Buried deep under all the attention layered around Roberto Luongo at the trade deadline was the reason it all seemed worth it. It’s the reason the Vancouver Canucks decided to change direction last season, looking for the escape hatch in just the second year of Luongo’s 12-year contract. It’s the reason one of the best goalies in the game languished on the bench for more than three weeks before his surprise start Wednesday, cruelly turned into a high-paid version of Biz Nasty. Like Paul Bissonnette, Luongo was becoming more known for his Twitter account and personality than anything he was doing on the ice. There is a reason for it, and it’s named Cory Schneider. In a 48-game regular season there wasn’t a more important time for Schneider to be playing his best than at the trade deadline. Just imagine if he was still fumbling his way around the crease while the Canucks were trying to trade the man he is supposed to be replacing. You suffer through the humiliation the Canucks faced at not being able to trade Luongo, you don’t want to look at the other guy and say: "Why are we doing all of this again?" And how could the team commit to giving Schneider the bulk of the starts down the stretch — which he does need — if he was still, in his words, playing like an "average" goalie? The decision to turn around the organization like a supertanker and move forward with Schneider was made last year. From certain angles, it looked questionable during the first two months of the season. But something happened during a nine-day break between starts in March. "I don’t know if it clicked, but maybe the urgency kicked in," Schneider said. "Maybe subconsciously I said, ‘I better figure this out one way or another or I may not be around so much longer.’ " It led to the best run of his career. Before bowing out of Wednesday’s start in Calgary with the flu, Schneider had started 11 straight and was 9-2 with a 1.30 GAA and a 0.954 save percentage. It happened just in the nick of time.
Schneider's play validates the Canucks' faith in him
Vancouver Province | Apr 14