Canuck Cory Schneider’s agent hopes Roberto Luongo trade comes sooner rather than later
'We were hoping this would be the year that Cory would play 75 per cent of the games,' says Mike Liut
EDMONTON — Just like his client, the agent for goalie Cory Schneider is not about to criticize the Vancouver Canucks for the team's handling of its goaltending situation.
But Mike Liut, himself a former goalie, clearly hopes the uncertainty regarding a possible trade of Roberto Luongo does not hang over the team and Schneider all season.
"Our concern is we were hoping that this would be the year that Cory would play 75 per cent of the games," Liut said in a phone interview Monday from his Michigan office.
"We are only interested in resolution, we are not going to get into the finger-pointing game and to that end you have to take a step back and you have to give them latitude to make a business decision."
As much as Liut would like a quick resolution to the matter, he's not entirely convinced that's going to happen.
"Is Roberto going to be there all year?" Liut said. "It's certainly looking like he's going to be or both will be there until the (April 3) trade deadline. What happens after that, we'll have to react to that. But my concern is in the obvious, we have a 48-game season and you've got two goalies of their stature.
"Roberto is established, everybody knows what he can do, and you've got another one in Cory, who hopes to get an opportunity to play (as a No. 1) for the first time, and we've got this fractured season."
None of this comes as a complete surprise to Liut. Late last April, just days after the Canucks were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Los Angeles Kings and the organization had made it clear it planned to move forward with Schneider as its No. 1 goalie, Liut told The Vancouver Sun that he wouldn't be surprised if both goalies started this season with the Canucks.
"It was within the realm of possibility for a variety of reasons, one of which is trading a player of Roberto's stature is never an easy trade because of the consideration of what you are expecting to come back," Liut said Monday. "He's an elite player in the league. Then there's another layer with his contract and yet another layer with the new collective bargaining agreement … It’s just not an easy contract to trade. I think it's doable, but it isn't an easy trade. So am I surprised? I am too pragmatic to be surprised. I kind of subscribe to the best laid plans (go awry) adage, you know."
What does concern Liut is the possibility that Luongo continues to get the lion's share of the starts. Luongo was scheduled to make his fourth straight start Monday night against the Edmonton Oilers.
"If they are both there for the entire season, and it's a 48-game season, and Roberto plays 40 games, that's a disaster," Liut said. "That's an extreme and I don't think that's going to happen, but certainly the sooner the better.
"Vancouver has a decision to make with their goaltending, everybody knows that. We don't need to add more to it than that. Everyone wants it resolved and if it can get resolved that will be better for everybody."
Liut said as long as the Canucks are trying to trade Luongo, the team has to give him some games. He's just a little surprised at how many he's getting.
"What you have is two goalies and there's only one net and you are trying to trade one of them. So you have to play him. Now it's four games in a row, does that give you some concern at the same time? Sure, because with a player like Cory you want to see him play every night."
Schneider, who signed a three-year, $12-million deal with the Canucks early last summer, has made four starts this season. He had an opening-night disaster when he allowed five goals on 14 shots before getting yanked against Anaheim, but bounced back to win his next two starts, including a 5-0 shutout over the Ducks. He lost his last start 4-1 to the San Jose Sharks when he was the victim of some sloppy Vancouver defensive play.
"There is a train wreck, which I like to call it, every year and you're lucky if there is only one," Liut said of Schneider's opener. "You are going to have those games … It’s how you bounce back, that's the story."
Schneider and Luongo have both been praised for how they have handled a rather awkward situation and Liut said his client is mentally tough enough to deal with it.
"He's intelligent and understands the situation," said Liut, who added that he has heard nothing to suggest that the Canucks could possibly be shopping Schneider.
"I haven't had that conversation with them, but 10 months ago when all this started that was within the realm of possibility and I can assure you that whatever happens between now and the end of whenever this is resolved, nothing will surprise me," he said.
"In the meantime, Vancouver's got lots of goaltending."
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