The mentality and sanity of back-up goaltenders is not often discussed. It is the number one goalie who often gets the attention and this can make life extremely stressful for the back-ups. When the number one goalie gets pulled, the back-ups are supposed to save the day and rescue their team when the other goalie cannot get the job done. They have to play well – if they do not, they might not get a chance to play again. Back-up goalies are constantly competing for a chance to get in to a game.
Many do not realize the high level of pressure that is placed on these players, and the Canucks are lucky to have a back-up who is capable of filling the spot, and he does it in a confident, team-first way.
“They (Schneider and Roberto Luongo) realize that they have a partnership to win as many games during the long 82-game season as they possibly can…those two players combine to fill the one individual spot in this team game,” John Garrett wrote for Canucks.com.
While Luongo is sometimes mentally unstable, unable to deal with stress and pressure over a long period of time, Schneider is a polar opposite, and is more comparable to his fellow red-heads, the Sedins. Rarely has he buckled under pressure. But he is more than just a confident, polite person. He is a player with amazing skill and talent, which he brings with him every time he steps on the ice, whether it is a game or a practice.
“Every time Cory has had to come into the game, whatever the circumstances may be, he’s always done a fantastic job,” Luongo told Canucks.com. Many of their teammates talk about how Schneider deserves to play because of the hard work he puts into his job during practices and behind the scenes.
In 2009, when Schneider played with what was then the Canucks’ affiliate team, the Manitoba Moose, he won the award for the AHL goalie of the year. That year he posted a 28-9-1 record, and he has continued to do well and dominate, with stats to prove it. He is sixth overall in save percentage with .931 and he is ninth overall in goals against average with 2.15. His two back-to-back shutouts in November put him ninth in league. As well, he is one of the 15 goalies this season which have at least one assist.
Luongo has been pulled four times and Schneider has been able to answer in almost all of them, only allowing goals against him in one instance.
“…when we did have the breakdowns, Schneids (Cory Schneider) held the fort,” head coach Alain Vigneault told the Province.
The last time Luongo was pulled was because of a shot he took to the throat, not because of the way he was playing. Schneider was able to continue to shut down the Colorado Avalanche and helped to the Canucks to a glorious 6-0 win. Neither goalie was credited with the shutout but both were recognized, proving that Vancouver does have world-class goaltending.
This past year has been a break-out year for Schneider. Along with Luongo he won the Jennings Trophy and helped his team get to the playoffs. He came in to tough situations and gave it his all, such as in Game 6 against the Chicago Blackhawks. He is an honest, hard-working person, and despite trade rumors, it seems as though the Canucks will try to keep him for as long as possible. Just imagine, without Cory Schneider, a lot of things would be different.