“I would suggest that’s the toughest market to play in the NHL right now,” said Millen. “I don’t think that’s unfair. I think it’s even tougher than Toronto or Montreal because the expectations are so high for the team.
“The nice part for Roberto Luongo is he now has somebody with him to help him along the road – and I think they’re going to need both guys to be successful. I assume they will, at some point, in the playoffs. And that’s OK. There’s nothing wrong with that. Everybody seems to want to get into a one-goalie system, and yeah, if you can run with one, obviously, in the playoffs, it’s better, just because you’re winning. You’re not into problems. But if they get into problems, at least they can mix it up a little, which is not a bad thing.”
BOBBY LOU AND SCHNEIDS SPEAK OUT: I put my theories on the goaltending fraternity to Luongo just before the playoffs began, and he explained it this way:
“There’s not many of us, so we almost feel like we’re in the minority and that’s why we stick together,” said Luongo. “It’s a tough position to play and we respect that in each other; and that’s why we’re pretty close.”
Unsolicited, he then added: “And he (Schneider) is a great guy. That’s what makes it easy. He’s an extremely hard worker. He’s got a big heart and he cares for everybody on the team. So how can you not root for a guy like that?”
For his part, Schneider says of Luongo: “I’ve always respected him. I remember watching him in college and high school. I didn’t know him really well before I got here last year, but in the time I’ve spent with him, he’s a bit misunderstood by some people. I think there’s a lot more to him than people realize and he’s done a great job, weathering the expectations, the criticism, his own personal drive – because I think he pushes himself harder than anybody and he’s harder on himself than anyone else ever could be.”
Ultimately, the goal for both is to win the Stanley Cup. If each can make a contribution to the 16 victories that it will take, so be it.
“Once you get to this level, you’re playing for the same team and you’re all pushing for the same goal,”’ said Schneider, “so you want what’s best for your teammates and that includes the other goalie on the team.
“We see other goalies play and you watch and you respect and admire what other guys are able to do and sometimes, you shake your head at how well a guy’s played and the saves they make. You say, ‘wow, I wonder if I could have done that.’ And you feel for them at the same time when they give up a bad goal, or you give up a bad goal, or what people may think is a bad goal but you actually say, ‘hey, it’s a little bit harder than it looks.’
“But at the end of the day, there’s no position quite like goaltending. We all sort of feel for each other and understand what everyone’s going through.”