It has been widely speculated that Luongo would get his shot to carry the load after a sub-par performance by Martin Brodeur against Team USA last night. The Vancouver Canucks star goalie won’t be going in cold, as coach Mike Babcock started Luongo in game one against Norway. At the time the move raised some eyebrows, but now it is looking like a very wise decision. With a game under his belt, Luongo should enter the game with less nervousness having already experienced the madhouse atmosphere once.
Luongo should also have a chance to build some confidence and gain some momentum before he faces the big guns. Germany will no doubt provide Canada with a tough game, but Luongo won’t be forced to face shooters of the caliber he would have to if Canada was facing Russia, Sweden or even Slovakia right off the hop.
Ultimately, as shocking as it is that Martin Brodeur, one of the biggest goaltending legends of all time, will likely watch the remainder of this tournament from the bench, I think Babcock and his coaching staff made the appropriate call here. Some might suggest he caved in to the enormous pressure in Vancouver to put Luongo in, but I don’t believe that factored into his decision one iota, and he made the decision strictly on the criteria of what was best for Team Canada.
It’s no secret that Luongo wanted this enormous responsibility. This is his chance to establish his legacy as one of hockey’s true greats. If he can carry Canada to victory over Germany and Russia and ultimately to an Olympic gold medal he will enter Canadian hockey lore as a national hero and the savior of the Olympics.
No pressure Roberto…