The Vancouver Canucks open a three-game homestand Tuesday night welcoming the New Jersey Devils to Rogers Arena for the first time since November 1, 2010.
Much of last season was spent trying to figure out who Vancouver’s starting goaltender was and tonight, for the first time ever, both Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider will both get the start in goal.
“It is just another game, but it’s a fun one,” said Luongo, after the morning skate. “We’re not going to get any freebies tonight, we’re going to have to work for our goals, we’re going to have to be hard around the crease and bang away and dig away for pucks because it’s going to be tough to get some goals.”
Luongo, although focused on his game and not the goaltender at the other end of the ice, is glad Schneider has found a new home in a situation with promise. Both goalies now have the opportunity to thrive and will remain in contact throughout the season; their friendship is stronger than ever after all the turmoil faced last season.
“It was a situation pretty much that we handled between me and him. We leaned on each other for support during what wasn’t an easy situation for either one of us and we made the best out of it and the good thing about it is that no matter who was playing, there wasn’t really any friction there at all.”
Is this, perhaps, the final chapter in the Luongo/Schneider saga?
“I wish it was, but I have a feeling it’s not,” laughed Luongo.
TORTS ON SANTO
During media availability pre-practice Tuesday morning, coach John Tortorella praised Canucks forward Mike Santorelli, who scored two goals in Sunday night’s 5-4 overtime win over the Calgary Flames.
The 27-year-old Vancouver product is proving his versatility early in this young season and that has Tortorella “looking up and down the bench in all situations for him.
“I remember him in Florida when I was out east, you could see there was something and I wasn’t sure of where it was going to go,” said Torts, “but it’s a pretty good story for a guy coming to a pretty good team and simply saying I’m going to make this club, just by his actions.”
Tortorella said he and Santorelli have rarely spoken so far this year, so he’s extra impressed with what Santorelli has done. He’s keeping to himself and keeping his game sharp, which has boosted Vancouver’s secondary scoring.
“It can’t just be the Sedins,” said Torts, looking back to Sunday night in Calgary. “Let’s face it, Henrik and Danny, they struggled through most the game and made some big plays in that third period for us. But some other guys picked them up. To win consistently in the league, your top players need to be top players, but you need help and that game he certainly provided for us and we found a way to win.”