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Ex-agent: Luongo ‘treated like a piece of paper, a fourth-line player’ by Vancouver

Jul 25, 2013, 10:22 PM EDT

Roberto Luongo Getty Images

Yet another chapter has been written in the Canucks-Roberto Luongo saga, this time by Luongo’s recently fired agent.

On Thursday, Gilles Lupien blasted Canucks management — including GM Mike Gillis — saying he’s never seen a player of Luongo’s caliber treated in such fashion.

“I played on a team [Montreal] with nine Hockey Hall of Famers,” Lupien told the Globe and Mail’s Roy MacGregor. “I’ve never seen a star treated like that. I think personally he’s been treated like a piece of paper, a fourth-line player.”

To try and list all the drama Luongo’s experienced during his time in Vancouver would literally take up bandwidth, so let’s just focus on the most recent events.

After months of shopping Luongo, Vancouver flipped the script at the NHL Entry Draft and dealt Cory Schneider — who’d taken Luongo’s No. 1 gig — to New Jersey for the ninth overall pick (Bo Horvat).

Luongo, reportedly “shocked” by the turn of events (he’d listed his Vancouver condo shortly after the Canucks’ playoff elimination), has been silent ever since.

He’s yet to speak publicly about what transpired — or what his mindset is — and his only major move so far was to fire Lupien and replace him with two powerhouses in the player representation game, CAA’s Pat Brisson and JP Barry.

Lupien said he was stunned by the dismissal, but saved his biggest critiques for the Canucks organization — specifically Gillis, who he lambasted for drawing out the trade process and doing little to minimize the drama.

“It’s okay to say you’re going to trade someone,” he explained. “But then trade him. If I want to sell my car, and I want to get a good price for it, I don’t say my car is always in the garage. There’s something wrong with it. No one will want to buy it.

“You either say your car is the best car you ever had – or you say nothing.”

In Gillis’ defense, he never publicly criticized the Luongo contract, often saying the deal was “very friendly.”

“I know some people like to make a big deal of that, but it’s a very friendly contract for a lot of reasons,” Gillis said back in January. “One of the reasons is the new collective agreement. You can’t sign these types of (front-loaded) contracts (anymore) because they are favourable.

“So the contract’s not an issue.”

  1. ruthlessandtoothless - Jul 25, 2013 at 10:55 PM

    Both paper and 4th line players take offense to this remark.

    • gregman98 - Jul 26, 2013 at 12:29 AM

      You’re the first commentator, and that’s the best you can do???

      How about something along the lines of:

      Luongo FOLDED in training camp, the pre-seaon, regular season and non-playoffs…a quad-fecta-failure….something like that…

      • hockeyflow33 - Jul 26, 2013 at 12:41 AM

        That would be great except he didn’t

      • ruthlessandtoothless - Jul 26, 2013 at 1:11 AM

        then you go and waste your BRILLIANT line telling me what I could have said

  2. bigoldorcafromvan - Jul 25, 2013 at 11:08 PM

    maybe RL.s previous agent should have helped a little more in moving the player. I say shadup Lupien. Consider you fired.

    • kaptaanamerica - Jul 26, 2013 at 12:02 AM

      Luongo screwed himself over when he pushed Gillis to only get a deal in Florida. MG could have pulled the trigger on something last summer with Toronto if Luo hasn’t been pushing Florida.it’s his own fault he’s still there.his agent should have been talking to Luo and MG.he should have told Luo to open up to going to other cities. That ntc really came in handy to prevent him getting a deal out of town.

  3. kingsforever - Jul 25, 2013 at 11:16 PM

    4th liners get treated better than this

  4. phillyphanatic77 - Jul 25, 2013 at 11:27 PM

    From an outsiders perspective I sort of agree. I don’t know about his treatment but I do know it doesn’t help your leverage with other GMs to announce that you’re going to trade a player. Every person in the hockey world knew Gillis was desperate to rid himself of a goalie, preferably Luongo. I’m sure Nonis felt the desperation first hand when Gillis (reportedly) offered him Lou at the deadline several times, and each subsequent conversation had a lower pricetag. If he hadn’t waited so long I think it’s very possible Luongo would be somewhere besides Vancouver. But Gillis overplayed his hand while simultaneously overvaluing his asset. He bungled it and it eventually cost him his goalie of the future.

    Bo Horvat may turn out to be a stud in that lineup but, IMO, they didn’t get nearly enough for Schneider. And now, if Lou struggles this season (especially in the playoffs), there’s no Plan B.

    • vanindeed - Jul 25, 2013 at 11:43 PM

      Sure there’s a Plan B. 20 years of goalie graveyard just like before Luongo showed up in Vancouver and solidified the position for the first time in Canucks history.

    • vapor54 - Jul 26, 2013 at 6:12 AM

      philly- good points.

    • mathieug79 - Jul 26, 2013 at 7:52 AM

      He should have traded him for nothing or spare parts, Now they’d be with Schneider in goal, But NO Horvat. Instead of Luongo in net for the next 9 years. There were teams that would have taken a “Flyer” on him (see what I did there). They just didn’t want to give up assets to bring in a contract like that in the organization!

      • isithockeyseasonyet - Jul 26, 2013 at 8:03 AM

        It’s really not a good play on words if you have to point it out

      • mathieug79 - Jul 26, 2013 at 11:44 AM

        @isithockeyseasonyet thanks Mom!

  5. blomfeld - Jul 25, 2013 at 11:43 PM

    ‘STAND DOWN’ LUCIFER … YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE !

    ****************************************************************************

    Roberto Luongo apologized this week for yet another mini-controversy which divided the Lower Mainland.

    This time he failed to come out after being named first star on Jan. 5 because he was busy beating himself up for blowing a shutout against the Calgary Flames with 10 seconds left. From the tone of the debate, and the length, you’d think he’d just cost the Canucks a playoff series.

    It went on and on and on. With Luongo, it always does.

    No Vancouver athlete has been so divisive, especially when you consider it always seems to be so much about so little. Here we count down the strange string of controversies that have followed Luongo’s career in Vancouver:

    10 THE BATHROOM BREAK

    Who can forget Dave Nonis’ face when his prized, centrepiece netminder failed to return from the dressing room for overtime in a playoff elimination game? Because of a trip to the john, Luongo missed 3:34 and needed Dany Sabourin to make five huge stops against the Anaheim Ducks in 2007 to save a lifetime of embarrassment. Luongo didn’t want to talk much about it afterward. And, really, what’s to say? When you gotta go, you gotta go.

    9 THE PENALTY CALL

    It was not long after the bathroom break in that same playoff game in the spring of 2007, when Luongo watched Rob Niedermayer destroy Jannik Hansen with a monster hit. Luongo lost focus, turned to the ref, trying to get him to call a penalty, when Scott Niedermayer drifted the 60-foot game-winner by him. Not only was it game over, it was an end to the Canucks’ postseason. It was still the honeymoon phase of Luongo’s Vancouver career, so he wasn’t ripped to shreds for his loss of focus. Can you imagine what the reaction would be now if that happened this year?

    8 THE PLAYING TIME

    It’s no secret Luongo loves to play, and play a lot. It’s left him exposed to plenty of criticism that he plays too much. Many have long argued that the Canucks let him call the shots, and he’s the one who essentially chooses which games he plays. Strange, we could have sworn it was Alain Vigneault writing his name on the lineup card.

    7 THE PLAYOFF JOKE

    Give Luongo credit for trying to be smoother and looser with the media this season. He’s got more jokes and better timing, too. That wasn’t the case after losing 5-1 in a heartless performance that eliminated the Canucks from the playoffs for the second year in a row. Luongo’s post-game response was ill-timed: “I battled for 60 minutes. I kept it under seven goals.” Really, it was not the time for sarcasm.

    6 THE ALL-STAR SNUB

    Real hockey fans don’t care about the All-Star Game, so why should players? Luongo cared so little for the pillow fight on skates that he skipped it in 2008 to spend time with his pregnant wife. Family over a meaningless hockey game — we get it. OK, maybe not all of us. Luongo was whipped by some media, mostly outside Vancouver. Some even suggested the decision could cost him Vezina votes.

    What? There are five more? Indeed there are. Turn to Page D20, where Jason Botchford presents the Top 5 Roberto Luongo controversies. And check out thewhitetowel.ca for the full scary roundup, complete with photos and video!

    On Page D5, Jason Botchford presented five Roberto Luongo controversies, stemming from the most recent: Luongo’s refusal to emerge from the tunnel to acknowledge being named the first star of the game on Jan. 5. Here are the big five:

    5 THE HNIC INTERVIEW

    The Canucks weren’t singing “Kumbaya” in 2009, it just seemed that way. Everyone was getting in on it, telling media they all wanted to be a big part of the Canucks’ future. Ryan Kesler said players needed to take less. Alex Burrows did.

    But when Luongo had his chance for a “We are all Canucks” moment on Hockey Night in Canada, when asked about his future, he said: “I think first and foremost, I want to win the Cup and whichever team is going to give me the best chance to do that is the team I want to be with.” About half the fan base didn’t like the sounds of that.

    4 THE DELICATE PREGNANCY

    Luongo still isn’t over this one. When he and the Canucks collapsed down the stretch in 2008 it was suggested, and suggested, and suggested, one of the reasons was Gina Luongo’s “delicate” pregnancy. As if his family situation was the reason a save wasn’t made or a game was lost. “I learned from that, I learned to keep things personal,” Luongo said earlier this month. Good thinking.

    3 THE UNDER THE BUS

    Luongo has always had to balance speaking for the team, and explaining breakdowns, without coming across as blaming his defencemen. Most of the time, he’s done a better job than most. Despite that fact, to some, Luongo will always be seen as a sore loser who points fingers.

    For an example, they point to a March 2008 loss to the Avalanche. Luongo stirred up a firestorm with this: “We had about six chances to get it out and either we shot it off our own guys or we didn’t get it out. The next thing you know, there’s a shot from the point and Sakic is all alone at the side. I was able to get the first save, but he chipped the second one over me. It’s unacceptable, inexcusable; that should never happen in an important game like that. So we just pissed away two points tonight.”

    2 THE CAPTAINCY

    No issue has spilled more ink or filled up more dead air. The move may have been accepted in Vancouver, at first, but it was blasted by hockey’s old-school network, most notably by Don Cherry. Luongo made it through the first year as captain without much heat but when the Canucks lost to Chicago for a second postseason in a row, media and fans demanded he surrender the letter. The issue was exacerbated during the summer of 2010 as Luongo waited until training camp before he finally relinquished the title.

    1 THE BIGGER NETS

    We still don’t know if Luongo was serious in 2007. We’re pretty sure he was. Luongo vowed he’d retire from hockey if the NHL went ahead with plans to make the nets bigger. Say what? Yeah, retire (we asked him several times to avoid any confusion). We decided to take him seriously and it seems the NHL did too. We haven’t heard a word about the idea since.

    • kitshky - Jul 25, 2013 at 11:47 PM

      I gotta say … this was way too much to even try reading.

      (but gotta appreciate the effort!)

    • 19to77 - Jul 26, 2013 at 12:32 AM

      Get thee behind me, blomfeld.

      I don’t even disagree with you. I just wanted to say that.

  6. augsburg12 - Jul 26, 2013 at 10:56 AM

    Money money money… Win or lose …. Money money money …. Win or lose ….
    9 more years …. Money money money ….
    Thank you see you in camp in sept …

  7. sergeikremlin - Jul 26, 2013 at 11:20 AM

    The Luongo saga is officially in the rear-view of the Phoenix Coyotes, who still hold a slim lead in the race of most watered down, drawn-out, annoying storyline.

    • imleftcoast - Jul 26, 2013 at 12:22 PM

      A lot of competion on most annoying storyline. There’s Luongo, Phoenix/Seattle, Bryzgalov, Leafs anything, Bettman anything and Tortorella.

  8. leiterfelixleiter - Jul 26, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    Why does a guy with a 12-year, $64 million contract need an agent in the first place? He’s never going to sign another contract in the NHL and is under contract until 2022.

  9. badguy711 - Jul 26, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    Canucks Fan here who think Gillis is a joke, and as much as it hurts, our franchise is a laughingstock with him running it. #FireGillis

  10. harpdog - Jul 26, 2013 at 7:47 PM

    And No one Blames Coach V to treating Luongo with so much distrespect. V is the one who read the papers and listened to you fans and benched a stand out Goalie for an unproven rookie than failed to win just one game?
    And no one blames the Canucks lame ass penalty killing and defensive play that abandoned the front of the net and left Lou with his shorts out to dry?
    I am a fan of Luongo but I am not a fan of Canucks media and their Fans, most of which has never been on the ice at a competitive level.
    Coach V with his ignorant dog house that has no keys to ezxcape. Just ask Ballard and Malhotra and a few other Canucks got into that dog house and could never get out. Two top defensive style players in favor of Rookies yet again.

    • steelyd89 - Jul 28, 2013 at 11:10 AM

      In the playoff series against LA Coach V was without his top winger (Daniel Sedin, thanks Keith) and one of his top offensive players (Cody Hodgson, thanks Gillis). After the Canucks couldn’t get anything done in the first two games, the only thing AV could do was put in Schneider to try and shake up the team. It had nothing to do with Luongo if ask most of the educated Vancouver fans. Blame it on Gillis for doing nothing to upgrade a team for years rather than AV for pushing the only button he had to try and motivate his team.

      Ballard was definitely unfairly treated. AV shouldn’t have benched him last year because he already knew that Ballard doesn’t respond well to being benched and he just went downhill again from there. Malhotra being in the doghouse is a strange one though… Manny was always well utilized in his defensive role and took pretty much any key draw that Kesler wasn’t taking.

  11. spitfisher - Jul 26, 2013 at 9:57 PM

    What? Does Luongo want his tires pumped?

  12. tomklassen - Jul 27, 2013 at 10:59 AM

    I just hate Gillis for snubbing the Oilers at the draft. I get the whole “don’t deal in your division” thing but we offered WAY more than the Devils did.

  13. Lupy Nazty Philthy - Jul 28, 2013 at 7:04 AM

    Ughhh… Is Luongo back to whining already?

    as backup he was a humble, respectable, class act.

    as a starter he has foot in mouth disorder.

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