Hockey

Tuesday Jan. 7, 2014 11:55 ET

Price, Luongo jockey for position on Canada's goalie depth chart

Coaches expected to decide after first two games in Sochi

Price-smith-luongo-comp-getty
Carey Price, Mike Smith and Roberto Luongo will have to wait another month to find out who will be Canada's starting goalie in Sochi. (Getty)
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You don't have to be an expert to know there is concern between the pipes for Team Canada. 

Although there were some clear choices for management in selecting both Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks and Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens, both of these elite netminders have struggled at times over the past couple of seasons.

Luongo was demoted to Vancouver's back-up for a while when Corey Schneider took the reigns during a portion of last season. Price had a horrible stretch run and disappointing playoffs to end the 2013 lockout-shortened season.

Canada's third goalie, Mike Smith, has had more recent playoff success, taking the Phoenix Coyotes to the Western Conference finals in 2012.

But there's no question that Luongo and Price have a stronger body of work over their careers, with Luongo backstopping Canada to gold in 2010.

When it comes to choosing the starting goalie, it's likely that coach Mike Babcock will have Price and Luongo split the first two games against Norway and Austria on Feb. 13 and Feb. 14. 

The staff will evaluate their performances at that time and choose one netminder to ride for the rest of the tournament.

It may be tough to decipher much from games against weaker opponents who don't have NHL-type scoring punch, but Price's play this season could give him an edge.

Luongo's undisclosed injury that he suffered on Sunday could be also be a concern if the Canuck's netminder arrives in Sochi at less than 100 per cent.

Canada's goalie stats:

  • Carey Price (19-11-4, 2.26 G.A.A., .927 SV%)
  • Roberto Luongo (16-9-7, 2.23 G.A.A., .922 SV%)
  • Mike Smith (15-10-8, 2.89, .911 SV%)

 

 

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