Canucks Notebook: Cory Schneider working flat out in crease
Hot goalie says game quickly improved after Luongo drove over him in golf cart skit
In the rib-tickling Roberto Luongo-Cory Schneider sketch shown last week on TSN, one scene had Luongo running over and flattening Schneider with a golf cart as the latter stretched out on a hockey net.
Since then, Schneider has gone 6-0-0 with two shutouts and just six goals allowed. He’s stopped 160 of 166 pucks directed at him, not including three straight in the Columbus shootout victory. Based on Friday’s stats, Schneider was tied with Blue Jacket netminder Sergei Bobrovsky for the National Hockey League’s third-best save percentage at .926.
Needless to say, he is on a roll since Luongo “rolled” over him.
“Maybe that’s what I needed, you know, wake me up or something,” chuckled Schneider, who will make his seventh straight start Saturday night in Edmonton. “I hadn’t played for a while when we made that so maybe it was due anyway. I’ll have to have him run me over a few more times.”
Kidding aside, the 27-year-old from Marblehead, Mass., admits he is in that zone where every puck seems stoppable and most have been. He figures it’s one of the best segments of his career.
“There was a stretch last year where I had four or five in a row that were pretty good but this one has to be up there,” Schneider said. “I’m just trying to be good here coming down the stretch and it’s coming along at the right time. But we’re doing it as a group. We’re getting timely scoring, good defence and some key saves and that’s pretty much what it is.”
WHAT’S NEW, LOU? Luongo was still a Canuck on Friday as the team left for the two-game road trip that begins in Edmonton and ends Monday in San Jose, Calif.
Using his Twitter alter ego (@strombone1), Luongo even poked fun at his situation by posting a photo of a fully stuffed garment bag sitting alongside a thin carry-on case and writing: “Two game road trip and one of these bags is mine ...#justincase #neverknow.”
Various reports out of Toronto have rekindled the Luongo to the Leafs story. “It’s the trade deadline, man,” Luongo shrugged when asked about the swap talk. The deadline is Wednesday at noon.
Canuck assistant GM Laurence Gilman, who watched the Canucks practice Friday and was on his phone virtually the entire 45 minutes, was mute on the Luongo subject.
“No comment,” said Gilman.
He did concede the three Pittsburgh Penguins deals this week for Brenden Morrow, Douglas Murray and Jarome Iginla have created a buzz in the business.
“Usually when one deal of a large magnitude happens, you tend to see other deals start to follow,” he added. “It’s been pretty busy.”
DOWN ON THE FARM: According to a story Friday in the Peoria Journal Star, the St. Louis Blues have notified the Peoria Civic Center they are moving their Rivermen American Hockey League franchise at the end of the 2012-13 season.
The story says the Blues will pay a $90,000 penalty to escape their lease two years early. The story further states that NHL and AHL sources “believe” the Blues have sold the franchise to the Canucks. It has been speculated in recent weeks that the Canucks would buy the Peoria team and move it Abbotsford while the Calgary Flames relocate the Heat to Utica, N.Y.
Gilman did not respond late Friday afternoon to a request for a comment on the Peoria story.
GAME DAZE: The Canucks’ date Saturday with the Oilers will complete a gruelling month of March in which the team will have played 16 games in 29 nights in eight cities and four different time zones. Buoyed by their six-game win streak, the Canucks are 9-4-2 in the first 15.
“This has been one of the toughest grinds and toughest parts since I’ve been here,” said Canuck head coach Alain Vigneault, who is in his seventh season behind Vancouver’s bench. “We’ve had some in the past, like in the Olympic year, where there were some huge challenges but this is as hard as it gets, both physically and mentally. In our medical room after games, it’s tons of ice bags. The players should get a lot of credit for what they’ve gone through. I think they’ve done a great job.”
Friday’s full team practice at Rogers Arena was the first in two weeks.
QUOTABLE: “Don’t you catch me on canucks.com? I’m always in there throwing the football and talking to the guys. Just look at canucks.com ... I’ll be there.” — Vigneault when asked if he would be in the team’s trade-deadline war room on Wednesday.
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