Thursday, April 4, 2013

Cheering for the Fallen Roberto Luongo

I’ve written many articles ridiculing Roberto Luongo. I’ve made it clear that I’m not one of his fans. While I think he’s one of the best regular season goalies in the history of the NHL, I think he’s an underachiever in the playoffs. He’s a choke artist when tit comes to playoff games.

Sure he led the Vancouver Canucks to the Stanley Cup Finals and one game short of hockey’s ultimate prize but it was his poor play in three of those games that cost the Vancouver Can’tucks the Stanley Cup.

Roberto Luongo Signed Picture - 11x14 Psa dna #q41463Before you start to think that this is just another one of my articles bashing Luongo, you might be in for a surprise. Part of my dislike and eagerness to see Luongo fail is that he’s a member of the Canucks. I dislike that team and by association dislike Luongo.

The Vancouver Canucks have been unable to trade Luongo and that was most recently evidenced during Wednesday’s NHL trade deadline. Why didn’t anyone want a goalie that could pretty much guarantee their team a place in the playoffs? It’s his 12 year $64 million contract.

There have been reports that Toronto wanted the Canucks to assume some of the financial burden of his remaining contract. The Canucks weren’t willing to do so.

So there sits Luongo, now a backup on the Vancouver Canucks who is unable to be traded due to his contract and there’s nothing he can do about it but waste away. To his credit Luongo has been productive this season in a backup role and he’s been a gentleman. He’s been a team player.

While I want to sit here and laugh that he’s rotting away and I want to say it’s his fault, I’m finding it hard to do so. The guy has been a true sportsman and a good guy. Wanting him to rot on the bench when he deserves to be starter would be cruel and I can’t do that.

If Luongo was traded to a team that I didn’t dislike, I might even cheer for him to be successful. The guy has endured enough criticism. He’s been ridiculed but wanting the guy to endure more pain when he has been the type of player that I demand from athletes, I can’t sit here and ridicule him any more. He doesn’t deserve that. Not right now.

I’m hoping that Luongo is traded in the offseason and that he finds success with another team. He’s 31 and should have a few more good years ahead of him. Rotting on the bench for a team that doesn’t want him any more is not fair. It’s not right and I can’t and won’t sit here and be happy about that.

So are my days of ridiculing and praying for the demise of Luongo over? They are for now but if the Canucks make a push in the playoffs and Luongo is starting, I will probably wish for his failure.

In the end, I hope Roberto gets another chance to showcase his skills. When the guy is on his game, it’s something special to see. He can steal games for his team. The guy has played some great games. He deserves a shot to play more of those great games.

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