April 30, 2009

The Vancouver Canucks will win the Stanley Cup




You probably want to know why I think so. Well, the answer is rather simple: Roberto Luongo.

He's the best goalie on the planet. And his groin injury, the one that caused him to miss almost two full months of action this season, is the best thing that could have happened to him, and the Canucks.

For once, Luongo is well rested. In fact, he's just heating up. Including Vancouver's first-round sweep of the St. Louis Blues, Bobby Lu's played only 58 games this season. The last time he played less than 60 games, and saw just over 3000 minutes of action, was all the way back in 2001/2002. That was a long time ago. The Toronto Maple Leafs were good back then.

Since 03/04, and post-lockout, Luongo's been a 70-plus games goalie. This is the first season since the 2002/2003 campaign that he's faced less than 2000 shots on goal. That's huge. 

Luongo tearing his groin was a blessing in disguise. He returned to action near the end of January, and found his game on February 3. Of Vancouver's final 30 regular season games, Luongo lost only six of them in regulation. Since February, he's been a man possessed.

Luongo's save percentage in February: .914.

Luongo's save percentage in March: .930.

Luongo's save percentage in April: .918.

Luongo's save percentage so far in the playoffs: a ridiculous .962.

Have I told you lately how much I love a good save percentage? Swoon. I won't lie, Luongo's playoff stats leave me all hot and bothered.

The second round of the playoffs (!!!!1) begin tonight and, make no mistake about it, this is Roberto Luongo's time to shine. If there's a goalie who can take his team to the promised land on his back, it's he.

Vancouver still has a ways to go, but I'm looking forward to seeing Gary Bettman present the Stanley Cup to a goalie for the first time. There isn't a more deserving captain.

And here's hoping Mats Sundin shows up for the rest of the Canucks' run, and is worthy of being second in line to raise the most beautiful trophy in professional sports. I've imagined the moment many times, albeit in a Leafs jersey and not a Canucks jersey, and look forward to crying like a schoolgirl when it comes to fruition.

27 comments:

Down Goes Brown said...

I've got the Canucks as the favorite right now too, and Luongo's a big part of the reason why.

That said, we just saw Hillier out-duel Nabakov and Cam Ward beat Brodeur, so maybe this goaltending thing is over-rated.

eyebleaf said...

That said, we just saw Hillier out-duel Nabakov and Cam Ward beat Brodeur, so maybe this goaltending thing is over-rated.True enough, DGB, and I thought Brodeur was "well rested" as well.

Anonymous said...

Not sure if Sundin would be #2 to hoist the mug should they get there... :-)

eyebleaf said...

You're right, Anon. How could I forget about Kyle Wellwood, and his immense contributions to the Canucks?

Junior said...

It's a bold call but reasonable call, eye!

I think their only serious opposition (my bandwagon adoption of the Caps notwithstanding) would come from Detroit(in the Conf. final) or Boston (in the final).

p.s.: Brampton/Windsor game 2 is sold out! I couldn't believe it - bought tix for game 4 and keeping my fingers crossed for a sweep so I can see my Spits with the....er, whatever trophy they give out to the OHL Champion.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure would be (at the earliest) 6th or 7th in the line of cup hoisting should they win. Hell he should be last considering he's played less games than everyone but LaBarbara.

Anonymous said...

you guy are some of the most naive hockey fans i've ever seen. as a wings fan, i can tell you have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what a champ team looks like. i've got a hint for you: (it's not the canucks;)....not this year or anytime soon either. plus, once sundin retires you'll have to start over again, anyway. i would rank them MAYBE 6th out of the 8 teams left.

eyebleaf said...

Junior: Detroit/Vancouver would be epic. To be the best, you gotta beat the best. I have faith in Luongo. He's serious about success.

And that's good news, I guess, about the game being sold out. Good to see the fans supporting minor hockey.

Anon: It all depends on what he contributes, me thinks. If he's Mr. Clutch, I can see Luongo passing it off to him. If not, I have no problems seeing a guy like Ohlund being second in line. That guy's a rudey. At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter when he gets to hoist the Cup, as long he does.

eyebleaf said...

@ 1:44 Anon: Dude, I'm a Leafs fan, and now driving the Vancouver Canucks' bandwagon. Obviously I have no idea what a championship team looks like. Thanks for the update, smarty pants.

It's one thing to say I don't know what I'm talking about, but to say that Vancouver is 6th out of the 8 teams left is foolish. They're in top 4 (Detroit, Boston, Vancouver and Pittsburgh).

Anonymous said...

well, that's entirely debatable and not much to brag about;) i'll just say they're REALLY lucky to have drawn the teams they did.

Anonymous said...

ducks r not in top 4.....hmmmm.....if I"M worried about them then they're definitely in the top four;)

eyebleaf said...

Hey, a team has got to be good to be lucky. I'm sure San Jose would have LOVED to play the Blues. They ended up with the worst match up.

You're right about the Ducks; they're no 8th seed. There are 8 good teams left, really. You can slot them any which way. Even though the Caps put up 100 points, I'm just not confident in Varlamov. Then again, I never thought Carolina would win the Cup with Ward, and I gave the Canes no chance to beat the Devils.

Clearly, I know nothing.

But go Canucks. For Mats.

Anonymous said...

To all you Wings fans - hate to say it but the Canucks are more scared about the Ducks than the Wings should the teams make it that far!

Canucksfightlikegirls said...

It should be interesting to see how Vancouver handles real teams after that tune-up match against St. Louis. Then we will watch them fold like cheap tents against better teams.

Ian H. said...

If the Nucks can make it past the conference finals, the FINALS will be a breeze. I like their chances with Chicago, but Detroit or Anaheim will be a difficult series for sure.

Anonymous said...

Wings would destroy Luongo.End of story.

eyebleaf said...

@ Canucksfightlikegirls: Uh, great screen name. Keeping it classy. And it was Vancouver's fault they matched up with St. Louis, who went into the playoffs as only the hottest team in the league. Riiiight.

@ Ian: Winning the Cup is definitely the hardest thing to accomplish in pro sports. Chicago is going to be crazy tough, too.

@ Anon: Nobody destroys Luongo, man. You know that.

Escaped Lab Rat said...

The Canucks were my dark horse pick to make the finals as well. St. Louis was a great draw, and they should take Chicago in 6. Admittedly, I'm rooting for Mats to raise the Cup as well. But they will be underdogs to either the Ducks or Wings for sure.

But as we've seen, these playoffs are wide open. You're going to write on Washington vs. Pittsburgh soon right?

Orion Moony said...

Anon: On Roberto Luongo being owned by the Red Wings, he's a career 2.46 GAA and .931 save percentage against them. He's lost more than he's won due to poor offense, not because the Red Wings "own" him.

And poor offense isn't something troubling the Canucks this season. They consistently score, and have four lines that can score. In fact, they share a lot of similarities with Detroit's team from LAST year, with the strong offense, defensively sound forwards, solid defense, and stellar goaltending.

Detroit still has all those points except the goaltending. And the defensively sound forwards, Hossa plays defense with all the grace of a cast iron frying pan, though Datsyuk is always worth something on that end...

Red Wings fans were relieved that Osgood didn't explode against Columbus. But frankly, not letting Columbus score is like punching out the autistic, growth-stunted, blind kid in 5th grade.

eyebleaf said...

But frankly, not letting Columbus score is like punching out the autistic, growth-stunted, blind kid in 5th grade.

ZING!

Orion Moony said...

Anaheim certainly seems to have Osgood flailing. Only one goal so far, but he frequently has no idea where the hell the puck is.

I also like how Brown got an ejection and a five minute major because Hudler was hunched down spacing off and couldn't absorb a check. AND how Franzen was allowed to smash headlong into Hiller at full momentum without consequence. The Red Wings certainly get away with a lot of crap.

Small wonder they always bitch when they finally push it too far and get called for interference. They get away with hammering and obstructing the goaltender more than any three other teams in the league combined...

So far, I have to say I'm pleased with the Anaheim/Detroit results, though. The more they hurt eachother, the less they can hurt the Canucks (or even the Blackhawks, I suppose) next round.

Orion Moony said...

Oh my. Did Franzen just get called for being a colossal douchebag? I think he did! I like how it took at least one case of roughing, a cross check, AND a pair of slashes before the referees deigned to whistle him. God I love the magic of video replay.

Anonymous said...

Moony,yeah like you wouldn't want Franzen on your team? Whatever he hits he destroys.Stop hating.

Orion Moony said...

Actually, I wouldn't want him on my team unless he could calm down the hitting. He's one of those players who mistakes "big hits" for "good defense".

He's sublimely skilled and his skill would be welcome, the problem is on any team that doesn't get the Red Wings slack (which is to say he would fit great in Boston or Montreal, as well as a few other markets) he would be called repeatedly for goaltenders interference.

Most teams don't get to indiscriminately hit goaltenders like the Wings seem to. I like Franzen's skill, I just don't care for his game. If I were to take a player from the Red Wings it would be Datsyuk - proves you can be skilled, a Wing, AND classy all at once.

Anonymous said...

I think you're dead wrong about Franzen's game but,whatever.I'd rather have him than not and i'll tell you this,the Ducks have no answer for Franzen.He may well prove the crucial factor in this series.To think that he is the only guy in the NHL to ever run a goalie is insane.Have you ever seen the Ducks play hockey? By the way this whole Red Wings slack thing is pure shite.

eyebleaf said...

I love the discussion going on here. I think Franzen is great. I also think he's smart for sticking around in Detroit, so he can play with great players.

That was a helluva game yesterday.

Jonas Hiller is the TRUTH.

Anonymous said...

And still the Ducks have no answer for Franzen.