There's No "Lu" in Team

Patrick Cwiklinski@@patcwiklinskiCorrespondent IMay 21, 2009

CHICAGO - MAY 07:  Goalie Roberto Luongo #1 of the Vancouver Canucks lies face down on the ice against the Chicago Blackhawks during Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinal Round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 7, 2009 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

It's unfortunate that the only things most people are willing to remember about the Vancouver Canucks 2009 Stanley Cup Playoff run is how the team managed to lose 7-5 to the Chicago Blackhawks, and blew their second round series in six games with one of the so-called best goaltenders in the entire league between the pipes.

Granted, Canucks captain Roberto Luongo chose the worst possible time to let in seven goals for the first time during his tenure in Vancouver. However, all the heat he’s amassed since the team’s early playoff exit, or so from both the fans and the media is really unfair.

Pardon the Terrell Owens-esque statement.

I’m not saying let’s all gather around and shed a tear for a man who’s contract is worth a total of $27 million over four years.

But unless you’re empty on the inside there’s now way you can’t help but to feel at least a little bad for Luongo after watching the post-game interview, in which he nearly broke down talking about how he let his teammates down.

It’s like instant amnesia.

Luongo had a phenomenal first round performance against the St. Louis Blues, and everyone was praising his performance. Then when things get a bit shaky against the Blackhawks all of sudden he became enemy of the state, and people begin to question whether he should be invited to play for Team Canada at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

I also understand how easy it is to be frustrated with someone who consistently plays as well as Luongo.

To see someone like that fall flat on their face at such a key moment in the team’s season is hard to swallow, but I don’t think that Canuck fans are necessarily angry at him personally, but rather at the entirety of the organization’s failure to win a Stanley Cup in its 39 years as an NHL franchise.

It also doesn’t help the way Luongo is portrayed in the media as the savior of hockey in Vancouver. The angel like portrayal allows people to have unrealistic expectations for him to fulfill.

As we’ve learned so many times throughout the history of sports is that fans are impatient. They want immediate results and the pressuress for a star player to perform can sometimes be overbearing.

The fact of the matter is that Luongo is the best thing to happen to the Canucks in quite some time. Although he is without question partially responsible for his team’s second disappointing exit from the playoffs in two years, he should not be held fully accountable.

Hockey is a team sport and the Canucks lost as team. That means each one of those 20 players that were dressed for the game attributed to the reason for any kind of success or failures.

As another long offseason begins for Canuck fans there’s going to be a million scenarios played out about what could have been had they beat the Blackhawks, and advanced to Western Conference Finals.

The only thing I can say to that is if you dwell too much on the past, then the future has a way of repeating those same mistakes. Thus, there’s no point in beating yourself about what happened, because it’s that part about looking ahead that gives us hope.

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