Getting Inside the Head Of Luongo


The Canucks owe about 85 per cent of their past year-and-a-bit success to Roberto Luongo

Without Luongo, the Canucks would barely be challenging for a playoff spot in the Western Conference, let alone contending for the Northwest Division. 

In just over a year in Vancouver, the former Florida Panther has come into this city and turned a bleak looking future with average goaltending at best into a promising future with the potential to win a Stanley Cup based on goaltending alone. 

Not only has Luongo had an effect on the Canucks hockey team, he has had an effect on the opposition goalies as well, namely Marty Turco and Mike Smith of the Dallas Stars.

Rewind past the 3-2 Canucks and Luongo victory over Turco and the Stars last night to the morning skate that Dallas had at General Motors Place.  Both Turco and Smith attached cardboard cut-outs to their goalie pads in an attempt to bring up the issue of Luongo’s pads to the NHL, or so [Smith and Turco] says.

The cut-outs that were attached to the two Dallas goalies’ pads had the No. 1 on each leg, obviously insinuating that there is something legally wrong with the pads that Luongo uses.

In post-game interviews following the game, Luongo – fresh off of a 5-0 domination over the New Jersey Devils and Martin Brodeur on Tuesday night and the 3-2 win over Dallas just minutes before the media circus last night – said that Turco and Smith’s antics were “not done maliciously.”  The Canucks netminder then turfed the question about why the Dallas goalie duo were displaying such antics.

Turco and Smith said that it was a joke, as well as a message to the NHL about the issue of the size of goalie pads.  According to them it had nothing to do with Luongo.


Hold the phone!

There are definitely problems with what Turco and Smith said.  First off,  Smith is a back-up goalie.  If memory serves correctly, and 99 per cent of the time it does, Smith was the goalie that let a Kevin Bieksa slap shot  from just beyond the Eastern time zone (specifically center ice) last season in a 2-1 Dallas loss to the Canucks.  It might be wise for the Dallas back-up not to start trying to get into the head of Luongo.  Perhaps it would also be wise to play well when called upon, knowing full well that one or two more losses may result in a one-way ticket back to the American Hockey League.

Now, onto Turco.  The native of Sault St. Marie, Ontario, is a very credible goalie.  He might not be among the top five goalies in the NHL, Turco has shown in his six full NHL seasons that he is an athletic, dynamic and fierce competitor.  That being said, he has not had much playoff success and has fallen victim to Luongo five of the last eight games.  Here’s a tip for the Dallas goalie if he plans on getting into Luongo’s head, beat Luongo.  Plain and simply, just defeat him in a hockey game and do it with some style like Luongo did to Brodeur on Tuesday night.

Right now, Luongo is the best goalie in the NHL.  Technically, mentally and athletically, he is the best and continues to prove it and his victory over Dallas is proof of that.  The Stars had numerous chances from the slot and Luongo was there to challenge the Dallas shooters.

Pads are necessary for a goalie to play well, as well as a safety precaution.  The pads that NHL goalies wear have evolved over the years which has proved as an advantage for Luongo and his counterparts, but the Canucks goalie is athletic and a helluva competitor.  That is why he wins in such dominating fashion and perhaps Smith and Turco should take note before trying to play mind games with a superior goalie. 


3 Responses

  1. Good post. But one question: Isn’t playing mind games a way of potentially winning?

    If pads of any size are okay, why not headgames?

  2. Well pads of any size are not okay, of course. But Luongo’s are legit. Playing mind games is a way of winning, agreed, but the person who initiates it looks stupid when it doesn’t work out.

    I mean, Luongo had the last laugh.

    Also, Cam, why rag on Mike Smith? Well, I get why but he’s actually pretty damn good. Good enough to start some Marty Turco trade rumours.

    Hosea C

  3. I’m just ragging on Mike Smith because a) he’s the back-up to Turco and, until he becomes a No. 1 goalie in the NHL, should keep his mouth shut because he looks like a tool. b) Kevin Bieksa shot a beachball from center ice last year and put it right through Smith. He shouldn’t be ragging on Luongo when he has a hard enough time stopping a dumb-in.

    By now, I think we can all see that Luongo is the best goalie in the NHL both mentally and physically, and I think it is a waste of energy to play mind games, no matter how creative. Want to beat Luongo? Drive to the net, bump him and screen him. Trying to get Luongo off his game that way is a tough challenge, but certainly more achievable then taping cardboard flaps on your pads.

    For The Sports Corner, I’m Cam Tucker

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