October 22, 2011 15 Comments
No one gets it.
Sportsnet columnist Mark Spector recently wrote his open letter to the Canuck fans. Berating them for jeering Luongo after his latest struggles.
He thinks he knows Luongo. He thinks he understands why Canuck fans are angry. He thinks he gets it.
Boy, is he off.
Let’s get this straight. What the fans have done at Canuck games to Luongo isn’t fair. The sarcastic cheering and outright booing is pathetic. It may be a fans right to boo these multi-million dollar athletes but you would think as a fan you would understand that players are humans as well and that they could use your support. But it isn’t everyone. The boos and sarcastic cheers didn’t come from 18,000 strong.
Anyways, Mark Spector presents an issue that many NHL fans seem to be on board with. A hate for Canuck fans. Apparently, we look like cry babies for constantly complaining about Luongo’s fluctuating play. Spector asks does “the baby need a new goaltender?”
Yeah, in fact we do.
He points out irrelevant evidence that a high school law student would be embarrassed to see. Following his question to the Vancouver babies he writes “we thought you already had a Canadian Olympic team starter, complete with the Vezina and Jennings dress-up bundle. Can’t we just send along the camper? Or the puppy waterpark set? Oh, that’s not good enough for the Vancouver baby? They want more than that? We see.”
The worst evidence he gives has to be his mention of Luongo’s Olympic appearance. Luongo was mediocre at best during the 2010 tournament and was the beneficiary of a stacked Canadian team featuring a fourth line almost any other country would have been happy having as their first.
Besides, Luongo’s past is completely unrelated to what he is doing now. He played unbelievably in his first two seasons as a Canuck but since then he has regressed. He had a good stretch last year but came up short when the Canucks needed him most.
What’s worse though is that Spector’s narrow-minded approach ignores so many other important factors that make Vancouver fans irate towards Luongo’s play.
He fails to bring up Luongo’s utter failure as a leader and a captain. Luongo hasn’t been shy in the past to throw his own teammates under the bus in public. He comes across as a baby. Jealous of the praise Tim Thomas was receiving, Luongo decided to speak up and disrespect him. He followed his trash talk up by letting in 6 goals.
Luongo is a jerk. He isn’t endearing to most fans anymore. Canuck fans used to love him before they started to truly understand the man behind the mask. He has lost their respect.
People adore Kesler because he is a warrior. Luongo is the opposite. No one wants to go to battle for or with him.
You obviously can’t blame Luongo for assuring financial security to his great-grandchildren but it is frustrating for a fan base to see their highest paid player struggle so mightily.
Contrary to what Spector implies, Luongo is not one of the best goalies in the NHL. His Lebron-esque choking, general lack of ability to come up with a big save and uncanny aptitude at giving out freebies at the worst time don’t show up on the stat sheet.
It wasn’t Luongo’s fault against the Blackhawks or the Bruins last year. However, he didn’t steal anything. He is paid to steal games. The failure of the Canuck squad to come up with goals while dominating doesn’t excuse Luongo’s personal failure to dominate on a consistent basis.
You would hope that your franchise goaltender can be the best goalie out there on a regular basis. The goal is to expect reliability out of someone who is paid to be a difference maker. Too often he is the difference maker in the wrong way.
The Luongo apologists are everywhere north of the border. Virtually every commentator you see feels the need to defend the man. I don’t get it.
Mike Gillis came on the Team 1040, a local Vancouver radio station, to defend his goaltender. Well, of course he did. What else is he going to do for the person who he so foolishly signed to that ridiculous 12 year contract?
Gillis says that the fan reaction is a hangover from last season’s Stanley Cup playoffs. No, the Stanley Cup was just a few more bullet points on a list stretches as long as the Amazon River.
Mark Spector tries to separate Vancouver from other “normal, everyday” Canadian hockey towns. Apparently, the fans in Vancouver are worse than the same Montreal fans who booed Carey Price in the first preseason game last year following the departure of temporary folk hero Jaroslav Halak.
Preseason? Come on man!
Maybe Mark Spector should imagine if those Montreal fans were stuck with Luongo for the past few years.
There is a cultural divide between the world of hockey fans and the Vancouverites. It’s like we are from different worlds and unless you are from that world you can never fully understand the reasoning behind some things. It’s why I’ll never fully understand the why Philadelphia Eagle fans were so hard on Donovan Mcnabb.
It’s the same with Luongo. The rest of the world knows why Vancouver fans are angry with Luongo but they will never actually understand it.
Vancouver fans are no different from the rest. Despite Donovan Mcnabb’s success, his relationship with Eagle fans was very hot and cold. The Canuck faithful would kill to have Luongo playing up to a young Mcnabb’s level.
It has been 40 long years without a championship in Vancouver and Mark Spector finishes by saying “[We] want it all, and [we] want it now.”
Yeah, how impatient are we?
Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will happily return the favour.
Subscribe to my blog too and you can get the latest posts such as Al Davis Managing from the Grave?