the only country with enough elite goalies that they will inevitably be forced to leave potential Hall of Famers behind – would benefit more from starting a guy who’s never been given the opportunity to win a gold medal.

Besides, Brodeur’s unreal workhorse streak is now in danger of becoming a thing of the past after his bicep injury last season. Does he need to risk one of his final prime years for a second gold medal? No, not in my opinion.

If I were Steve Yzerman, I would go with Roberto Luongo. Imagine the kind of backing Bobby Lou would receive, not only representing Canada but also the hometown Vancouver Canucks? It’s almost a cosmic occurrence. (Of course, it would be an unreal amount of pressure, but this is what he’s always wanted … right?)

Luongo’s gone all these years playing for terrible teams in Long Island and Florida plus a good-but-not-elite club in Vancouver. This could be his chance to cement his legacy as one of the truly great goalies of his generation.

He’s younger, in his prime and hungrier than Brodeur.*

Even if Luongo is unavailable, Syrupland would have oh-so-many great options. They could go with the money goaltending of J.S. Giguere. Get a puck mover like Marty Turco. Maybe go with a young phenom such as Steve Mason, Cam Ward or even Marc Andre Fleury. Just about every other nation would kill for guys who won’t even be reserves for Canada.

Then again, if the Canadians decide to make the same lazy types of decisions that they made in 2002, that would be absolutely fine with me. My country needs all the help it can get.

* – Go ahead, make a token fat joke. Shame on you.

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Re-Draft Steals: Round 1

August 4, 2009


With the fourth round underway, it seems like there is enough separation to have a little fun with the CLS League Re-Draft.

To revive your memories of the first round, there were some big surprises amid the expected decisions.

Obviously, the biggest surprise was most likely Cassie‘s pick of Henrik Lundqvist at #3. It wasn’t the only pick that defied expectations, however, so there were some top-end players going toward the end of the first round.

Calling Evgeni Malkin (#4), Nicklas Lidstrom (#6) or Pavel Datsyuk (#7) steals might be a bit much, even if they were great picks. So for the sake of argument, we’ll go into the teens before we consider anyone a true “steal.” Feel free to vote and comment on whom you think ended up being the Hamburglar of the first round.

It’s not crazy to call Geno a steal at #4

11. Roberto Luongo

Perhaps it wasn’t a banner season for Bobby Lou after he faced a tough mid-season injury and fell victim to a Patrick Kane hat trick in the playoffs, but it’s still surprising that he was not the first goaltender taken.

16. Jarome Iginla

It’s been a while since Iginla powered the Calgary Flames to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, but he hasn’t shown many signs of slowing down as one of the premier power forwards in the game. He does everything you’d want, from scoring to fighting to being a charismatic leader.

19. Martin Brodeur

His stock is sliding a bit, but Brodeur is still one of the biggest names in the NHL. He’s won Stanley Cups, Vezina trophies, gold medals and oh yeah, the most games of any netminder ever. Couple that with a reasonable cap hit ($5.2 million) and what was a staggering workhorse streak before the 2008-9 season and he has to at least be considered a steal.

23. Chris Pronger

Pronger might be the most hated player in the NHL, considering that he poses a far more legitimate threat than Sean Avery‘s mouth. But for my money, if I want to win a Cup next year I’d either go with Pronger. He might not be as cerebral as Lidstrom, but that doesn’t mean he cannot think the game. He might not be as large as Zdeno Chara, but he makes up for their small size difference with an indifference for human life. Oh, and he’s also a helluva powerplay quarterback to boot.

25. Joe Thornton

Yes, he gets a lot of crap for his playoff chokings (whether that perception is fair or not) but Jumbo Joe is a guy who’s made millionaires out of solid forwards ever since he got comfortable in the league. He’s huge, awesome in video games and puts up huge numbers every year. In my book, he’s easily a top-15 player.

26. Henrik Zetterberg

Zetterberg can do it all. He’s one of the league’s best two-way players, can shift between center and LW with ease and score tons of points. His durability can be a bit of a concern, but other than that he’s a guy who has no business dropping to the later part of the first round.

Which player was the steal of the first round?(opinion)

Laura gives many the goaltending Blues (11th pick)

July 24, 2009

11. Roberto Luongo goes to St. Louis, picked by Laura from St. Louis Game Time and Wazzupwitchu.

Cap Hit: $6,750,000

Afternoon Cycle: You are fooorrrrgiiiiiven

March 30, 2009

Note: If you haven’t read Chris Kontos’ Hockey in Japan piece, make sure you do that first. It is absolutely essential reading.

  • There might not be many of you out there with the privilege of seeing much of the NCAA hockey tournament, but it’s been pretty awesome.

Still, deep down, as ESPN U or whatever affiliate covers these games, there’s this other feeling: the strong urge to plead for the NHL’s return to the four-lettered network. Admit it, you thought that as ESPN’s beautiful HD washed over you and creative, interesting camera angles came about.

Now, don’t get us wrong. ESPN left hockey bruised and battered entering the lockout. What’s the best parallel? Should we go to that Rhianna getting roughed up by Chris Brown well again? Or maybe kick it old school with a Bobby Brown-Whitney Houston or really really old school with Ike and Tina Turner?

(It’s amazing how many abusive music industry relationships involve people who either go by only their first name or don’t share a last name. Is the modern era hyphenated last name trend a catalyst for violence? Of course not, but it’s always fun to establish arbitrary reasoning for such things. Violence = not funny; outlandishness = quite funny.)

Either way, it’s obvious that ESPN’s sending subtle little flowers to hockey at work. A hockey highlight prominently displayed in the Sportscenter Top 10? Ohhh you shouldn’t have! Mentioning a hockey player other than Sidney Crosby? Maybe you can change!

Mike Chen, the wily veteran that he is, beat us to the “ESPN should televise NHL games on Thursdays” soap box but it still deserves to be mentioned. Think about it: Thursday is not a designated day for any sport, really. The NHL has three days of the week where the games are bountiful: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Versus covers Tuesday, Hockey Night in Canada owns Saturday … so why not Thursday Night Hockey on ESPN?

They wouldn’t even have to leave Versus, a cable channel we’d compare to an overweight, slightly dopey wife with a heart of gold. Sure, you can’t really brag about her with your office buds at the water cooler. And her production values are pretty terrible. And she never seems to rent the right movies/pick the right games. But she loves you and needs you. That’s got to count for something.

(Ugh, OK, no more bad analogies … until the next bullet point. Ho ho gotcha suckers!)

  • NHL Network was showing Game 7 of the Carolina Hurricanes – Edmonton Oilers SCF, which seemed shockingly old since it was in the pre or early HD era.

Still, it’s stunning just how much energy permeated every cell of that game. Dirty hits were thrown about like 10-cent tacos. Scoring chances abounded. Naturally, there were some GREAT playoff beards.

It really got us pumped for the playoffs. The long grind is almost over, everyone. Are you as excited as we are?

  • Does every NHL season see so many random, out-of-left field surges as this one? At any given time, there seems to be at least one or two RED HOT teams. Right now, the Pittsburgh Penguins are hot but they have big name stars so that’s not too shocking.

The two biggest surprises are the St. Louis Blues and the Carolina Hurricanes. We might take a deeper look at those two teams if possible. Either way, it seems like an odd trend but maybe we’re just paying closer attention these days.

  • Despite only recording one assist between eight guys on Saturday, the Funkillers managed to pull the tights and put their legs on the ropes to advance on to the fantasy hockey finals. The hero of Sunday was Roberto Luongo whose shutout, literally, was the only way this fictional team could win.

We know you don’t care, but just look at how close this was:

All-Decade Team Goalie: Can anyone challenge Martin Brodeur?

January 29, 2009

Among hockey’s great minds (and my name is not on that list … hopefully mine is at least on the list of “people who can function and happen to enjoy the NHL”), the importance and relevance of statistics is of considerable debate. For the most part, my allegiance is somewhere down the middle.

Sometimes it’s just flat out difficult to deny dominance. When it comes to sheer quantity from the seasons ’99-00 to current day, no other goaltender comes within spitting distance of Martin Brodeur.

His numbers are just staggering. On these numbers alone, you could quite possibly have a Hall of Fame career:
  • 343 wins
  • 62 shutouts,
  • approximate save pct. 91.3%
  • at least 70 GPs every year except 2008-09
  • Two Stanley Cups
  • 5 All-Star appearances
  • 4 Vezina trophies
  • 2 Jennings GAA trophies
  • three time First Team All-Star

There isn’t another goalie who approaches many of those totals. Some, like Dominik Hasek, saw their best days before the turn of the century. Others, like Henrik Lundqvist, came along too late or have yet to enter their prime.

That being said, Brodeur has had his fair share of detractors in his career. Certainly, the Devils are enjoying a considerable amount of success with their famous goaltender nursing an injury. Some say that Brody simply was in the right place at the right time, a solid goaltender who happened to luck into New Jersey’s suffocating trap defense.

One of the most reasonable and interesting critics of Brodeur is The Contrarian Goaltender, who runs the aptly titled (and regularly fascinating) blog Brodeur is a Fraud. We had the pleasure of exchanging an e-mail on the subject of Brodeur as goaltender of the decade, and while admitting that ” … the time frame (99-00 to present) does line up pretty well for Brodeur, since all his main rivals from the 1990s retired in that period” the CG says that the one goalie who may stand a chance is Roberto Luongo:

“I tend to place a greater importance on individual save stats than team success, as well as a heavier weighting on peak play than longevity, and I generally distrust goalie award voting. All of these are reasons to pick Luongo over Brodeur. I think save percentage is the best goalie stat, and according to that stat Luongo was the best goalie of the decade (.919 save percentage compared to .914 for Brodeur, with Luongo likely facing tougher shots on average). I think Luongo’s 2003-04 season was quite possibly the best single season by any goalie between 2000 and 2008. Brodeur’s best season was unquestionably 2006-07, and yet I would have given my Vezina vote to Luongo that season. Brodeur has the quantity, team success, and award voting, but in my view Luongo has the superior quality.

… Brodeur is definitely the safe choice and the consensus opinion, but if it was my call I’d go with Luongo.”

Throughout this process, the main things I’ve been focusing on revolve around stats, peak years and awards although other subjective and outside influences will come into effect.

This is part of the reason I’m putting together a “secret tribunal” to ultimately decide this All-Decade Team. Any of the other contributors are welcome to base their decisions on any number of factors (the only rule: consider the time frame of 99-00 to current).

It will be interesting to see what kind of debates spring up along the way. So, what do you say: is Brodeur a no-brainer or is Luongo a better goalie stuck on lesser teams?