Eddie Lack will get the start in net for the Vancouver Canucks in Sunday's Heritage Classic at BC Place against the Ottawa Senators, not Roberto Luongo. The latter does not sound happy about not playing in the game.
Jason Botchford of the Province has the pertinent quotes.
Lu: "I don't want to go through this whole thing again"— Jason Botchford (@botchford) March 1, 2014
Luongo: "I've always wanted to play in an outdoor game."— Jason Botchford (@botchford) March 1, 2014
As you may recall, last year was a rather turbulent one for Luongo and the Canucks. Things seemed to be smoothed over this year, but after losing out on the starting job for Canada at the Olympics and now missing out on a high-profile game isn't much fun for Luongo.
Nobody is supposed to be given in anything in professional sports, but you would think in a marquee game, the team's primary starter would get the nod if healthy. And no one says Luongo has to be happy about this.
Luongo expressed to reporters that he had been looking forward to playing in the Heritage Classic all year.
With things seemingly better between the goaltender and his team, rocking the boat in the middle of a push for the playoffs probably isn't ideal.
The 34-year-old netminder has posted a 19-16-6 record, .917 save percentage and 2.38 goals-against average. There's no way he'll be traded, but if this soap opera is to continue, the Canucks have to consider all of their options when dealing with Luongo long term.
Again, nobody is supposed to be handed anything, but the mind games coaches play with their players, particularly their goaltenders, can have negative effects. It seems like that may be the case here and it could be yet another spot of unwanted drama for the Canucks at an awfully inopportune time.