VANCOUVER— Roberto Luongo’s remarkable save in the dying seconds of the Olympic semifinal game against Slovakia is being called The Glove from Above.
And if Canada is to beat the United States on Sunday for the men’s hockey gold medal at the Vancouver Winter Games, he might have to make a few more just like it.
“It is for moments like that you play the game,” Luongo said of his larcenous save with nine seconds left in the third period that kept Slovakia’s Pavol Demitra from tying the game. “When you’re a kid in the streets, you play for moments like that. You try to imitate those moments and I’m happy something like that happened.”
How long his happiness lasts depends on what happens Sunday. It is the biggest game Luongo has ever played.
“We all have these opportunities in our career to make a name for ourselves and he has that opportunity,” Team Canada head coach Mike Babcock said. “Some people may think that’s pressure. I think that’s just the opposite. Who wouldn’t want to be great?”
Luongo does, and desperately so.
A win would add to the Glove from Above legend, which has already been burnished by poor TVcamerawork.
To fully appreciate Luongo’s effort, one has to hunt down four separate angles — and the only angle that reflects the greatness is the overhead view.
“For me personally, I’m excited to play,” Luongo said. “It’s a great game, it’s a lot of fun and it’s an unbelievable stage. This is what you work your whole career for.”
Luongo said he hasn’t thought about what would have happened if he didn’t make the Demitra save. He hasn’t thought about losing on Sunday, either.
Luongo will get the start because he’s been able to do what Martin Brodeur could not: make a series of game-deciding saves.
“Those are the best moments,” he said. “Those are what define goaltenders, in a way. Being on such a big stage — the Olympics at home in Vancouver — the whole setup is what made it so much fun.”
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