Since I have been writing about Roberto Luongo for over two years now and following him closely since he became a Canuck, I will stick to what I have seen and commented on many times previously: He is overrated.
This is not to say he is not a good goaltender, but that he is not the best goalie in the NHL, which the local media has purported him to be and is trying to sell everyone on.
This reminds me how the Vancouver media built up Todd Bertuzzi to be this great power forward. Bertuzzi was a good player for a short time, but he was not even in the same category as other power forwards that had put up consistent numbers for 15 to 20 years, like Keith Tkachuk or Bill Guerin for example.
Luongo is struggling mightily right now and is having his worst year as the 'Nucks goaltender, and you don’t have to look at his stats to know that. You just have had to watch his play this season.
So the question that the coaching staff must be discussing now is, how do they handle this, with Andrew Raycroft not only having the better stats this season but whose overall play has been better?
Yes, he has had a couple of games where he got the hook, but Luongo tops him there.
Just because Raycroft has not played the same number of games as Lou does not factor into this, because when playoff time comes, it’s all about winning baby!
Just how this will affect the dressing room is anyone’s guess, what with Lou being the captain. This captain thing may come back to bite management in the behind. There is enough pressure playing the goaltender’s position without any expectations of leading on the ice.
So with eight games remaining, how many games will Raycroft play? Do the 'Nucks try to play Lou out of his subpar performance, or do they look at making sure Raycroft gets enough games so that he is ready if needed?
I think the coaching staff will make a decision within the next three games. They will play Raycroft in the April 2 game against the Ducks, that being a back-to-back, and then Luongo the next game against the Wild.
How that goes will determine whether Raycroft starts against the Avalanche on April 6.
After that, with two games to go, the 'Nucks will have to make a decision on who their starting goaltender is going to be entering the playoffs and who gives them the best chance of winning.