Canucks' Roberto Luongo in while Cory Schneider heals
No. 1 gets the call Thursday against the Ducks
'I am just looking forward to getting back in there and giving this team a chance to win,' says Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo, who will start Thursday vs. the Anaheim Ducks.
Photograph by: JONATHAN HAYWARD, THE CANADIAN PRESS
VANCOUVER — In this most unusual season for Roberto Luongo, he has learned through all the twists and turns to fully appreciate the starts that in the past had become almost routine.
So when Luongo got the news that Cory Schneider is injured and he would start Thursday night against the Anaheim Ducks, he felt badly for Schneider and very good about getting the chance to play again.
"Obviously, you have to cherish them, you know, especially when they are numbered," Luongo said Wednesday of the starts that have been few and far between in the second half of this season.
"It's exciting, it's a great opportunity for me and I am just looking forward to getting back in there and giving this team a chance to win. Obviously, you never want to see a guy get injured. That being said, I don't think it is anything too serious and hopefully he will be back soon. In the meantime, it is going to be my job to play the way he has been playing."
Schneider, of course, has been playing very well and did again on Monday night when he stopped 24 of 25 shots in Vancouver's 3-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.
But the Canucks disclosed Wednesday that Schneider suffered some sort of injury in that game. That is about all they disclosed.
Coach Alain Vigneault acknowledged he has gone into deep non-disclosure playoff mode as he described Schneider's injury only as "body injury that is day to day."
Not upper body, not lower body, but a body injury.
"I mean if he was healthy he'd be practising," Vigneault said after Wednesday's practice. "He's got an injury that obviously at this time we are not willing to disclose. That's what it is."
Vigneault said the team is "hoping" Schneider will be available when the Canucks start the playoffs, likely on either next Tuesday or Wednesday night.
Schneider was spotted at Rogers Arena late Wednesday morning, walking across the hallway from the workout room to the team's dressing room.
"Asked if he was okay, Schneider said: "I'm fine."
He also sat in on the team's official photo taken on the ice before Wednesday's practice.
The Canucks knew something was wrong with Schneider on Tuesday morning because that's when minor-league goaltending prospect Joe Cannata got the call telling him he'd be needed to back up Luongo on Thursday night.
Luongo also got word Tuesday morning about Schneider's injury and acknowledged he fibbed to the media on Tuesday when he said he didn't know if he'd be playing on Thursday night.
"Yes, I was lying to you guys," Luongo said with a smile. "But that was for the team, not for me."
Cannata was heading east when he got the call that he needed to reverse course and head west.
The 23-year-old Canuck goaltending prospect had loaded up his car in Chicago and started the drive to his Boston-area home when the phone rang.
"Yeah, my dad had flown over to Chicago to help drive my car back with me and it was late morning or early Tuesday afternoon when I got a call from coach (Scott) Arniel with the Wolves," Cannata said. "He explained that Schneider was hurt a little bit and they needed someone to back up on Thursday night and that I needed to get on the next flight possible."
First, Cannata had to get to Boston. After unloading his car, he headed to the airport and was expected to arrive in Vancouver late Wednesday night.
Cannata knows it is unlikely he will play, but is still excited to dress for his first NHL game.
"I was shocked at first, but to get there and take part in the pre-game skate and to be out there with a jersey on with my name on the back will be special. I am just going to take it all in and enjoy it."
Cannata was a sixth-round draft pick of the Canucks in 2009 and signed with the team last spring after a stellar collegiate career at Merrimack College in Massachusetts. He appeared in 14 games with the AHL's Chicago Wolves this season, registering a 2.65 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage. He also spent some time with Kalamazoo in the ECHL.
Luongo, meanwhile, has appeared in only three of Vancouver's last 18 games. He won his last two starts, both on the road, in Calgary on April 10 when Schneider had the flu, and in Nashville on April 15.
"I think it's more of an adjustment when you are not playing than when you actually do get the start," he said. "The good thing is when you don't play for a while the adrenalin is going to be pumping when you are back in there. You are going to be jumping, so that's always a good sign. It just makes you appreciate it more when you are in net."
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