May 11, 2013, 6:00 AM EDT
Roberto Luongo, it seems, has moved on. Again.
After another first-round playoff loss for the Vancouver Canucks – a sweep this time at the hands of the San Jose Sharks – it looks like Luongo will not be back on the team next year, despite the fact he’s locked into a 12-year, $64 million contract.
In the past year, the job as starting goaltender in Vancouver has switched from Luongo – he took the Canucks to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final in 2011 – to Cory Schneider.
Luongo, at the age of 34, still wants to be a starting goalie.
He showed that he’s still capable, especially during these playoffs when he was sensational against the Sharks in the first two games of the series, before head coach Alain Vigneault called on Schneider, who hadn’t played since April 22 due to a groin tweak, in Games 3 and 4.
“I have made that statement before,” Luongo told reporters Thursday at Rogers Arena in Vancouver.
“I feel like I am in a stage of my life where I want to play. Whether that’s here or somewhere else remains to be seen. But what has happened over the course of the last two years suggests that maybe it’s not my place to be the starter here anymore. That being said, things change so, who knows.”
The Canucks, two years removed from an appearance in the Stanley Cup Final, are coming off back-to-back first-round playoff exits.
It’s time for change, as acknowledged by general manager Mike Gillis during a lengthy press conference two days ago.
On if Luongo could return to the Canucks for next season, Gillis said: “I think it’s unlikely.”
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