Thursday, December 3, 2009
Roberto Luongo is a dick.
I'm sorry, as you guys know I endeavour to keep the vulgarities off of the blog but it can not be avoided in this instance.
Roberto Luongo, goaltender for the Vancouver Canucks, is a dick.
The high that was watching Vancouver beat up on New Jersey crashed back down to earth thanks to Luongo, who is a dick. That is three times I called him that, and here is why:
Luongo and his teammates ate a postgame meal in the restaurant in the Rock. In the meantime, two dozen or so people waited outside for autographs - kids, fans and collectors alike. The Canucks did not emerge for about 45 minutes to an hour after the game ended. When they did, a good number blew right past everyone - which was fine because, frankly, they were not recognized. Roberto Luongo, however, was - and he was the prime target of every rain-soaked, exhausted person there. Now, I would have little problem if Lou skipped over the collectors and older fans (myself included - wearing an Canucks jersey and hat), but you never turn down kids. He signed two autos right as he came out of the building and proceeded to literally run away to the bus, saying, "sorry guys, it's raining." We know, we were standing out in it waiting for him. At the end of the auto line was a kid with his dad. The kid had an old school Canucks jersey and his father yelled out to Luongo "Please Lou, my son here is 10 years old, a goalie and you are his favourite player!" Luongo didn't stop and just repeated his observation of the precipitation as he trotted to the bus.
This man, who just weathered 90+ mph shots, ignored a kid because it was raining. Are you kidding me? The NHL schedule being what it is, Luongo won't likely be back in New Jersey for two years. In that time the kid could/should have picked a new hero. In that time the kid could have decided not to become a goaltender. Or, even worse, in that time the kid could have decided to give up hockey entirely. Now I know that a superstar like Luongo if often pressed for time and an avalanche of requests. But you just don't ever, ever screw over the kids - the heart of the game. And especially those far away from Vancouver who rarely if ever get to see you and and those that stood out in the freezing rain for over an hour to get 15 seconds of your time so you can write your damned name down.
Not as egregious, but annoying just the same, the Rangers rewarded those fans who showed up to their Toys for Tots event early with Michal Rozsival and Chris Higgins. Really.
I had friends stand in line for over two hours and, in return, they got to get autographs from Rozy and Higgins. I think the only way the team could have made it a bigger slap in the face would be Redden and Brashear, but they weren't involved in the event. Gilroy, MDZ, Cally and Girardi all were, but early arrivals got Rozy and Higgins. Thankfully those aforementioned friends of mine were quite generous and brought extra toys and waited in line a second time to get two Rangers who actually contribute, two Rangers who fans actually pay to see, two Rangers with a future with the franchise.
As much of a downer as it was to see that pair, it must be said that Adam Graves was as gracious a host for the event as always. I can't imagine a better, more sincere humanitarian and people person.
I asked him about Valley but he hadn't heard about the waiving as of 5pm. I tried to get a scouting report on Chad NueveSies (or whichever number Mr. Johnson will wear when he gets here) but Gravey didn't want to talk about it, not having heard about Valley being sent away. As I said in the Saturday game wrap, Valley may be a helluva guy but his departure is long past due. We can look forward to seeing what Chad can do, and hope that he is ready for action in time for the back-to-back with the Islanders in two weeks.
Erik Christensen should be in the lineup ASAP. The waiver-wire pickup from Anaheim is a capable third or fourth liner but nothing special. Christensen, like Colby Armstrong, ceased being anything more when he left Cindy's side in Pittsburgh. Army has more grit and personality but Christensen has more skill. He should be plugged in immediately for whichever piece of roster chaff goes in Torts' doghouse next - Lisin, Voros, Brash, Boyle, Kotalik or maybe Avery or Higgins ... ???
But back to the Canucks/Devils game again - just a few notes:
*It was fun rooting for a team that could cycle the puck, get shots on goal and actually score.
*It is just sad that a hundred or so Canuck fans could be as loud as 8,000 Devil fans. And 8,000 is being generous as the Rock was pathetically empty. The upper end zone sections had six, seven fans apiece sitting in them. Weak.
*The Devils offer $10 tickets in two upper level sections, and with no fans there you can sit wherever you want. Can't complain about that.
*So I spent $10 on the ticket, $8 on the train ticket from NYC to Newark, $8 on a beer and $4.50 on a terrible pretzel. That means I got to enjoy a battle of two of the best goaltenders in the NHL, well one and Fatso, for the grand total of $30.50. Not bad, right?
*Unless he goes on a helluva tear, Mmmmmaaaaarrrrttttyyyyy pretty much lost his Team Canada starting job to Louuuuuuuuu. Luongo was solid, flashing good reflexes and keeping the rebounds to a minimum.
*Then again, Mmmmmaaaaarrrrttttyyyyy shouldn't be allowed to play for Team Canada now that he is an American citizen. He wants the passport, but IIHF rules say that he played for Canada in the past so he can't play for anyone else (like Nabokov being from Kazakhstan but bound for gold with Russia in February). But if Mmmmmaaaaarrrrttttyyyyy wants to be American so badly, he shouldn't want to help a rival country get a gold medal - to his new home's detriment. An American gold would mean a helluva lot more to the U.S. than his one vote in political elections ...
*At least Ryan Kesler will be huge to Team USA. Dude is the complete package. I watched him shift after shift and he never stopped skating - wonderful to see.
*Also wonderful? Watching Vancouver kill over a minute of a 5-on-3. Where a good power play is a work of art, a good penalty kill is a display of selflessness and dedication. That's my kind of hockey right there.
Well, two more days to go before the Rangers can lose again. Try to enjoy them.