Instead of taking the crease as the Vancouver Canucks' new No. 1 goaltender, Cory Schneider will be back on the bench watching Roberto Luongo start a third straight game when the Chicago Blackhawks visit Friday night.
If it was anyone else, Schneider might be really upset.
But watching Luongo pitch his 61st career shutout against the Colorado Avalanche the night before – second among active goalies only to Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils – makes it easier to accept the decision, even if Schneider would admittedly prefer to be playing himself.
"When a guy is going good, it's hard to turn away from him, especially when it's Roberto Luongo," Schneider said shortly after being told by goaltending coach Roland Melanson at the end of Thursday's practice that he'd be watching again. "It's not just some call-up, it's not a guy who's played 10 games in the League. It's a guy who's played 800 games in the NHL. We've seen what he can do when he gets on a roll, so I understand why it's easy to keep him in the net."
Maybe so, but even Luongo admitted being surprised he was back in goal for the 3-0 win against Colorado on Wednesday despite playing well in a 3-2 shootout loss at the Los Angeles Kings two nights earlier. For a goalie who expected to be traded after losing the No. 1 job to Schneider early in last spring's Stanley Cup Playoffs, nothing that's happening is predictable.
"I don't think any of us could have, right?" Luongo said. "That's the reality of it, but I am in a happy place right now and playing well, the team is playing well and winning and I just want to keep it going."
Schneider OK with Luongo starting third straight
NHL.com | Jan 31