Canucks' Schneider or Luongo? It's anyone's best guess
Vancouver Canucks goaltenders Roberto Luongo (L) and Cory Schneider. (REUTERS)
The quest to discover Cory Schneider's injury is one worthy of Sherlock Holmes.
Those trying to discover what's ailing the Vancouver Canucks netminder are ending up looking more like Inspector Clouseau.
The wackiness is not due a lack of effort, mind you.
It's just the Canucks are treating the issue facing their No. 1 goaltender like a CIA-worthy state secret with the opener of their playoff series against the San Jose Sharks a couple of sleeps away.
For example, after Schneider practised with the team Monday, the first any of the media has spoken to him since he last played April 22, one person asked him: “Have you lost weight?”
“ Not that I know of,” Schneider replied. “Thank you, though. That's flattering.”
Then he was asked whether he was contagious.
“Like sick?” Schneider responded. “No. If anything, not skating every day, I might have put on a pound or two. I've been trying to do what I can and stay in shape, and I felt pretty good today.”
He also scratched off the list mononucleosis, a bout of dehydration and any other potential malady.
To top it off, Schneider, who supplanted Roberto Luongo as the Canucks top goalie this season – which has created something of a season long soap opera, made sure to dispel any belief his fellow netminder actually did run over him with a golf cart, as took place in a fun bit they did for TSN earlier this season.
“That rumour's not true. Not true,” Schneider said. “We don't have any golf carts (at the arena) here in Vancouver, unfortunately.”
What we do know about Schneider, whose team will open its best-of-seven opening-round playoff series with the Sharks on Wednesday at Rogers Arena, put in a 24-save performance to backstop the Canucks to a 3-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks last week.
After that game, though, he disappeared, leaving the netminding duties to Luongo for the final couple of regular-season games, ending with a 7-2 debacle at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers to round out the schedule.
Schneider, who was named team MVP, returned to the ice with just the goalie coach Sunday and then was fully integrated in Monday's session.
Certainly that's a good sign he'll be between the pipes to start the series.
“I was able to complete a whole practice, which is encouraging,” Schneider said. “I'm still day-to-day here, but when you can do an hour-long practice it's a good sign. We'll see how I'm feeling tomorrow.”
You bet he's pushing to be ready.
“I think at this time of year, you either play or you don't. It doesn't matter what per cent you're at,” Schneider said. “If you say you're good enough to play, you're expected to go perform.
“I don't know if it's entirely my call. I'm sure it's going to be a decision amongst the training staff and the coaching staff.”
Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault didn't seem too concerned, nor was he pressing for an immediate answer.
“Any day-to-day injury is day-to-day and you (decide) the day of the game. That's how it usually works,” he said with a shrug.
If Schneider hasn't recovered from his malady, Luongo will be minding the twine, which comes with another story in Vancouver.
Last time Luongo was in net, he was victimized for all seven goals in a bizarre battering at the hands of the Oilers. What was a 2-2 game with seven minutes remaining suddenly turned into a debacle that was broadcast from coast to coast.
Naturally, a debate has raged as to whether Vigneault should have kept Luongo in the game during the final minutes.
For his part, Luongo said that game is in the past and not on his mind with the playoffs around the corner.
“I don't look for the bench to come out of the game,” he said. “I want to play, I want to fight through things. Whether you stay in or come out, it's still embarrassing one way or another. To me that doesn't matter. I just got to stop the bleeding there.”
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