Now the starting goalie of the Vancouver Canucks despite this being his first National Hockey League season, Eddie Lack may have to take on the look of a superhero to get his team in the playoffs.
This was actually up for discussion on Tuesday, following the team’s practice at Rogers Arena. The night before the Canucks gave up seven goals in the third period and lost to the New York Islanders. Lack, 26, allowed six goals, and was visibly frustrated afterward.
He’s now the No. 1 goalie in Vancouver, with only 29 games experience at this level. He was forced to transition quickly into the position after the stunning trade of Roberto Luongo last week. Lack has given up 12 goals in his last three starts, including a Brian McGrattan slap shot from centre ice, in addition to a five-spot in Dallas and six to the Islanders.
He’s finding out quickly what it’s like to be a starter in the NHL. It’s certainly a difficult position to be in.
“It’s Batman and Robin. It’s easy to be Robin. When you become Batman it changes a little bit and we expect some bumps in the road with Eddie,” said head coach John Tortorella.
“But I’ve seen him this year handle so many different situations … that this is where we’re going.”
Tortorella said he had contemplated taking Lack out of Monday’s game, when the Islanders scored three quick ones early in the third period to tie it up.
He kept him in because it was, at that point, still a game the Canucks could win. They didn’t, and Lack took it hard.
Tortorella said he spoke with goalie coach Roland Melanson after the game, with Melanson reiterating Lack should’ve remained in the game.
Prior to the Heritage Classic, he had allowed only two goals in three starts, yet had only one win to show for.
In his last five starts, he has only one win. He’s allowed 16 goals as well, although the team in front of him hasn’t been playing inspired hockey for a while now.
“I never quit. They want me to stay in there, I’m going to stay in there and do my best,” said Lack.
“It’s all about the process and I’m just trying to get into this and learn and it’s going to be bumps in the road and obviously it was a big bump (Monday) but just getting back on the horse (Wednesday).”
On Tuesday, Tortorella wasted little time announcing that Lack would start in goal on the road against the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday. The two teams both have 68 points in the Western Conference standings, and are four points out of the eighth and final playoff spot.
The Jets have one game in hand.
This gives Lack another opportunity to become the hero Vancouver needs right now (that’s a loose reference to the 2008 film, The Dark Knight).
“I always want to be Batman. Just going try to do my best here and get back at it,” said Lack.
“The Batmobile is pretty cool.”