Vancouver Canucks goaltending ace Roberto Luongo described the loss of Sami Salo and Kevin Bieksa in November's first game as a "blessing in disguise."
"Once our two best defencemen, two of our top four best defencemen, were out of the lineup, things kind of worked out better for us," Luongo said on an NHL media conference call yesterday.
Luongo said the team hit "rock bottom" with the 3-0 Nov. 1 loss to the Nashville Predators, in which he allowed the Predators to score on their first and last shots on goal.
"We really decided to regroup and realized that, if we're going to win some games from now on, we're going to have to work hard, but at the same time we're going to have to work smart," Luongo said.
Vancouver achieved its third-best November in club history. Luongo went 8-4 (including two shootout losses) and became the first Canuck goaltender with three consecutive shutouts. He was named the league's first star of the week on Monday and second star of November.
The last time he was on an NHL conference call, Luongo threatened to retire if the NHL widened goalposts. He made no threats yesterday, but did speak out against the possibility that the league could shrink goalie gloves in a bid to increase scoring.
"I've never had bruises on my hands like this in the past," he said. "I'm a little afraid to think of what it would be if they would go smaller."
Luongo began his trio of shutouts against the Chicago Blackhawks on Nov. 25. The teams meet again at 5:30 p.m. today in Chicago (Team 1040/pay-per-view).