Luongo unique choice as captain

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 2:51 PM ET

Picture this, if you will. As We are the Champions blares over the PA system, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman stands beside the Stanley Cup, turns to the Vancouver Canucks captain and tells him to hoist his prize. Goaltender Roberto Luongo obliges. “We’ll get to that when it happens,” the Vancouver netminder said. It’s not likely to happen this year, but it could. And it’s tough to imagine which is harder to believe: The thought the Vancouver Canucks one season removed from a horrible finish down the stretch to knock them out of the playoffs would follow it up by winning the NHL crown; or that it would be a goaltender who would be first to lift hockey’s Holy Grail. Of all the unique developments since Detroit won the Stanley Cup, one of those has to be the Canucks move to make Luongo their captain, the first NHL goalie to have that honour since Bill Durnan had that distinction with the Montreal Canadiens in 1947-48. Luongo can’t actually don the captain’s ‘C’ on his sweater, can’t take ceremonial faceoffs or — most importantly — leave his crease to talk with officials. However, his leadership qualities off the ice are the reason he was given the honour. “I might have to take them out for dinner on the road. The thing is, I’m a room service guy, so I might have to have everybody in my room,” he said, jokingly. Actually, the captain’s duties go beyond pleading with the refs and arranging dinner plans. In Luongo’s case, it’s to be that conduit between the players and the coaching staff, along with leading by example, with his game preparation, fitness conditioning and even saying what needs to be spoken at the right time. “If I have something to say, I will,” he said. “It’s not going to change the way I’ve done things in the past. If I felt something needed to be said, I did, if not I just kept focusing on my own things.”

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