May 10, 2013
Roberto Luongo 'unlikely' to be back with Canucks ... again
By HOSEA CHEUNG, QMI Agency

If everything goes according to plan, Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo will finally be on his way out of town this summer. (REUTERS)

VANCOUVER - Let’s try this again, for the umpteenth time.

Roberto Luongo may have made his final appearance as a Vancouver Canuck on Thursday, but as we all know stranger things have taken place when it comes to this team’s goaltending situation.

“Who knows what’s going to happen,” Luongo told the media two days after the team was swept in their opening round playoff series against the San Jose Sharks. “Right now we’re at that stage where I’m waiting to hear from (GM Mike Gillis). I’m sure we’ll talk. I don’t know exactly how it’s going down and I feel we’re having this discussion all over again for some reason.”

Maybe even déjà Lu, so to speak.

Last year, standing in front of scribes and cameras, the Montreal native said he was open to waiving his no-trade clause, not wanting to stand in the way of any possible deal. This time, in the hallways of Rogers Arena, he said it’s all a big “unknown” for now.

“It’s not quite the same feeling as last year, I’ve learned to deal with this situation a bit better,” he said. “I’m not too worried about it.”


Gillis claimed in his end-of-the-season press conference that it’s “unlikely” Luongo will be back. But whatever transpires, one thing is for certain — Luongo wants to be the starting goalie and not serve as the backup like he did this season behind Cory Schneider.

“I feel like I’m at a stage in my life where I want to play,” the 34-year-old said. “Whether that’s here or somewhere else, that remains to be seen. What’s happened over the course of the last two years suggests that maybe it’s not my place to be the starter here anymore.”

This season, Luongo posted a 9-6-3 record with a 2.56-goals-against average. In his two playoff starts in Games 1 and 2 against San Jose, he was the team’s best player.

But with Schneider, who was sidelined with a tweaked groin, healthy enough to play, he did — sending Luongo back to the bench with many fans and media questioning the decision.

From the organization’s inability to trade him to the coaching moves to the two goalies themselves, Luongo said the whole situation was handled, well, the best it could.

“They’re in a tough spot,” he said of the coaches. “We both wanted to play and there was only one net. Me and Schneids handled it well on a personal level … and we made it work. We just did the best that we could with what we had.”

Schneider, on his part, reiterated his appreciation for everything Luongo provided for the team this season — despite all the uncertainty and drama.

“That benefited our club with what he provided our team and how he was in the locker room,” Schneider said. “The game is full of things you don’t expect. He was tremendous throughout the whole process.”

As for his injury, which happened against the Chicago Blackhawks April 22, Schneider said it wasn’t an issue in the playoffs. Neither was rust, as he hadn’t played for two weeks before suiting up in Game 3 against the Sharks.

“As soon as I’m good to go and healthy, I want to play,” he said, adding he hasn’t paid attention to any criticism. “I didn’t get the job done and I didn’t play well enough. It’s fair and you have to accept it and learn from it.”

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