March 11, 2009
Tough love for Luongo
By GUTS McTAVISH, SUN MEDIA
It's one thing to pull your weight on a team but it's a much different animal trying to pull superstar weight. Just ask Mats Sundin.
That's why it stuns me to hear comments like "Roberto Luongo is back." Based on the last 15 games, 12 of which have been wins, you would probably have to agree Bobby Lu is indeed back.
Then you dig a little deeper and it becomes apparent that this is not the same goaltender who had four shutouts in six games in early November.
During the first half of that month, Luongo had a lock on the first-star position and truly led the team by example. Then, of course, he got hurt and we don't need to relive all of that.
His shaky return in January basically coincided with the Canucks nine-game winless streak. 'Fresh off an injury' takes a few games to settle in, not a month.
The past 15 games have vaulted the Canucks into hottest-team-in-the-NHL status. Now, try finding Luongo anywhere during that span in the three-star selections. Just one second star, and that's it.
During one of the best runs in team history, the Canucks' captain and world-class goaltender has just one second-star billing. His last first-star appearance came Nov. 15 against the Leafs.
This team got on a roll despite Luongo's less-than-dominant play and you can thank them by name: Kesler, Burrows, Edler, Bieksa and Hank Sedin. These players share one thing in common: They have dominated the three-star selections the past 15 games.