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Luongo: ‘I was emotional and I said what I said’

Apr 5, 2013, 4:58 PM EDT

Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo Getty Images

If there was a most memorable sound bite from the 2013 NHL trade deadline, there’s no question it was “My contract sucks,” by Roberto Luongo.

Luongo delivered the remark, only half-jokingly, after the Canucks failed in their efforts to trade the veteran goalie. The 34-year-old even said he would “scrap” his 12-year, $64 million deal if he could.

Shortly after, Vancouver general manager Mike Gillis suggested Luongo may not have meant what he said.

“I think that he was very emotional and I think these days are emotional for everybody,” said Gillis.

“So, when you have a day like this where your whole life could be turned upside down, then you speak to you guys (media) right after, I think there’s an opportunity for things to be said that in the clear light of day might not be reflective of how he really feels.”

Today, Luongo addressed his remarks.

“I was emotional and I said what I said,” he said, per the Vancouver Sun’s Elliott Pap.

Luongo will be on the bench again Saturday night versus Calgary as Cory Schneider, fresh off a shutout of the Oilers, gets another start.

Meanwhile, Vancouver hockey fans are still talking about what happened — or rather, what didn’t happen — Wednesday. The big question: Did the Toronto Maple Leafs actually have any intention of taking Luongo, or were the Canucks just strung along as a way for Leafs general manager Dave Nonis to get back at Vancouver GM Mike Gillis?

From The Province:

The tension between Nonis and Gillis, which threatened to blow a couple of times during this process, reached a tipping point on Wednesday in the final hour before the deadline. To that point, the Leafs had been preoccupied with Kiprusoff, the veteran Calgary ‘keeper, who they felt best served their need for an established goalie.

Kiprusoff, however, told the Leafs he wasn’t interested in relocating to Toronto, which threw Nonis and Gillis back together. Actually, it threw together Nonis and Lorne Henning, the Canucks’ assistant general manager, and Henning suggested the Leafs offer young goalie Ben Scrivens and a pair of second-round draft picks as compensation for Luongo.

Nonis, who’s petrified of Luongo’s contract, thought about this, then countered with his own offer: Eat part of Luongo’s contract and we might have something. That proposal was rejected, which you’d think would have ended this chapter of the saga.

You have to know it couldn’t possibly be that easy.

The Canucks are incensed that Nonis introduced this new wrinkle in the 11th hour of the negotiations. They believe this was his payback to Gillis, who succeeded him as the Canucks’ GM in 2008, and owner Francesco Aquilini, who abruptly dismissed Nonis days before hiring Gillis.

It’s not clear when Luongo will be back in goal for the Canucks, who find themselves jockeying with the Minnesota Wild for first place in the Northwest Division. Vancouver hosts Phoenix Monday, but doesn’t have back-to-back games until April 15 and 16 in Nashville and St. Louis, respectively.
  1. dbarnes79 - Apr 5, 2013 at 5:23 PM

    Poor guy gets paid millions for like 9 more years. Yeah really sucks. You signed the deal now live with the fact the Canucks cant move your contract because it’s outrageous.

  2. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Apr 5, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    Asking the Canucks to eat part of that contract if a promising young goalie and two picks is the deal is pretty far from unreasonable.

    • withseidelinn - Apr 5, 2013 at 7:45 PM

      Exactly, but that’s apparently the deal breaker for every team trying to trade for him. It’s not an issue with the prospects/players/picks going between each team, it’s that VAN wants to be completely rid of this contract. The ONLY way it will ever be moved is if they eat some of it for the remainder. They had a deal in place with the Leafs, but it fell through because Nonis wanted the Canucks to retain part of the salary. Gillis will realize eventually, and I can see him being moved in the summer.

  3. gbar22 - Apr 5, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    Seems to me the Canucks were the ones being unreasonable. That’s a big financial burden they want the maple leafs to take and they want two second round picks and a roster player? That’s way too much. Maybe just a 3rd and a roster player or a 2nd and a 3rd without a roster player. What the Canucks wants makes sense only if they pick up some of the contract in my eyes.

    • elvispocomo - Apr 5, 2013 at 6:31 PM

      So instead of trading for a very good goalie because two 2nd rounders and a roster player was too expensive, Toronto moved a 4th rounder for a pending UFA D-man. That’s a fair amount of disparity when you consider Luongo’s cap hit shouldn’t be the problem, just the term.

      Here’s a different question, what would you be prepared to give up to trade for Weber?

      • tatdue - Apr 5, 2013 at 8:02 PM

        I’m really not sure what Weber has to do with any of this but as far as Toronto trading a fourth rounder for O’Byrne, it’s quite simple….they wanted to! Shocking I know, right? They gave up a fourth for a very good stay at home defenceman who’s style of play fits perfectly with their team and they plan on keeping him. Luongo’s contract is just too much when you add in the cost of acquiring him. The whole reason Nonis was looking for a veteran goalie was to mentor Reimer not replace him so I don’t think that Toronto had that much interest in him in the first place. Gillis has to realize that Luongo’s contract is a lot for a team to manage. Right now his cap hit seems fair but what about five or six years from now….that’s the problem. Gillis is trying to have his cake and eat it too and it’s just not going to happen as long as teams have other options….

      • elvispocomo - Apr 7, 2013 at 1:48 AM

        Weber is relevant because he also has a huge (bigger than Luongo’s actually) back diving contract but if Nashville decides they can’t afford it, would they get similar value offers to what the Canucks received for Luongo or would they get max offers like people were proposing prior to this contract?

        And as far as Luongo, I’d surmise that it’s mainly this next season that any team has an issue with his cap hit, and as the cap rises it’ll becomes less of an issue. Certainly in the final few years of his contract it could be more of an issue, but for a cap floor team it could actually be a positive.

        We’ve seen more than a few examples this year of teams that think they have options only to see their goaltending let them down. In some of those cases, the team has been as bad or worse, but had a team like Tampa traded for Luongo to start the season they’d be in a markedly different spot in the standings.

        Toronto is a little different, as they seem to be a safe bet to make the playoffs, but if they collapse at all like they did last year (even if they still make it) you can bet it won’t look as good for Nonis as it would if he’d picked up a more experienced goalie that could make them a better team for the next few years.

  4. mattypbillsmafia - Apr 5, 2013 at 5:46 PM

    Why is it nowadays that everyone who says anything that some people might not want to hear, have to apologize or give a reason behind what they said? He said what he thinks, good for him. I don’t watch post game interviews or pressers any more cause it’s a waste of time, everyone says the same things over and over. I’d rather hear what the players we love to watch actually have to say. I wish people didn’t analyze everything everyone says, it’s pretty annoying.

  5. spongebobsportspants - Apr 5, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    Gillis is an idiot. Either he’s lying to himself about how good that contract is, or he’s that stupid that he actually believes it.

  6. interiorfan - Apr 5, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    You don’t have to be a hockey fan to like Luongo’s presser the other day. He was emotional and honest and a class act and you gotta like that. I am happy to have him stay with the Canucks down the stretch and into the playoffs. Anyone can have an off night but we still have great depth in the goalie position and I think most teams and their fans would love to have that!

    • desertfan - Apr 5, 2013 at 7:50 PM

      And guys/girls respect that luiuu is firstly Francais so he sometimes is “misquoted”.

      What he really said was that for OTHER TEAMS his contract sucks.

  7. twesty85 - Apr 5, 2013 at 6:29 PM

    To mattypbillsmafia:

    If you don’t like it why are you on this site? Analysis is what this site does.

  8. mattypbillsmafia - Apr 5, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    My comment wasn’t directed at this site specifically. It was more towards society in general. No one is allowed to speak their minds without having to worry about offending someone. It’s ridiculous. If a player has a great game he can’t say ‘Man, yea that was awesome, I can’t believe I scored three goals tonight” he has to credit everyone first and then maybe he’ll throw in, “yea, I got lucky out there’. If he were to say, “yea, I was really feeling it tonight and just dominated” the press and fans would eat him alive. Playing sports my whole life, I’ve definitely had a game or two where I played great (and before all the trolls say it, no I’ve never played at a collegiate or professional level) and I most likely told my teammates or friends about how sweet it was or whatever. Nowadays everyone has to walk on eggshells all the time. We’re soft, no one can be criticized. It’s pathetic to hear about how coaches shouldn’t yell at their players or players shouldn’t get emotional. Hockey is a game of emotions. For the most part I love this site, I check it multiple times a day while at work or at home for insight on games or players or my favorite teams.

  9. mattypbillsmafia - Apr 5, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    I didn’t mean to get on a soapbox there.

  10. blackhawks2010 - Apr 5, 2013 at 11:36 PM

    Loungo is a blabbering idiot. Go ahead and give your money back Lou if you contract sucks so bad….Moron

  11. interiorfan - Apr 6, 2013 at 12:10 AM

    Lou’s comment about the contract sucking was taken out of context. Watch the whole interview before making such an ignorant comment.

    • valoisvipers - Apr 6, 2013 at 1:11 AM

      I believe Lou was being blatantly honest when he said ” My contract sucks ”
      He even went as far as saying if they could undo it they would but that can’t.
      I fail to see anything here being taken out of context.

      • tatdue - Apr 6, 2013 at 12:02 PM

        I also think that blackhawks2010 is taking it out of context because he’s taking it as Luongo is complaining about money, and that’s not what he’s complaining about at all. He’s complaining about the structure of his contract which is what has made it hard to trade him…..Nothing that he said makes him a “blabbering idiot” or a “Moron” either….

      • valoisvipers - Apr 6, 2013 at 10:32 PM

        I agree with 100% Tatdue.
        That’s the same way I took what Lou said.

  12. ray2013 - Apr 6, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    If we look at his contract, he is in year THREE of a TWELVE year contract. While his cap hit is a manageable $5.33 million, his actual salary is $6.7 million per year for the next five years.

    It is not until the 2018-2019 season that his actual salary drops below his cap hit. In the 2019-2020 season he will have been paid over $60 million dollars of his $64 million dollar contract, so we can probably presume these last three years were phony years added on to lower his cap hit.

    Bottom line, he’s over around $38 million dollars in his next seven years. If we were talking about 27-year old Cory Schneider, that would be more than acceptable. But not for a 34 year old Luongo.

    If Lu had a $5.33 m/year contract for the next three years, there would have been a number of potential teams interested, which would have generated a much higher return. He’d be an asset to a lot of teams for the next three years. But to have to take him for the next NINE years…you’re either going to either have to take on salary to compensate the other team, or expect a much lower return for him.

    In summation, Lu’s contract does “suck”, so I fail to see why people are upset he spoke the truth.

  13. valoisvipers - Apr 6, 2013 at 10:35 PM

    Well put! Ray2013

  14. joeyg88 - Apr 7, 2013 at 1:53 AM

    luongo is an amazing goalie. I would trade Crawford for him anyday. his contract sucks only for the Canucks teehee

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