Let me preface this by saying I am a long-suffering Chicago Blackhawk fan, since I was entranced by watching flickering black-and-white images of Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita and Glenn Hall work their magic at old Chicago Stadium. So when Roberto the previously half-divine goalie let in seven goals the other night, propelling my team over his, I felt very satisfied.
But, today's Vancouver Sun headline -- "The Case for Letting Luongo Go" -- and all the bleating from wounded Canuck fans about trading him, does him a grave injustice. All the third period of game six between the Hawks and Canucks proved was that Luongo is still not a mature playoff performer, and the high-risk decision to make him team Captain was probably a mistake.
In that period, he let himself get flustered by being run by Byfuglien and other Hawks -- which should be expected in a deciding game -- and probably let himself get even more frustrated over the irritations of imperfect or incompetent refereeing. Rattled, he began shrinking back into his crease, making himself more vulnerable to the Chicago snipers. And so the Canucks bowed out.
But, if he is as smart as he has shown himself at times to be, that may have been the best lesson he could ever learn. A hard one for the fans to swallow, no doubt, but he should be given the chance to show he's learned it, not run out of town. It should be noted that the Canucks, who, remember, didn't even make the playoffs last year, wouldn't have been there without him.
And this sudden Luongo-baiting also reveals more of the fickleness and impatience of Vancouver fans. They didn't take Chicago seriously as an opponent, now they're mad at their idol, who has only proven to be human after all.