VANCOUVER - It's been about four and a half months since the Vancouver Canucks were eliminated from the 2012 NHL playoffs, yet the goaltending situation remains unresolved.
Roberto Luongo is still on the roster, even after he made it rather clear during his exit media scrum in April, and certain interviews throughout the off-season, that he’s ready to, and prefers to, move on.
Wednesday, the former team captain and No. 1 goaltender will be back in town for the Jake Milford charity golf tournament. While it’s not known yet if Luongo will join his team for informal skates at the University of British Columbia while he’s here, his supposed-successor, Cory Schneider, claims the situation does not bother either of them.
“It’s not something that (Canucks management are) going to do on a whim or that they’re going to solve easily,” said Schneider, who skated with about 20 other players Monday. “Roberto is still part of the organization. They’re going to handle it with respect. I don’t think either of us are too worried about it.”
The 26-year-old, who replaced Luongo for Game 3 of the first round against the Los Angeles Kings and then signed a three-year, $12-million extension in June, said he’s been training like he’ll begin the season as the starter, adding “it’s something that’s earned and not given.” However, he’s kept in contact with Luongo, who has been in Florida, throughout the summer.
“He and I still talk during this whole situation, we’re still friends and teammates,” he said. “It’s not the easiest situation but we’re still making the most of it. We’re still in touch and it hasn’t changed anything between us.”
For now, the concern lies with the new CBA negotiations and whether or not the NHL season will be delayed.
Schneider, along with fellow Canuck Manny Malhotra, will head to New York for NHLPA meetings on Wednesday and Thursday. The goalie said while players are ready to get the new campaign underway, they won’t sacrifice the future just to benefit now.
“We have to make sure it’s the right deal for us and a fair deal for us,” Schneider said. “We have to realize that this is going to set us up for the next five, 10, 15 years, and if we give more back now, then what’s going to happen the next time?
“It has more impact than just this season so you can’t get all short-sighted. You have to think about the health of the players’ union and the league moving forward.”