Thursday, September 21, 2006
Roberto Luongo will make his much anticipated debut in a Canucks jersey against the San Jose Sharks tonight. Unlike last Tuesday's game, Alain Vigneault and company will ice a much more veteran lineup.
For Luongo, it's his first opportunity to not only dispel the "Vancouver is a goalie graveyard" theory (Jim Morris, CP), but also to get a good feel for the Western Conference game (Brad Ziemer, Vancouver Sun):
Like all good goalies, Roberto Luongo keeps a book on the National Hockey League's top shooters. Actually, it's not really a book.I sure hope he learns quick. At $6.75 million per season, Canucks fans won't tolerate many off-nights. (Like the one ex-Canucks goalie Alex Auld had last night.)
"My black book is right up here," Luongo said Wednesday, pointing to his head. "Once I play against a guy or I see something on him, I always remember. I just have a tendency to remember these things."
The trouble is, Luongo's 'book' contains some blank pages when it comes to the NHL's Western Conference. Until now, his entire NHL career has been spent in the Eastern Conference. Ask him about Jaromir Jagr or Alexander Ovechkin and Luongo will tell you where they like to shoot from and whether they prefer to go top shelf or five-hole. Ask him about some of the West's top guns and Luongo is not so sure.
"Apart from a couple of guys who moved from East to West there's not many guys I know real well out here," Luongo said. "Obviously I have played with a few guys, but when you only play against them once every couple years you don't really tend to remember where they like to shoot or where they tend to go on the ice."
Luongo said he doesn't think there's a huge difference in the shooters between the East and West (although it should be noted that eight of the nine top goal-scorers in the NHL last season played for Eastern teams).
"I haven't really played in a western type game, but from what I've heard the pace is faster so I'll find out tomorrow if the game is different or not," he said. "But as far as shooters are concerned, I'm sure everyone has their tendencies and it's only a matter of getting to know them."
* - Photo credit to the Vancouver Sun
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