Roberto Luongo: "Nothing can stop me!"

Lesedauer: ca. 3 Minuten

Die Titelstory der nordamerikanischen Fachzeitschrift "The Hockey News"

beschäftigt sich mit Roberto Luongo - einem der besten NHL-Keeper - der

nach sechs Jahren endlich zum ersten Mal in die Playoffs will:

‘Nothing can

stop me!’

By Mike Brophy

Roberto Luongo

generally lets his actions do his speaking for him.

But when he’s reminded – for about the millionth time, much to his annoyance –

about the fact he has yet to appear in a playoff game after six NHL seasons,

the 27-year-old Luongo makes a Messier-esque prediction: “I will be in the

playoffs this year. Nothing will stop me!”

That’s a pretty bold statement from a guy who, it could be argued, tends goal

for a team that is not significantly better than either the Islanders or

Panthers were when he played for them. Not only that, the Canucks play in the

tightest division in the NHL, the Northwest, where very few points separate

first place from last and the conference’s No. 3 seed is in danger of falling

out of the playoffs completely. Although Vancouver

has been hot of late, there is still a lot of hockey to be played and the

season will end in heartache for at least two, if not more Northwest teams.

Of the eight Western Conference teams sitting in playoff spots as of Feb. 7, Vancouver was tied with Dallas for the fewest goals scored (144) and

were tied for fourth in goals-allowed (138). The team’s top scorer, Daniel

Sedin, used a five-point explosion against Edmonton Feb. 6 to climb above the

point-per-game pace with 55 in 53 outings, which left him trailing the NHL’s

leading scorer, Sidney Crosby, by 31 points. Markus Naslund, once a Hart Trophy

contender and top-five forward in the NHL, had just 17 goals in 54 games,

though he was coming to life playing with the Sedin twins.

On the flip side, the Canucks have an underrated defense and a a rising star in

Kevin Bieksa to go with a sixth-year power forward in Taylor Pyatt who is

finally showing signs of being a consistent offensive contributor. And their

penalty-killing has been utterly superb.

At the end of the day, though, the Canucks will go only as far as Luongo

carries them.

“I feel different this year,” Luongo says. “I don’t really know how to explain

it, other than to say I just have this feeling this is the year for me. I feel

my time has come and that I have elevated my game. Just look at the way our

team is playing now. It seems like every year I have been on teams that do OK

in the first half, but then fade in the second half. This year, we went on a

seven-game winning streak after Christmas and we have continued to play well.”

Indeed, the Canucks won seven straight contests, including five against

Northwest rivals and two in Calgary.

Not only that, since Dec. 26 Vancouver

had 13 wins, three regulation losses, an overtime defeat and two shootout

losses. All told, that’s 13-3-3…not bad. And while it appears Calgary is

positioning itself to be the power in the Northwest, having scored 26 more

goals than the Canucks while allowing three fewer (with a game in hand), we all

know what can happen in the Western Conference if a team makes the playoffs and

then gets hot.

To read the rest of this story and other great features from the world of

hockey, you can buy this issue

or subscribe at

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