"I guess I didn't realize it was my job to pump his tires," Thomas said, implying that his mandate was not to praise the opposing goalie. "I guess I have to apologize for that."
Given the wry smile on his face and the fact that his words were dripping with sarcasm, this was Thomas's subtle way of firing back at Luongo.
Shrewdly done, don't you think?
Welcome to the 2011 Stanley Cup final.
First came Bite-Gate.
Now we have Louie-Gate.
Never a dull moment between these Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins, is there?
To be fair, Luongo probably never expected the backlash that has erupted over his post-Game 5 claim that his stay-at-home style would have allowed him to stop Max Lapierre's winning goal in the Canucks' 1-0 victory.
In retrospect, Luongo has a legitimate point.
Because Thomas likes to be aggressive, he was caught marginally out of position when the puck bounced off the end boards behind the Bruins net directly to Lapierre on the other side.
For Luongo, who often plays right on the goal line, "it's an easy save for me."
In the end, it wasn't Luongo's logic that is flawed.
It's his timing.
With his Canucks up 3-2 in the series heading into Game 6 Monday night at the TD Garden, such talk -- legitimate or not -- will serve only to crank up the Bruins and their crazed fans more than they already are.
In fact, it already has.
Not only does it top the local TV sportscasts, it has been the lead story on many newscasts here.
In Sunday's edition of the Boston Herald, the entire front page was dedicated to Louie-Gate.
"THE PUCK STOPS HERE," blared the headline. "Vancouver goalie calls out Thomas but we know who's the best in net."
A column in the Boston Globe, meanwhile, screamed the message: "Luongo should have held on to this shot."
Luongo claims his initial statement was taken out of context. He's probably right. But by following them up a day later with his now-famous pump-his-tires reference, the controversy, contrived as it might be, took on a life of its own.
"Listen, I know we're in the Stanley Cup final and everything is under the microscope and going to get blown out of proportion," Luongo said Sunday, obviously caught off guard by the way Louie-Gate has grabbed this city. "Obviously, my whole comment, well, I don't think was a negative comment if you take the whole comment.
"But at the end of the day, I'm one win away from winning a Stanley Cup and that's all I really care about now. All the other stuff is noise to me and doesn't really affect what's going to take place for me Monday night.
"To be honest with you, I don't really care."
The fans here certainly do.
Normally, members of the goalie fraternity do not criticize each other. Thomas counts himself as one of those.
"I still think I'm the goaltender on the union side and I stick with all the other goalies," Thomas said. "In being one and knowing what it takes to perform at this level and with this amount of pressure, I understand to a certain extent what every other goaltender is going through."
When all is said and done, Louie-Gate will mean nothing if the Canucks win Monday night. Not only will Luongo be hoisting the Cup on Boston ice, he might also get consideration for the Conn Smythe as playoff MVP if he turns in his third shutout of the final.
Should Vancouver lose, however, there likely will be accusations that Luongo motivated the Bruins.