Vancouver Canucks: Roberto Luongo Takes over for the Injured Cory Schneider

Joel Prosser@@JoelProsserCorrespondent IApril 24, 2013

Well, the much publicized goalie drama in Vancouver has taken an unexpected turn. 

The Vancouver Canucks official twitter account dropped this bombshell prior to the morning skate as the Canucks prepared to take on the Anaheim Ducks tonight.

Cory Schneider is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. Joe Cannata is re-called from the Chicago Wolves of the AHL.

— Vancouver Canucks (@VanCanucks) April 24, 2013

At this point, General Manager Mike Gillis is looking like a genius for not jettisoning Roberto Luongo at the trade deadline for draft picks.

It would have been cruel irony if the Canucks had finally settled their goalie situation, only to have Schneider injured to start the playoffs.

The nominal No. 3 goalie on the depth chart is Eddie Lack, but he is recovering from hip surgery, so Cannata was called to backup Luongo instead.

Imagine the schadenfreude around the league if Vancouver traded away a Vezina-worthy goalie in Luongo, and a few short weeks later were playing 23-year-old rookie Cannata as the starter in the playoffs. 

But luckily that won't be the case.

Luongo is a pretty awesome insurance policy, and the Canucks will benefit from their depth in goal if Schneider is out long term.

We don't know much about Schneider's injury, as the team is in playoff mode and not even disclosing the generic "upper body" or "lower body" location.

However, we do know that Schneider was outstanding in the 3-1 victory over the NHL-leading Chicago Blackhawks less than 36 hours before this announcement. He finished the game and appeared fine.

Hopefully this is just a precautionary measure for a minor injury with the playoffs starting next week.  

Luongo hasn't been his usual dominant self on a regular basis, but still has posted a respectable 9-4-3 record.

His goals-against average of 2.34 and .913 save percentage aren't up to his usual standards, but the drop can easily be attributed to his infrequent starts.

Given a few starts in a row against Anaheim tonight and Edmonton on Saturday, Luongo should be in top form for the start of the playoffs next week if he is called upon.

If the team can manage to find its offensive touch and score more than a goal per game, which has been a struggle in recent series, Luongo should be more than capable of backstopping them on a playoff drive.

What could add more drama to the goalie situation than Luongo going on a playoff run just a month after the team was unable to trade him? 

If Luongo starts in the playoffs, I can't see the team pulling him out of the net unless he loses a game badly, even if Schneider is healthy. 

Could this be the start of the redemption of Luongo's reputation, as he takes back the starting role in the city he loves and makes people remember how he earned that much-maligned contract?

After all, fans might recall a similar storyline in Vancouver back in 2010 when Luongo took the starting role and refused to relinquish it.

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