Thursday, April 28, 2011

Luongo: Fragile but gifted?

Luongo the fragile and gifted goaltender from Vancouver. This was the opening for the Versus coverage of the Canucks and Predators. I like John Forslund, always liked his play-by-play in Carolina, but aren't we being too speculative? Who knows just how mentally tough an athlete Luongo is?

Think about the pressure Luongo has been under. He is Canada's pick for the goalie to win gold in the Olympics and yet the nation holds it breath with every shot on goal. He is the #1 man for Vancouver and considered one of the best goalies in the NHL. Yet, the media continually talk about how Luongo struggles with pressure and the prevailing thought was we had no idea what to expect in Game 7. The Hawks were in his head. Would he fail again? Would he crumble under the weight of a nation hoping for a Stanley Cup winner?

Well guess what Roberto Luongo got it done, in OT, only giving up 1 goal. He was solid, and while he did seem to be fighting off high shots more than saving them with confidence, he looked to me like he was playing a controlled, composed game. He came out of the net and played the puck well. He left few rebounds. And no long shots caused him great concerns. Was he scared? Yeah maybe a little. But, wouldn't most goalies be freaked out in that situation? Let's give Luongo kudos for coming up big in Game 7 with immense pressure on his shoulders. Being pulled in Games 4 and 5 and not started in Game 6; then coming back to shut down the Hawks in the biggest game of the year? That showed some mental toughness. Realize that mental toughness is not about being perfect or impervious to anxiety. Mental toughness is about bouncing back, playing big in big games, believing in one's self. Just maybe Luongo is tougher than we think. I guess time will tell if I am right or just about everyone in the media is right.

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