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Canucks’ Luongo: ‘I want to play’

May 11, 2013, 6:00 AM EDT

San Jose Sharks v Vancouver Canucks Getty Images

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.”

  1. canucks30 - May 11, 2013 at 7:43 AM

    Mike Gillis has completely botched the goaltending situation in Vancouver and by leaving Luongo twisting in the wind for over a calendar year, embarrassed the Canucks organization in the process.

    • drewzducks - May 11, 2013 at 8:09 AM

      Have to agree with you 100%. This is coming from a Bruins fan but in all seriousness he certainly was and probably still can be a top flight goalie but Vanc management seems to have botched this one big time. They’ve put him and Schneider in an uncomfortable situation which no doubt has had an adverse effect on the entire locker room. All top flight teams these days have a true #1 goalie who needs to be playing at least 75-80% of their games. They need to find someone, FLA possibly to move him to so they and he can move on from this, that is assuming they think Schneider can be their guy going forward.

  2. channelguy - May 11, 2013 at 8:33 AM

    Gillis still seems to think he can make a hockey trade for Luongo, but he can’t. The contract issue isnt the 5 million plus cap hit per year, its the change in the last CBA (after Luongo’s deal was signed) that accelerates ALL the years of the contract into the year after he retires. Lets say Luongo retires at 39. That means 4 years — over 20 million — becomes a cap hit in the next year. And that forces the lucky team that owns his contract to unload other players for below market value. NO ONE will pick that up, unless perhaps you had some bad contracts going the other way. But thats not the fair market hockey trade Gillis thinks he can get.

    I see no option other than a buyout, even though Luongo is still a quality goalie.

    • mpg44 - May 11, 2013 at 8:48 AM

      Has nothing to do with him being a quality goalie. A buyout is most likely the only way to go. And for both parties to move on from each other. Buy him ou and let him go somewhere else to prove he still has it.

      • mpg44 - May 11, 2013 at 8:50 AM

        It’s the only way to go with that horrible contract . Since Vancouver gave it to him , they should suffer the consequences of such a bad contract decision. It’s about time managment feels a blow !

  3. supercoop8 - May 11, 2013 at 9:58 AM

    “Dear god, make me a bird.”

  4. jakreidler - May 11, 2013 at 11:14 AM

    Am I crazy for thinking they should have just stuck it out with Luongo in the first place?

    • 19to77 - May 11, 2013 at 11:40 AM

      A lot of people have been coming ’round to that realization lately. Schneider’s numbers aren’t really better than Luongo’s and he looked dismal at best in the Sharks series while Luongo looked significantly better. Plus, Schneider would have had a much higher trade return. I still think they should deal Schneider this summer instead – at least he’ll get equal value back for Vancouver.

  5. blomfeld - May 11, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    “I want to play” = good-bye Vancouver and hello Florida …

    no two ways about it friends … and look for Gillis to take it on the chin for this one

  6. channelguy - May 11, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    In all fairness to Canucks management, the Luongo contract WASNT seen as a bad deal when it was signed, at all. Like Kovalchuks contract, it was a clever exploitation of the existing rules to artifically lower the cap hit per year by extending the contract well past normal retirement date. The new CBA deliberately turned these into a poison pill by dropping all the post retirement contract years into the one after the player retired. When Luongos contract was signed this didnt exist. The NHL changed the rules to penalize the ‘cheaters’. And the PA went along, likely because they thought it would result in full buyouts, and the players then being able to sign new contracts.

    I think the huge mistake Canucks made here was deciding to go with Schneider over Luongo, not realizing the contract made Luongo is untradeable. The primary aim of management SHOULD have been strengthening the team to maximize the window of contention with the Sedins. Benching Luongo didnt do that. Im sure some fans think Schneider is a better player now that Luongo, but he isnt, and Canucks are being stubborn pretending he is. In five years, he will be, definitely. But in 5 years the Sedins will be gone or over the hill. Trading Schneider for an immediate asset would have helped the team now.

    • mpg44 - May 11, 2013 at 1:49 PM

      No contract is really a bad one “at that time” but you really need to take precaution when signing these long term , high dollar deals. Injuries are just one aspect of it , but the risk of loading that player to another team (if they are still performing high ) vs. keeping a player whose production is a mere shadow of what it was when the contract was made is a huge risk!! The gm’s just don’t think enough about this when they make these insane contracts.

  7. bleedingteal4life - May 11, 2013 at 12:44 PM

    I’d like to see luongo in Toronto.

    • zach28 - May 12, 2013 at 12:26 AM

      no thanks, reimer has proven he’s our guy!! playing exceptionally against the stacked bruins roster, 43 saves to keep the team alive and that desperation toe save on bergeron was a thing of beauty

  8. capsfan19 - May 11, 2013 at 3:29 PM

    Luongo is a good goalie and needs to play somewhere, i know this will sound weird, but where he’s loved. When the people of vancouver would cheer his name… Dude ha he was a beast! We all know that. It was a good goalie match up, him and thomas (even though thomas was by far better).
    Itd be awesome to see him go to another canadian market team. Toronto would be sick but what would they do with their three other goalies? Ha ha

  9. mrhyperpants - May 11, 2013 at 4:05 PM

    Go some where else Lu and win the cup. prove that muppet Gills and the those two faced Canuck fans that doubt you.

    • salmon90 - May 11, 2013 at 7:46 PM

      oh please!

  10. mrhyperpants - May 11, 2013 at 4:05 PM

    Wrong lol.

  11. girouxed - May 11, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    Flyers now is your chance

  12. desertfan - May 11, 2013 at 9:54 PM

    This is getting silly!!!

    Just looked up Dipietro buyout.

    16 years @ $1.5 M per or 16 years @ $30,000 per week if he doesn’t play???

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