Roberto Luongo became a member of a club I’m sure he’s not proud to join.
On Saturday night against the Montreal Canadiens, the Habs “scored” one of the more unusual goals you’ll see on the embattled Canucks netminder. You know, one of those “How did THAT go in? No really, HOW did that go in?” goals.
As a reference point, here’s the goal.
To rub more salt in the wound, this was the game-winner in a 4-1 Montreal victory.
Luongo joins Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick as being new members of the club this season, but they’re hardly founding members. (Note: This club is for goaltenders only, so Steve Smith and Chris Phillips, you’re excused.)
It happens to the best of them. Heck, Martin Brodeur had one go in on him in the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals, which is somewhat similar to what happened to Quick earlier this week. Patrick Roy got caught hotdogging, also in a playoff game.
In the college ranks, Michigan Tech goaltender Kevin Genoe fell victim to a bad bounce.
(If you’re a Maple Leafs fan like me, I’ll give you a minute to cry. Are we good? Cool, let’s keep going.)
Anyway, let’s take a look to see just what happened. It’ll be good for all of us, as I know I’m still scratching my head.
The Anatomy Of The “Goal”
With less than four minutes remaining in the second period, Montreal’s Jarred Tinordi was serving an interference penalty. The Canadiens were killing a penalty, so Lars Eller dumps the puck into the Canucks end so he can get off the ice. Yes, he’s now on the bench.
Luongo comes out to play the puck behind the net as Montreal’s Travis Moen is set to apply pressure. He gets the puck around Moen to his teammate, Jason Garrison. Garrison leaves the puck for defence partner Dan Hamhuis so he can start the breakout. This is about the time the puck develops a mind of its own. It slips off Hamhuis’s stick, gets caught up in Garrison’s skates, and goes toward the front of the Canucks net.
Meanwhile, Luongo is just getting back to the net, unaware of what’s happening around him. The puck ever so gently nudges off one skate, then the other skate before crawling across the goal line. Watching the goal live, it’s like everything was happening in slow motion.
I’ll take “Things That Aren’t Supposed To Happen” for $400, please, Mr. Trebek.
The gaffe is further compounded by Luongo slipping and falling on his derrière in the crease (They were playing Montreal, so the French works) right after. In a sense, it’s a microcosm of the goal itself.
At the 18-second mark of the clip, we get our first of two looks that would fit in on Monday Night Countdown’s C’Mon Man. With the camera zoomed in on the puck, Luongo looks up at Hamhuis as if to say “What the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks just happened?” There isn’t much Luongo could have done differently.
Of course, John Tortorella looking up at the scoreboard with an exasperated look on his face a few seconds later adds to the C’Mon Man nature of the goal.
Social Media Reaction
As one might guess, Twitter lit up when this happened.
But my favourite Tweet comes from one of my favourite accounts to follow on Twitter, The Royal Half.
I’m sure Quick will buy Luongo a beer for taking some of the heat off him when the Canucks travel to the Staples Center on Nov. 9.
To their credit, both Luongo and Tortorella took the goal in stride during their respective post-game interviews.
“It’s tough,” Tortorella said. “He (Luongo) played really well tonight. For us to battle back and finally get one, and then on a powerplay late in the second period, it’s a tough one to eat. It happens, but we have to be resilient enough to handle those types of situations.”
Luongo channeled his inner Strombone1 in addressing the media. When asked if he’d allowed a more bizarre game-winning goal, Luongo paused for a second.
“I didn’t give that up,” he said with a bit of a sheepish grin.
“I left it for our guys. I was looking up ice to get back to my net, and all of a sudden, it’s in the back, so I don’t know what happened.”
You can’t help but feel for Luongo here. If not for bad luck, he’d have no luck at all. From the 12 Past Luongo jokes in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals to the goaltending fiasco with Cory Schneider up until Schneider’s trade to the Devils, Luongo hasn’t been able to catch a break the last two seasons. It’s a shame, because he still has the skill set to match up with a lot of NHL goaltenders.
When you consider the other net was occupied by Carey Price, who could be one of Luongo’s biggest adversaries to Team Canada’s Olympic starting goaltender job, it just makes things that much worse.
Frankly, the only thing missing from this scenario is having it set to Randy Newman’s “Strange Things” from Toy Story.
I’m confident Luongo will bounce back quickly from this, and his Vancouver teammates will thank him for it.