EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider doesn’t plan to get emotional about his return to Vancouver on Tuesday night when he’ll share the spotlight with former teammate Roberto Luongo.
“We’re there less than 24 hours. Gotta play a game, gotta win a game. I’m not going to get all nostalgic,” Schneider said Monday.
He’ll get the start against the Canucks since teammate Martin Brodeur was tabbed to start for New Jersey on Monday night against the Oilers.
Schneider took the Vancouver starting job from Luongo last season. When the Canucks found they couldn’t trade Luongo they turned around and sent Schneider to the Devils last June for the 10th pick in the 2013 draft.
Now the two will go head to head at Rogers Arena. While players usually like to insist it’s team versus team, Schneider admits he’ll be trying to outplay Luongo.
“Sure I am,” he said before Monday night’s game in Edmonton. “It’s not me versus him, but generally you want to be better than the other guy.”
Schneider was 17-9-4 last season with five shutouts and a 2.11 goals-against average. He looked like the Canucks’ future goaltender while the team tried all season to trade the veteran Luongo.
“It’s something we were forced to deal with,” said Schneider, who dropped a 3-0 decision to Pittsburgh in his first game as a Devil. “It’s not that we wanted to or chose to, that’s just life playing hockey in Canadian cities.
“I hope that I’ve learned something from playing there. I do think it was a good experience growing up, kind of learning to play the game there.”
Now the 27-year-old Schneider is New Jersey’s goaltender of the future with the 41-year-old Brodeur once again toying with retirement.
“He’s our future. It could be as early as a who knows when. I won’t play forever,” said Brodeur, who added that while Schneider doesn’t plan to get nostalgic, it likely will be a difficult day in Vancouver.
“I can’t talk from experience, because I’ve never played against my old team. But, these are things in his career that are once in a lifetime. It’ll be an exciting day, hard day for sure. I think he’ll be alright.”
While it will be a quick visit for the Devils, there’s a good chance Schneider and Luongo will find time for a few words between friends.
“I learned a lot from Roberto, whether it was on the ice or off the ice,” Schneider said. “The way he dealt with some situations there that were fair or unfair, he put on a smile and did what was best for the team. And that’s not easy to do, especially for a guy who has accomplished as much as he has and has as much pride as he has.
“He always did as much as he could do to support me, to put the team first.”
And that, he added, is one of the reasons why he doesn’t plan to get emotional.
Schneider said he learned last year that players have to remind themselves there’s no sense in getting frustrated or angry about situations they have no control over.
“I’ve just learned, you have to do what’s best for the team, and prepare to play whenever you’re called upon,” he said. “I just don’t think you can be a selfish player in this league.”