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Daily Archives: January 11, 2013

HC: Signing Subban a must for Canadiens

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HC: Signing Subban a must for Canadiens

January 11, 2013, 9:03 pm

Jeff Mark, Nick Kypreos and Mark Spector discuss why the Montreal Canadiens must sign RFA defenceman P…

Leafs’ Kadri not concerned with conditioning

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Leafs’ Kadri not concerned with conditioning

January 11, 2013, 8:14 pm

With all eyes on Nazem Kadri entering Maple Leafs training camp, the forward is confident about the one thing he’s criticized most for.

 

 

Luongo back on ice as trade rumours swirl

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Luongo back on ice as trade rumours swirl

January 11, 2013, 6:08 pm

THE CANADIAN PRESS

VANCOUVER — Roberto Luongo says he is willing to wait as long as necessary for a trade.

The goaltender returned to the ice for an informal workout with his Vancouver Canucks teammates Friday while facing an uncertain NHL future.

Luongo was displaced as Vancouver’s starting goaltender by Cory Schneider in last spring’s Stanley Cup playoffs. After the season, Luongo said he would waive his no-trade clause if asked. But Vancouver general manager Mike Gillis could not swing a deal before the 113-day NHL lockout began Sept. 15.

“I told (Gillis) I was ready to go as long as it took,” said Luongo. “Whether it’s a couple days, next week, two weeks, at the end of the season, it’s totally fine with me.”

Luongo has long been rumoured to be headed to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Trades are prohibited until players have ratified the proposed new collective bargaining agreement.

Approval is expected on the weekend, with NHL training camps expected to open Sunday.

Pending a trade, Luongo will attend Vancouver’s camp after he was not expected to.

“If you asked in May last year, I would have said no,” said Luongo when asked whether he expected to be back with the Canucks.

As the lockout dragged on, Luongo expected that he might be back, and said in September at a Canucks charity golf tournament he would be at camp, if necessary.

Luongo, 33, who was acquired from the Florida Panther after the last lockout cancelled the entire 2004-05 season, said he is not worrying about his future. Now that he is in his 30s, and having dealt with many things with the Canucks, he has been able to stay calm about his situation.

When he was in his 20s, the Montreal native indicated, he would have been more stressed out.

“I’ve matured in the sense where I can handle adversity than I did back then,” said Luongo. “That’s why I’ve been really calm about the whole situation. I’ve been able to enjoy it, even though it’s not an easy situation. The fact that I’m so comfortable here will make it much easier.”

His pending departure is also much different than the unexpected trade from the Panthers that led to his arrival in Vancouver.

“The whole thing was a different circumstance,” he said. “I was just shocked by the whole thing.”

But despite being prepared for a trade out of Vancouver, it will still be difficult to leave the Canucks. Many of his teammates were with the team when he arrived, and he has forged close friendships with them.

“Those are the things that make it hard,” he said. “A lot of important moments happened here in Vancouver.”

Luongo’s teammates were happy to be back on the ice with him. They said his presence and the trade speculation surround him will not be a distraction.

Luongo ($5.3 million) and Schneider ($4 million) count for a total of $9.3 million on Vancouver’s salary cap until a deal is done. With the salary cap slated to be reduced to $64.3 million next season from a pro-rated $70.2 million this season, there is more urgency to trade Luongo for financial reasons.

But coach Alain Vigneault refused to say who will be the team’s starter when the season opens.

“(Luongo’s) one of my two goaltenders,” said Vigneault during a media availability at Rogers Arena. “We’ve always made the decisions in the best interest of the team. We’ve got two great goaltenders, two great people that are great teammates and both want to play.”

Like Canuck players, Vigneault is not worried about Luongo’s presence being a disruption at the outset of a compressed season in which all teams must play well from the get-go.

“You have seen (Luongo) throughout the last couple of months,” said Vigneault. “He’s a class individual. He’s a smart and bright young man.

“He always puts the team ahead of himself, and he’s a Vancouver Canuck player, and I’m not gonna speculate on what’s going on outside of that. Right now he’s one of my two goaltenders — and I’m very fortunate to have him.”

Schneider, who signed a new three-year contract worth a total of $12 million in the summer, said Luongo’s presence will not be a problem. The two have become close friends in the past few seasons, and Schneider credits much of his success to Luongo.

“I’ve learned a lot just by watching him,” said Schneider. “It’s not that he’s sat me down and taught me the secrets of life. But just by sitting down and watching him go about his business, it was fun to watch and great to see how you become one of the best goalies in the NHL. I think I’ve taken a lot of those cues from him.”

The Canucks, who have won the President’s Trophy as the top team in the past two regular seasons, rate as the team to beat in a shortened season. The campaign is expected to be set a 48 games.

Schneider indicated he has no concerns about Luongo possibly staying with the Canucks for the whole season, if necessary.

“It’s gonna be a sprint,” said Schneider. “And to have two good goalies through a 48-game sprint, I’m sure we can make that work.”

Luongo said he would not speculate on whether he is bound for Toronto, or his potential trade to the Leafs factored into the club’s dismissal of former general manager Brian Burke. The goaltender does not want to pay “too much attention” to his future until Gillis presents an actual offer for him to consider.

In the meantime, his teammates are just glad to have him around.

“We had a few good laughs this morning,” said winger Alex Burrows. “But once we get on the ice, he’s all professional, all business.”

 

 

Luongo responds to rumours with wit, class

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Luke Fox

Luke Fox

Luke Fox |
January 11, 2013, 5:16 pm

Twitter @lukefoxjukebox

In the perfect storm that is the Roberto Luongo rumour mill, No. 1 is the eye — unblinking but winking when you’re not looking.

As NHL fans — particularly those in Canada’s two largest hockey markets — click refresh on their hockey-rumour websites in anticipation of how this marathon hand will play out, the man in the middle of the clatter is all poker face when you try to stare him down, all chirpy jokes when you leave the room to go get more Cheez-Its.

It’s almost as if, dare we say it, he’s good under pressure.

The 33-year-old goaltender has never been more likable. Except for maybe, y’know, that time when he backstopped Team Canada to an Olympic gold medal on home ice and an entire nation jumped around its living room like a two-year-old on a sugar high.

If you don’t want Luongo on your team (for a reasonable, non-Jake Gardiner price, of course), then you don’t like statistics or laughing.

And you certainly don’t read the Twitter posts of @Strombone1, the unverified Twitter account of Luongo that is verifiably hilarious.

In the past week, when the Lu-mour mill has been at its blusterous, he has managed to outwit star athletes turned tweeters Jose Canseco and the Iron Sheik (see below) and make good on interview requests.

Imagine five months ago you skated off the ice, after two consecutive seasons in which your team could seemingly beat everyone except the Stanley Cup champions, and directly onto the trading block. And five months later, you’re still there: the top trade target, soon to be property of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Florida Panthers, Chicago Blackhawks, or, hey, the Philadelphia Flyers. Or some other team entirely. Or you slow-play your fate as the world’s most handsomely paid backup goaltender for a while.

Imagine if your paycheques (bigger and juicier than most) stopped coming. Imagine if, when that labour mess was settled, a rule that tries to punish teams that dared to exploit the commissioner’s old loopholes by signing star players to long-term, front-loaded deals was put in place — and that caluse was nicknamed after (“The Luongo Rule”) you before the new CBA was even ratified. Imagine if your name was suddenly flung out there as the reason a good hockey man in another conference lost his job, even though that man had failed to make the playoffs in four years.

Would you be able to speak comfortably with the press every day? Fly back and join a team that once coveted your services, a team you brought to Game 7 of the Cup final but no longer desires your services? Practice with them two days before training camp even opens? Be supportive to a good friend, one whom you helped mentor, as he gobbles up your ice time?

Thinking about making an Internet video: 2 guys 1 crease

—Strombone (@strombone1) January 9, 2013

You probably could, given the wheelbarrows of cash they have promised you through to 2022. But you probably couldn’t do it with the class and wit of Luongo.

“I’m happy,” Luongo told Sportsnet after he landed in Vancouver Thursday for training camp. “I’m not too worried about it. I’m not too stressed about it, no matter where I am, whether that’s here or somewhere else. Until it comes from Mike (Gillis, the Canucks general manager), you kinda let it go.”

While saying this, he looked unflappable — a desirable trait for both his profession and his hobby.

Luongo finished an impressive 634th out of 6,598 card sharks that competed in last summer’s World Series of Poker in Vancouver. He earned $19,277 for his efforts, a tidy sum he presumably spent on Photoshop lessons.

He spends much of his off-time playing Texas hold ‘em online, and you have to wonder if the pressures of that game have helped his approach to this professional uncertainty.

Although Luongo does have a card to play (no-trade clause), so much more depends on what’s flopped out before him and the other decision-makers at the table.

Despite lingering in hockey limbo for longer than Rick Nash, Luongo has appeared — at least on the outside — calm and confident in his ability to react.

Like any great goaltender. Or poker player. Or comedian.


Luongo’s recent Twitter hits:

Strombone vs. Canseco

Please hold me!!! “@josecanseco: hug for u robert luongo please dm me”

—Strombone (@strombone1) January 9, 2013

Just in case you guys missed my conversation with Jose Canseco yesterday here’s a recap……. twitter.com/strombone1/sta…

—Strombone (@strombone1) January 10, 2013

Strombone vs. Iron Sheik

@the_ironsheik I the real except jabroni in Boston

—Strombone (@strombone1) January 11, 2013

. @the_ironsheik Rosetta Stone English big guy #yeswecanbonesheik twitter.com/strombone1/sta…

—Strombone (@strombone1) January 11, 2013

Strombone vs. The Lockout

I just filed a disclaimer of interest on guys wearing jean shorts…….

—Strombone (@strombone1) January 3, 2013

Strombone vs. Rex Ryan’s tattoo

I have a confession that I’ve been keeping from you guys for way too long…… twitter.com/strombone1/sta…

—Strombone (@strombone1) January 5, 2013

Strombone vs. 2013

#NewYearsResolution find a job

—Strombone (@strombone1) January 1, 2013