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Gillis on Luongo: ‘Either play or don’t play’

Jul 5, 2013, 7:50 PM EDT

Roberto Luongo

The Vancouver Canucks made a couple of minor free-agent pickups today, signing defenseman Yannick Weber to a one-year deal and center/winger Brad Richardson for two years.

But the big story remains veteran goalie Roberto Luongo, who’s been conspicuously silent since Cory Schneider was traded at the draft.

Almost a week after the fact, it remains unclear how Luongo feels about the move and what his intentions are for next season. The 34-year-old wanted and expected to be traded, but ultimately his contract meant it was Schneider who was moved.

This afternoon, general manager Mike Gillis was asked about Luongo’s options.

“Either play or don’t play,” replied Gillis, adding he plans to travel to Florida to speak with Luongo (as Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini has already reportedly done.)

And what if Luongo doesn’t show up to play? Well, we’re not lawyers here. However, here’s what PHT legal analyst Eric Macramalla told us during the lockout when Alex Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk were threatening to stay in the KHL…

An NHL contract, which is called a “Standard Player Contract” or an “SPC”, provides at Section 14(b) that a team has the right to terminate a contract if that player shall “fail, refuse or neglect to render his services hereunder or in any other manner materially breach this Contract”.

Not rendering services would include not showing up for work. So while Ovechkin and/or Kovalchuk wouldn’t be in a position to challenge the validity of their contracts, they could elect not to return to the NHL, thereby setting in motion a series of events that would end with their clubs terminating their contracts.

It seems unlikely that Luongo would risk voiding a contract that still has $40.6 million left to be paid out, not to mention the risk of getting sued for damages.

Still, he did say in April that he’d “scrap” his contract if he could.

Maybe that was more than just his frustration talking?

  1. sjsharks66 - Jul 5, 2013 at 7:56 PM

    This organization is an embarrassment with how they have treated this guy. He wants out and you just lead him and fans on.

    Sorry Canucks fans, this must get old.

  2. valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jul 5, 2013 at 7:57 PM

    Well said Mr. Gillis. You’ve been reading PHT :-)

    valoisjoeybfeld69 – Jul 3, 2013 at 7:26 PM
    Just time for Luongo to suck it up and earn the money his employer is paying him to stop pucks. Period!

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Jul 5, 2013 at 9:35 PM

      So you’re trying to tell everyone that you’re as smart as Gillis? Not sure I’d be hitching my wagon to one of the worst GMs in the NHL but that’s just me and I have standards.

      • badintent - Jul 6, 2013 at 12:07 AM

        Gilles got into law school. Which proves law schools are still taking bribes to let in dumb students. It’s called ” donations to the alumni fund “

      • greenmtnboy31 - Jul 8, 2013 at 10:32 AM

        “One of the worst GM’s in the NHL”, just happens to have one of the best teams in the NHL under his watch?

        Makes no sense boy.

        Foghorn Leghorn

      • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jul 10, 2013 at 3:26 PM

        Not really! He’s as smart of me, and then some. He went to law school. Me! Not! :-)

  3. sonofsuzycreamcheese - Jul 5, 2013 at 8:02 PM

    Trade trade trade trade

  4. einjzmolf - Jul 5, 2013 at 8:04 PM

    Put Bo Horvat in net!

  5. lvshark22 - Jul 5, 2013 at 8:06 PM

    I wouldn’t blame Luongo for wanting out. He’s been treated like crap

  6. 19to77 - Jul 5, 2013 at 8:12 PM

    So first Gillis plays musical goalies with his and Schneider’s careers while constantly reminding the world he wants nothing more than to trade him away, and fails for over a year and a half in that mission. Then, after a first-round sweep where Luongo was probably their least terrible player, the first thing Gillis says is that Luongo’s probably done in Vancouver, as though it were his fault that everyone f*cking sucked. Then he fails yet again, and without even bothering to tell either goalie beforehand, he deals Schneider instead and lets them both find out on live TV. Because hey, what right do they have to know in advance? And now he has the nerve to make a b*tch remark to the media before even bothering to meet the man.

    He’s an idiot. Luongo hates his contract and he’s tired of the organization deciding “He’s their man” one day and dragging his name through the mud the next. He probably WANTS them to terminate his contract so he can sign a new one elsewhere. Gillis is going to be left starting Lack and the only reason is his lack of respect for his players.

    • jdubs21 - Jul 5, 2013 at 8:36 PM

      Also you forgot to mention how he trades away a 2nd line center with a very bright future and then two years later decides he needs that an trades Schneider to the Devils to get Bo Horvat.

      The problem with the Canucks is Gillis. The Sedin twins will be gone in 2 years and then the team will be in full rebuilt.

    • badintent - Jul 6, 2013 at 12:09 AM

      Preach it brother !!! Another hockey riot, throw Gilles to mob to burn !!

    • tdrusher225 - Jul 6, 2013 at 8:43 AM

      I think he’s hoping Luongo will be the veteran bridge goalie for Eddie Lack, even though that was the exact same situation with Lu and Schneider and look how that worked out. Gillis managed to take an amazing goalie situation (as far as talent to work with) and royally screwed it up, big time. Gillis better hope Luongo has a short memory with this debacle.

  7. pavelfitzgerald - Jul 5, 2013 at 8:13 PM

    Luongo’s made his money & I wouldn’t be shocked if he pushed them to terminate his contract (by not showing up).
    He would then have the ability to sign with whoever he wanted & would still probably get $20-25 million over 4 years. Let’s not forget he’s still a top 10 goalie in the league

    • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jul 5, 2013 at 8:23 PM

      You obviously have no idea what the heck you’re talking about. The team will suspend him if he doesn’t show up.

      • 19to77 - Jul 5, 2013 at 8:29 PM

        And just leave him to twist in the winds for the next nine years out of immature spite? That’s not how it works. They’ll try to wait him out for a while, but he’ll probably just play poker and stay in Florida and eventually the NHLPA will push them to terminate. There’s no legitimate argument the Canucks could make to maintain the suspension over termination if Luongo would prefer the latter. If he refuses to report either way, they’d be obliged to terminate and part ways.

      • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jul 5, 2013 at 9:18 PM

        19to77, How does it work? If a player is not present on the first day of training camp the team has the right to suspend a player for non performnce of the CBA. Why the hell would the PA force a team to terminate a player’s contract that was signed in due form by both parties according to the terms of the active CBA at the time the contract was signed? Unless you’re talking about a regular buy out as opposed to a compliance buy out. What would that cost the Canucks? If the guy is a hold out, and the team expresses their desire to keep him, then I don’t see how he can get out of the contract. Maybe you can enlighten us.

      • atwatercrushesokoye - Jul 5, 2013 at 9:41 PM

        He’s got the right idea though, Luongo not showing up doesn’t make sense, what Luongo needs to do is threaten to retire, thanks to the CBA’s new cap clawback provision, known in some circles as “the Luongo Rule” his retirement would absolutely destroy the Canucks cap situation, hell him getting traded and retiring after 4 years will absolutely kill the Canucks cap situation due to this rule.

        Gillis should have bought Luongo out.

  8. georgejarkko - Jul 5, 2013 at 8:38 PM

    This seems like a non-story. It’s been busy enough today that there shouldn’t be a need to make up news.

  9. 19to77 - Jul 5, 2013 at 8:44 PM

    Brough, if you’re betting one way or the other, does he show or not? Swallow two years of Gillis’ crap and play, or does he want out badly enough to force it?

  10. micasa81 - Jul 5, 2013 at 8:47 PM

    This is so embarrassing as a Canuck fan, and saddening as a longtime Luongo fan. However, as much as I have lost respect for Gillis in the past week, I know him well enough to know that his curt reply is more about his own wounded pride than being b*tchy toward Luongo. The guy never outright admits a mistake, and right now he knows that everyone who asks him about the situation is thinking that he’s cocked it up royally (’cause he has). I read this more as a snippy, defensive reply than anything else.

    • kitshky - Jul 6, 2013 at 4:20 PM

      Absolutely, best comment here.

      This is how Gillis (doesn’t) communicate, it’s a good headline but that’s all it is. Lu’s showing up … he has every right in the world to be upset and to stew, but he’s a professional who’s got a killer contract in an amazing hockey town.

  11. deezenucks - Jul 5, 2013 at 9:04 PM

    After the class Luo showed last year he deserves better then this. As frustrating as it is for us fans I can’t even imagine what he feels. Gillis should have been canned when they fired coach V.
    The nucks window has nearly closed, If dubnyk plays well in oil land they’ll be in the finals before us again.

  12. thos_prattt - Jul 5, 2013 at 9:05 PM

    I’m glad I read these comments to set me straight. Watching the team these past two years, I thought Luongo lost his starters’ job because he was outplayed by Cory Schneider. However, now I understand it was because Gillis wanted to drag Luongo’s name through the mud and treated him terribly unfairly.

    The BEST thing Luongo could do for the team is not report. His contact is as much an albatross for the team as it is for the player. I’m sure Gillis would love nothing more than to get out from under the deal and the cap recapture penalties without having to fork over money for a buyout.

  13. girouxed - Jul 5, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    Flyers shouldve waited and gone after him… 😦

  14. bcousy - Jul 5, 2013 at 9:20 PM

    Gillis has really butchered this situation. He’s a few more dumb trades away from approaching the Mike Milbury level of GM ineptitude.

    If there is a team left that needs a goalie (maybe Philly, even with Ray Emery), he needs to ship Luongo there for a third-rounder and have Aquillini subsidize some of the salary. You’ve played this hand badly, Gillis — now fold, take your lumps and start fresh.

    • 19to77 - Jul 5, 2013 at 10:06 PM

      That would constitute an admission of error. Mike Gillis is physically incapable of realizing he’s ever done wrong.

    • kitshky - Jul 6, 2013 at 4:23 PM

      So because he’s mishandled his goaltending you feel he should get rid of all his goaltenders …brilliant.

  15. hockeyflow33 - Jul 5, 2013 at 9:29 PM

    What a db. Luongo has been nothing but gracious through this entire ridiculous process and this is how you treat him?

    People can whine all they want about how much many he’s making but he still deserves to be treated like a person.

  16. stakex - Jul 5, 2013 at 9:36 PM

    Look, Luongo is going to play and its going to be for the Canucks. There is almost no doubt about it. He hasn’t said so yet, and there’s no doubt the situation is quite toxic… but he really doesn’t have much of a choice. The Canucks can’t trade him, obviously, and there is no chance in hell they would buy him out. The only way he gets out of this is by refusing to play, and that’s not going to happen.

    If Luongo were to walk away, he would be leaving a pile of money on the table. He wouldn’t get that kind of guaranteed money again under the best of circumstances, and he would struggle to even find work if he walked away from the Canucks. After all, what team wants to sign a player who will just refuse to play if things go bad? There’s no doubt he was jerked around quite a bit by the Canucks, but that happens sometimes in the business and teams would be scared to hire a player who refused to play for a team over a dispute like this.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Jul 5, 2013 at 10:02 PM

      If he threatens retirement the Canucks will have to blink, they don’t have the cap room to deal with the clawback provisions they will face when he does retire. The only move to get away from the clawback is by buying him out, unfortunately for them I believe the buyout window is now closed, although I could very well be wrong about that. Gillis screwed this up big time.

      • akismet-0fc8329bbec990914351a31cd83c67cb - Jul 6, 2013 at 7:48 AM

        Actually, if he retires that wouldn’t be too bad for Vancouver – since the ‘benefit’ that Vancouver has earned up until this season would only be around $7 million, the retained cap hit if he retired would only be around $850,000 a year until the end of the contract – not that bad against a 64-70 million dollar cap. Check the calculation out here:

  17. slysipops - Jul 5, 2013 at 9:43 PM

    hey NUCK fans…………….DIPIETRO is available !

  18. sergeikremlin - Jul 5, 2013 at 9:51 PM

    A couple of things:

    1) This article doesn’t even say “who” asked Gillis this question or how this interview took place.

    2) He replied honestly. Luongo’s options are to show up and play hockey, or to not show up and not play hockey. How would all of his haters like him to answer the question?

    • jdubs21 - Jul 5, 2013 at 11:32 PM

      A better response would have been “I’m gonna travel to Florida and see Lu and try to patch up our relationship”

      A GM’s job is to put together the best team he believes possible through skill, size, system, and chemistry. The worst GM’s are the ones who wear their ego on their sleeve.

      For 2 years Luongo’s sat through this crap and has taken it admirably. Gillis has done nothing except run a Stanley Cup caliber team into the ground. He’s racing to de-throne Mike Milbury as the worst GM.

      • kitshky - Jul 6, 2013 at 4:25 PM

        No, a better response would be for a manager / employer to expect his employee to either honor his contract or not honor his contract … and he did say he’s going to Florida, he’s said it about 5 times since the Draft.

  19. capitals13 - Jul 5, 2013 at 11:24 PM

  20. mrminkus - Jul 5, 2013 at 11:25 PM

    If I was Luongo I would show up at training camp 40 lbs overweight with a doughnut in one hand and an icecap in the other, sit back and tell Gilles and Torts “I’m ready to play”. What could they do, demote him to the farm team. It’s a one way guaranteed contract. All he needs to do is show up.

    Reality check…. As a true athlete, I can’t believe Luongo would ever even consider this… just saying, if it were me… I have no shame.

  21. quizguy66 - Jul 5, 2013 at 11:25 PM

    Gillis channeling Yoda. Play or Play Not There Is No Cry


  22. sergeikremlin - Jul 5, 2013 at 11:46 PM

    I guess when you take over a team that missed the playoffs 2 of the last 3 years, and win 5 straight division titles, 2 straight President’s trophies, GM of the Year award, and come within 60 minutes of the Stanley Cup, you’re one of the worst GM’s in the league. Lol

    • badintent - Jul 7, 2013 at 2:28 AM

      He inherited a real good team from Burke and Norris(as much as I hate to admit Burke did anything beside shoot his mouth off non stop ). He tweaked it a bit but most of the core was here and he resigned the better players ( for way too much $$ on the Powder Puff Twins and Luo). The Canucks haven’t had a decent draft player in 8 years, that is a failing of all three GMs. So call them the 3 Stoogies. The owners have done more for the public with Canuks House than most NHL owners.But winning is still important and the ticket prices were number 1 or 2 in the NHL for the past 2-4 years.Play to pay.

  23. aldog83 - Jul 6, 2013 at 12:20 AM

    Vancouver will not be better next year without Schneider and a Luongo that does not want to be there…..

    Bad Sign for Canucks.

    Anaheim Trades away Bobby Ryan (4 time 30 goal scorer, 26yrs old) for lesser players makes Anaheim Worse. (An older Selanne and Koivu does not help)

    Last years 2 and 3 seeds are now worse.

  24. bobhpine - Jul 6, 2013 at 12:43 AM

    Amen sister.

    If you don’t wanna play then don’t. Here’s how many people care that Luongo has hurt feelings: 1…and he looks like what happens after somebody tosses Sacha Baron Cohen’s herpes sore covered body from the top of a cruise ship head first.

  25. foleysfish - Jul 6, 2013 at 3:14 AM

    As a Hawks fan I would like nothing more to pile on at this point to this whole Nucks disaster. In saying that I think it starts in a organization from the top down. Look at the Hawks. It is preached that it is about the organization and not individual egos. It Starts from the owner Rocky Wirtzs and down. The Nucks remind me of before the Hawks changed there organization and how they ran it. Rocky’s father Old man Wirtzs used to screw with players the same way the Nucks are. It got so bad that the Hawks lost a entire decade or more. In saying all that depressing stuff. Has anyone thought that maybe this might have more to do with Coach Torts wanting Bobby Lu and not Schneider. I should say 1st hand that Bobby Lu sucked in the post season but I remember watching his D-Men not doing much to help him much either. Maybe Torts thinks he can change that. Lu is still one of the best and looked really good in the playoffs last year. He was better than Schneider. Another thing the Hawks and Bruins always lit up both of them in the post season so that tells me that there Defensive system was more to blame.

  26. hipcheck16232 - Jul 6, 2013 at 5:37 AM

    will trade MAF and a malkin bobblehead for him. he would be a great addition in pittsburgh.

  27. buffalomafia - Jul 6, 2013 at 7:45 AM

    Luongo should keep silent! He is getting older & has big contract!

    Bottom line is just play & make the money!

  28. redsox711 - Jul 6, 2013 at 8:08 AM

    What a joke. Go ahead Canucks kick his tires.

  29. blackhawks2010 - Jul 6, 2013 at 11:38 AM

    All aboard! The Vancouver train wreck has left the station….

  30. blomfeld - Jul 7, 2013 at 2:42 AM


    ps: Se hej Henrik och Daniel och se till att lämna denna idiotiska lag så snart som möjligt!

  31. gregmiles2013 - Jul 7, 2013 at 4:58 AM

    The big point all you guys are missing is Luongo knows 2014 is his last Olympics to be the man and if he doesn’t play he won’t be the starter in Sochi so he will show up and play his A$$ off this year period.

  32. slysipops - Jul 7, 2013 at 5:56 PM

    headline on the cover of the VANCOUVER TIMES : EXTRA EXTRA read all about it ! ROBERTO LUONGO REPORTEDLY IN A STATE OF MUCH CONFUSION ! ….was #1 ….then became # 2…then was #1 AGAIN ! also was to be traded ….and then THE OTHER GUY gets traded ?? MR. LUONGO reportedly has no idea of which way is up ….OR… which way is down these days ! between the green men and MR. GILLIS THERE SEEMS TO BE NO SENSE OF REALITY IN HIS LIFE ! LOU reportedly looking into an ECONOMY PIZZA business !

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