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Schneider isn't blaming play on sharing Canucks' net

by Kevin Woodley

VANCOUVER -- When Vancouver Canucks goalie Cory Schneider sounded off on his own play after a 4-2 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday, his frustration was attributed by others to him sharing the No. 1 job with Roberto Luongo.

Despite winning his previous start five days earlier against the Dallas Stars, Schneider sat and watched Luongo start consecutive games, earning the second by pitching a shutout in the first.

So when Schneider said he was "sick and tired of being an average goalie" after the loss to Phoenix, most also assumed he was sick and tired of not being able to get into any kind of a rhythm. As he prepared to play against Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night, Schneider insisted to that wasn't the case.

“I know people try to read between the lines and interpret things, but if you just read the words, exactly what I am saying is what I mean. It was self-analysis of the last four games," Schneider said. "I was just a little annoyed with myself. It has nothing to do with anything else."

Schneider knows that is hard for others to believe. Having Luongo with his big contract and long resume in the stall next to his waiting for a trade that may not come this season is not an ideal way to start your first stint as an NHL No. 1. But Schneider performed well playing less last season, and doesn’t see the job share as a deterrent or an excuse for sub-par play now.

If Schneider is upset, he said it’s because he’s been unable to match last season’s breakthrough, when he was among the NHL leaders with a .937 save percentage in 33 games before taking the starting job from Luongo in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Though Schneider’s numbers this season (5-4-1, .908 save percentage, 2.72 goals-against average) are still skewed by an opening night face plant that saw him pulled after five goals on 14 shots, the outburst this week came after giving up three or more goals in each of his past four starts.

"I am just trying to be accountable and responsible for the way I play and that’s it," Schneider said. "People want the truth and then when you give them the truth they turn it into other things, so that’s why guys don't say a lot very often. It's a double-edged sword."

That’s especially true with the media spotlight in Vancouver, said Kings backup Jonathan Bernier, who has quietly taken starts away from No. 1 Jonathan Quick the past two weeks.

"For sure it would be harder," Bernier said of more attention. "But with Quickie’s new (10-year) contract, now there’s no confusion here. Even if the media tried to make one, there is no confusion."

There’s also not as big a ripple when Bernier, who requested a trade in the summer, admits he’d like to play more now.

"Obviously I want to play even more, but I’m happy that I am playing more than I have the last few years," Bernier said.

Schneider pointed out he also is playing more this season. But few believe he is happy.

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