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Luongo has Canucks fans back on his side

Aug 13, 2013, 4:11 PM EDT

Roberto Luongo Getty Images

Since coming to Vancouver in 2006, Roberto Luongo has been called the greatest goalie in Canucks history…as well as a colossal choker. He’s been called glib and arrogant…as well as hilarious and humble. One moment, fans can’t wait until he’s finally traded out of town; the next, they’re panicking he won’t show up to training camp.

Suffice to say, Luongo’s relationship with Vancouver hockey fans has been a complicated one — probably the most complicated the city has ever enjoyed/endured with an athlete. And after Cory Schneider was traded to New Jersey at the draft, that relationship will continue, for better or worse.

Luongo still hasn’t spoken publicly since the trade that left him “shocked.” What he has done is change agents, hiring Pat Brisson and JP Barry of CAA Sports and firing Gilles Lupien — who subsequently accused the Canucks of treating his client “like a piece of paper, a fourth-line player.”

Whether Luongo also feels that way isn’t clear. Again, he hasn’t spoken publicly. But happy or sad, there’s no questioning his importance to the team. Just like old times, Luongo is the undisputed number one again, with Vancouver’s backup expected to be either Eddie Lack or Joacim Eriksson, neither of whom have played a single NHL game.

Which, in a cynical sense, is part of the reason Canucks fans seem to be rallying around the 34-year-old: they know they need him again.

But that’s only part of it. For many, Luongo has become a sympathetic figure — a bit of an oddity considering not many sympathetic figures have a $64 million contract. But money isn’t everything, right? Most fans are evolved enough to accept a player can be rich and frustrated at the same time. Sure, there’s something to be said for keeping a proper perspective. But there’s also something to be said for wanting more from life than money.

There’s no doubt the self-effacing tweets have helped Luongo’s reputation, too. Remember, there was a time not long ago when Luongo was the moody, spoiled, typically entitled pro athlete and Tim Thomas was the guy you’d want to go grab a beer with. These days, Luongo is offering up spots to fans to participate in his fantasy football league and joking about getting his tires stolen.


How this all plays out, nobody can say for sure. The Luongo soap opera in Vancouver has been anything but predictable. At this point, everything from a fairy-tale ending to a compliance buyout is on the table.

More Canucks day on PHT:

In two years, Gillis has gone from top dog to embattled GM

Young guys will be key for Canucks

Agent: KHL teams interested in Tanev

  1. joey4id - Aug 13, 2013 at 4:38 PM

    Treated like a 4th liner…. Shameful that the 4th liners get treated better than a superstar. After all, a superstar is more deserving of being treated with dignity and respect than other players. Right?

    • davebabychreturns - Aug 13, 2013 at 10:38 PM

      Mr. Lupien, is that you?

      Hey it sucks for Luongo, lots of turmoil over the last year or so but I fail to see how he was treated “worse than a fourth liner” beyond the fact that he didn’t get into many games.

      Anyway he’s got what he said he wanted all along and has always shown himself to be a consummate professional so I’m sure he’ll be driven to prove he can deliver going forward – and I’m pretty sure he’ll do just that.

  2. imleftcoast - Aug 13, 2013 at 5:26 PM

    I have a lot of respect for the way Luongo has conducted himself throughout this. Both sides are responsible for the contract, which seemed bad when they signed it. I hate to lose Schneider, but I’m back to Luongo’s side after all this. Being a Vancouver fan, ask me again in December, and I’m likely to have a different answer.

    • badintent - Aug 17, 2013 at 3:14 AM


  3. sjsblitz - Aug 13, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    Luongo is a world class guy. Any team and fan base should be lucky to have him, and yes I’m saying this as a Sharks fan

  4. haterzgonahate - Aug 13, 2013 at 7:48 PM

    you keep confusing “fans” with “media”.. at no point did the die hard Canucks fanbase give up on Luongo…a couple of negative fickle media whiners expressing their opinions does not speak for an entire province/country of fans. give it up.

    • Jason Brough - Aug 14, 2013 at 10:40 AM

      You are delusional if you think fan opinion of Luongo has remained consistently positive. Absolutely, delightfully delusional.

      • imleftcoast - Aug 14, 2013 at 5:08 PM

        There were some fans that stuck by him, but I admit that I wasn’t one of them. Even after all of this, I’m still holding out hope Eddie Lack will be ready in a year or two and they can figure out something with the contract. I admire his professionalism, but I don’t think Islanders-size goalie contracts are the way to build a Cup winner.

  5. mrpinkca - Aug 13, 2013 at 10:58 PM

    This Article should have been titled “Loungo has Canucks fans back on his side*”

    *Until he lets in a goal.

  6. blomfeld - Aug 13, 2013 at 11:55 PM


    yeah sure, and Lee Harvey Oswald acted ‘alone’ in Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963

    • valoisvipers - Aug 14, 2013 at 10:00 AM

      HiBlomfeld, It will be fifty years since JFK was shot. Do they release the files on that this year.

      • blomfeld - Aug 14, 2013 at 11:28 AM

        Valoisvipers – hello friend … if memory serves me right, I believe the files were put away for 50 years ‘after’ the Warrren Commission came to it’s fake conclusions in circa 1965 or so ? … the problem however is that only God knows what’s been done them in the meantime ? … when you think about it, it’s truly a shame that PHT and it’s cadre of excellent journalists couldn’t have been around then, as they would have most definitely exposed the bastards and held them to account ! :)

      • valoisvipers - Aug 15, 2013 at 9:51 AM

        Thanks Blomfeld for the info, I guess we will have to live a little longer to see the ending of that saga or will the pages be released with black lines throughout most the text and we will still be left without the truth being known.

      • badintent - Aug 17, 2013 at 3:20 AM

        The Kennedys will always block any release of anything that resembles the truth or real evidence that points the way to a real connection to Organize crime(read Mafia Mob) that would embarrass the Kennedys and exposed them for what John really was…… a fraud and con man. Puppet to the Vatican and their plan to put a Catholic in charge of a Buddha dominated country… Vietnam. The country my neighbor was killed in at the age of 19 in a stinking jungle.

  7. kicksave1980 - Aug 14, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    I think it’s great that Canucks fans are back on Luongo’s side, and it’s also important to note that some of their fans always had his back. I don’t like the Canucks at all, but I do love watching good goaltending regardless of the team. I think that Luongo is smart enough to realize that the same people who booed him loudly 2 years ago are the same people that cheered him last year in his first time replacing Schneider. And they’re going to be the same people who boo and blame the first time he has a bad game. That happens everywhere, but it seems like Vancouver fans are the most fickle and quickest to turn in the league.

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