Canucks Currently The “Centre” of Attention

Sure, the Canucks aren’t winning games in any regular fashion and there is a realistic chance they not only miss the playoffs but get a top-3 pick in the upcoming NHL Draft. What they ARE doing is keeping us entertained just enough to keep watching their second consecutive trainwreck season. Case in point, the Alex Edler knuckler from centre ice on Saturday. I didn’t even know it happened when it did and I was watching this game.

Here’s what I’m talking about:

This wasn’t the first time the Canucks were involved in such a goal; we all remember the infamous Dan Cloutier gaffe against the Red Wings in 2002:

Whoops, wrong clip.

Here it is:

Obviously, these aren’t the only terrible centre-ice goals to ever go in but they’re definitely memorable. What is even more memorable is how each of the goaltenders has faired after they have let in one of these goals or something similar.

Let’s start with Dan the Man:

He was never able to truly shake this one off as it went with him everywhere he went. The 2003 playoffs could have changed all of that a year later but the team collapse against the Minnesota Wild was the last great chance Cloutier had to do serious damage. He played two more full seasons after the 2002 playoffs and then it all went down from there.

In his last five seasons, Cloutier averaged a 3.05 GAA and a 0.892 SA%. Easily rattled, Cloutier would suffer setbacks in multiple playoff and regular season games that would ultimately bury the Canucks in each occasion. Ankle, groin and knee injuries would plague Clouts before ultimately losing his job in Vancouver and sliding slowly into the abyss of retirement.

Oddly enough, Cloutier’s last two seasons in Vancouver were quite impressive as he notched seven shutouts to equal the 2002 season where he had seven that year. Afterward, goose eggs would elude Clouts forever. He was a regular season machine but he never really won the big game.

In all fairness, Dan Cloutier didn’t deserve the extent of criticism he received; it’s a shame his career slid the way it did.

Another prime example of watching your career die is Vesa Toskala. At the time, the Leafs were in the midst of their crisis years (have they even ended yet?) and this just cemented how bad things were going. Take a look:

After that goal in 2008, Toskala would only play in 32 games after that season. He is in Finland now and no one cares anymore. Sub .900 SA% seasons followed as did a catastrophic 3.66 GAA that next year. Once Toskala went to Calgary it was basically over.

Remember Tommy Salo?

A reliable netminder who will only be remembered for two things: the fight with Dan Cloutier which he lost HEAVILY and the goal he let in off his noggin in the 2002 Olympics against Belarus. To be fair, Salo was getting close to the end of his career so to say his numbers declined because of that goal would be wrong; he had 13 shutouts to finish out his career including six that same season. 

I guess looking back, these goals didn’t necessarily define their careers completely but if anything went wrong we all had something to fall back to blame them for.

If you check out the remaining gaffes you’ll see that many of the goalies involved (Patrick Roy, Chris Osgood, Martin Brodeur, etc.) all have Stanley Cups despite their brain fart moment on the ice.

As far as the Canucks are concerned, I don’t have enough time to go through the goofs Roberto Luongo has made in net. Off his shoulder, off the glass, behind the net, you name it… Luongo did it.

It would be great if he somehow had a swan song with the Florida Panthers and got one more kick at the can.

I can’t think of a specific cringe-worthy goal with the current Canucks goalie tandem but really, the entire season has basically amounted to that.

At least they were the “centre” of attention for one night.

Follow me on Twitter: @always90four

photo – Calgary Herald

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