If you want to talk guys who get a bad rap for pretty much no reason at all, you have to start with Roberto Luongo. Here we have a guy who has been all world since he entered the NHL in 1999 despite playing on some truly atrocious teams. He has never had a save percentage lower than .900 in his NHL career. He holds the NHL record for saves in a season.
He is a fantastic NHL goaltender.
When today’s final buzzer went in Vancouver to clinch the Canucks’ win over the Sharks, Luongo became the winningest goaltender in Canucks history. As some of you may remember, Luongo is still the all-time leader in wins for the Florida Panthers and doesn’t look like he’ll relinquish that anytime soon. What’s really cool about all of this is the fact that Luongo is now the first goaltender in history to lead two franchises in wins.
Has Luongo had bad games? Sure.
(Though, I should probably get it out there that the Canucks’ Stanley Cup loss was NOT his fault. He struggled at times, but ultimately had two shutouts in 1-0 wins for Vancouver. Win as a team, lose as a team. He looked bad but a goaltender doesn’t lose a championship. I’m glad I got that festering thought out.)
At the end of the day Luongo will go down as one of the best goaltenders in the modern era. This guy is constantly on the shortlist for the Vezina Trophy and holds the not-so-exclusive distinction of being part of a bad Mike Milbury trade from Long Island. He and Olli Jokinen were traded to Florida for Mark Parrish and Oleg Kvasha. Wow, Mike. Wow. And come to think of it his trade to Vancouver was silly too.
For Bobby Lou’s reaction:
“It’s a great honour. We have a great team here since I’ve been here. Looking forward to winning many more” – Luongo on record.
— Hosea Cheung (@hosea24hours) January 22, 2012
Love him or hate him, Luongo is an excellent netminder – so much so that I can count the teams that wouldn’t want him on one hand. This is just another accolade that’ll confirm that when we all look back and forget the snickers he induced during his career. Given the calibre of teams the Canucks have had since his arrival and going forward, I’d expect his name to be at the top of this list for a LONG time.