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Sports

September 4, 2009

Schneider says he's willing to do whatever it takes to stick with Canucks

Events of the last few days have not changed Cory Schneider's mindset one iota.

He's been getting himself ready for the start of Vancouver Canucks training camp, which begins a week from today at the University of British Columbia. Schneider is fully intent on winning a goaltending job with the team and stick in the NHL for good.

So when news came down Wednesday that the Canucks had signed their captain and all-star goaltender, Roberto Luongo, to a 12-year, $64 million contract — one that undoubtedly affects Schneider and his future with the Vancouver organization — the 23-year-old from Marblehead reacted with his typical calm demeanor.

"It doesn't change what I'm trying to do — make this team and help us win some games," Schneider said yesterday afternoon. "It really doesn't make a lot of difference as far as my situation goes; Louie (i.e., Luongo) was still going to be here even if he hadn't signed an extension.

"I still have a lot to prove at the NHL level and to show I can play at this level. It's all about making the team for me; that's what I'm focused on."

Luongo, whom general manager Mike Gillis told Vancouver reporters was "the face of our franchise," is clearly the team's No. 1 netminder for both the present and the future (he'll be 43 when his contract expires in 2022).

Schneider, the reigning American Hockey League's Goaltender of the Year who guided the Canucks' AHL team, the Manitoba Moose, into the league finals this past spring, will battle former Boston Bruins keeper Andrew Raycroft for the backup job in Vancouver.

Making his NHL debut last winter when Luongo was injured, Schneider went 2-4-1 in eight games with a 3.38 goals-against average and .877 save percentage. He's determined not only to prove he's better prepared to play in the bigs than he was a year ago — but also isn't going in thinking he'll be satisfied being Luongo's backup.

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