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Luongo on possibility of playing in Toronto: “It’s something I can handle”

Jan 7, 2013, 12:59 PM EDT

Roberto Luongo Getty Images

Where will Roberto Luongo be traded? What will Roberto Luongo be traded for? Wait…will Roberto Luongo even be traded?

The questions are plentiful; the answers at this point, not so much.

Such is the level of interest among Maple Leafs fans that the Toronto Sun sent a reporter to Coral Springs, Florida, where Luongo was practicing today (in a Canucks jersey) with goalie coach Francois Allaire.

The idea that Luongo would be scared to go to a hockey-mad market like Toronto has always seemed laughable to us. The 33-year-old has started the two highest-pressure games that exist – he won the gold-medal game for Canada in 2010; he lost Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals for Vancouver. Call him a choker all you want — he’s had nightmare outings — but most goalies don’t even get the opportunity to choke in big games because they’re not good enough to get to them.

Meanwhile, in Toronto, Leafs coach Randy Carlyle was asked about his current net-minding tandem of James Reimer and Ben Scrivens.

“We have NHL caliber goaltending,” said Carlyle, echoing GM Brian Burke’s past statements on the issue.

Meanwhile, in Vancouver, Canucks GM Mike Gillis was asked Sunday about his Luongo conundrum.

Predictably, Gillis wasn’t willing to say much: “Until (the CBA) gets ratified we are not talking trade with any other teams. We’re not going to do anything until we see a collective agreement that’s ratified, that’s approved by the players and ratified by the owners. At that point, we’ll begin to move forward on a variety of different fronts we’ve been thinking about.”

Gillis has said in the past that he’s more than willing to keep Luongo and have him share the goaltending load with Cory Schneider. Which would be…interesting.

“I’m open to a lot of ideas right now,” Luongo said. “I don’t want to corner myself, especially since I might have to start the season in Vancouver or play the whole season there. Who knows.”

He added: ““I’m prepared right now to go up to Vancouver and start training camp. Unless Mike tells me otherwise, I’m ready to go, I’m excited. I miss being around the guys.”

As for other possible destinations:

—- Florida. Believed to be Luongo’s first choice for family reasons. The Canucks have reportedly expressed interest in Panthers prospect Nick Bjugstad. This makes sense, as Bjugstad is a very good prospect. Probably too good for the Panthers to give up.

—- Columbus. In case you missed it, the Blue Jackets struggled between the pipes last season. But would Luongo waive his no-trade clause to go to Columbus? (No offense to Columbus.)

—- Chicago. Can you imagine? Whatever Blackhawks fans may think of it, Luongo gives their team a better chance to win than Corey Crawford.

—- Edmonton. Even if the Oilers were interested, would Vancouver management consider trading Luongo to a division rival? Especially a division rival that’s on its way to becoming an elite team.

  1. skillful999 - Jan 7, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    “It’s not something that would be knew to me. It’s something I can handle.” Knew. Really??

    • nhbsfan - Jan 7, 2013 at 1:10 PM

      It’s Twitter man…not an English paper. You *knew* what he meant didn’t you?

  2. gallyhatch - Jan 7, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    Roberto Luongo on the prospects of being a #Leaf: “It’s not something that would be knew to me. It’s something I can handle.”

    Who are you trying to convince Roberto?

    PS, us Bruins fans would LOVE to see you play for Toronto. I have a feeling you’ll be on the bench for the games in Boston though.

    • zetaone - Jan 7, 2013 at 1:25 PM

      He would get mentally destroyed having to play The Bruins, Habs, Sabres, and Sens 24 times per year lol. He’d be getting boo’d from the home crowds and by Leafs fans at the same time.

      • kitshky - Jan 7, 2013 at 2:19 PM

        Oh ya, I’m sure he’d be shaking in his skates to have to face the perennial powerhouses of Montreal, Buffalo, and Ottawa…

      • zetaone - Jan 7, 2013 at 6:33 PM

        I didn’t necessarily mean the teams, I meant the fans. The only division with more rabid fans than the Northeast division is the Atlantic division. Down vote all you want, you know it’s true.

      • kitshky - Jan 7, 2013 at 9:44 PM

        Ha, I love when someone states an opinion and then backs it up with “you know it’s true”….anyways..

        To your point, I’m gonna go ahead and assume you haven’t been in too many Western Conference rinks in your time.

        Because it’s not like Luongo has suffered permanent hearing damage from playing at the United Center or the HP Pavilion … or been mercilessly and rabidly booed at at the Xcel Energy Center, or been shredded alive by maniacal Western Canadian hockey fans in Alberta…

        Go ahead and be another ignorant, Geo-centric, Eastern hockey fan, it’s your right, but no … we don’t know (/agree that) you’re right.

      • zetaone - Jan 8, 2013 at 1:10 AM

        Lol then you haven’t been to any NE division games my friend. I have been to both coasts and they aren’t even comparable, sorry.

  3. comeonnowguys - Jan 7, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    So what happens if you trade for Luongo for a year with the flexibility to amnesty him next year?

  4. zetaone - Jan 7, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    So, the pressures of Vancouver were too much, but TORONTO will be better? LOL sure thing there Lu.

    Also “it’s something I can handle” aren’t the most encouraging words to hear about the urge to play for a team. Might as well have switched out the word ‘handle’ for ‘stomach’.

    Leaf fans would eat him alive after the whole love fest that usually happens with new players there.

  5. kitshky - Jan 7, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    ” most goalies don’t get the opportunity to choke in big games because they’re not good enough to get to them.” … says it all.

    Leaf fans would lose their sh*t to see him day in and day out, you guys wouldn’t know what a big game was if it bit you on the ass.

  6. hawkeyplayer - Jan 7, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    As a fan who hates the Vancouver franchise… I’d love to see Luongo on the Leafs!!!

    Id really like to see the Leafs be the old historic powerhouse they used to be!!

  7. hawkeyplayer - Jan 7, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    Give Crawford another shot. as a Hawks fan… I hate when people are saying he’s subpar due to an off season. pet the gut redeem himself and deliver!

    as for Edmonton, they have Devin Dubnyk! I think he’s more than ready to.start as he performed excellent last year!

  8. kingfooj - Jan 7, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    Hold up.

    1. Yes, Toronto would be an even bigger market and spot light than vancouver. Yes Lu would be encountering a lot of the same pressures that are speculated to have torn him apart in Van.

    2. BUT, there is no way that Toronto will be a worse team with him in net and/or finish lower in the standings. As much baggage that Lu brings with him, he will move them out of mediocrety. The difference from Vancouver is that the team is a top notch contender that is on the verge of a cup and going for it now, anything less of a goaltending performance that is not up to that standard will not be tolerated. As for Toronto, they have an opportunity to better themselves and their situation warrants some kind of drastic change. This is it

    • kitshky - Jan 7, 2013 at 2:38 PM

      I totally agree, and I’ll add that over the last two years Luongo has clearly matured and become more comfortable in his skin.

      As a Canuck fan it’ll make me puke in my mouth a little to see him in a Leafs jersey … but it is kind of a no-brainer for Toronto.

  9. sunderlanding - Jan 7, 2013 at 3:19 PM

    He didn’t “win” the gold medal game. The team won that game. All he did was not loose it.

    • kitshky - Jan 7, 2013 at 4:11 PM

      Ignoring your spelling error (even though it’s my absolute number one spelling pet peeve) for now, let’s just explore your “logic” a bit.

      If Luongo didn’t “win” a medal because of the team he was on, then I suppose the following players also don’t deserve to say they’ve won a Gold Medal because of the team they were on ….

      Duncan Keith
      Shea Weber
      Scott Niedermayer
      Jonathan Toews
      Eric Staal
      Sidney Crosby
      Ryan Getzlaf

      …. and the list goes on and on and on and on…

      If you’re going to pick out one player (who just happened to play the most important position and made an absolutely game winning save in O.T.) on a great team and say he doesn’t deserve the credit because of the team as a whole …then you need to take all the players and say they don’t deserve individual credit because of the strength of the team as a whole.

      This is my very wordy way of saying …you’re an idiot.

  10. northstars17 - Jan 7, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    ^^ ignorant Sunderland.

    as a huge Canuck hater its hard to not respect this man!

  11. cloudniner9 - Jan 7, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    Its clear from his comments that like many many players in the NHL he has no desire to play in Toronto, I dont know how they can fix that other then to somehow start winning games. Miracles do happen.

    • beergold - Jan 8, 2013 at 7:53 AM

      Sad but true TO has built a reputation as being content to be a mid quality AHL on ice product and the guys that want to win, not just collect an inflated paycheck from the worst GM in the NHL, simply do not want to play there. Organization needs a fundamental change from the top down or stay irrelevant on the ice.

      Sure they fill the rink and make money but the on ice product is a joke and has been for years, no denying that!

  12. raiderspride - Jan 7, 2013 at 7:20 PM

    This whole I want to be in Florida thingy bothers me. It is self serving. He needs a check up from the neck up.

    Jeepers, in T.O. he is 3 hours and 5 minutes on a comfy seat with a T.V. from home, and in the same time zone.

    The competitive nature in him should be screaming: “Hell Yeah! I am going to I am going to take on that huge challenge in the center of the hockey universe, and I am going to kick ass.”

  13. buffalo65 - Jan 8, 2013 at 6:08 AM

    Luongo is good and would do fine but what’s the point? So a good goalie gets them to ninth in the conference and they still miss the playoffs and get a lousy pick.

  14. joeyg88 - Jan 8, 2013 at 7:24 AM

    iv been talking to a lot of people around the rink in Chicago and everyone wouldn’t mind having Lou here between the pipes!

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