I would imagine that Roberto Luongo and James Duthie are friends. It was only Duthie that got Roberto's thoughts at the Draft right after Cory Schneider was traded. Now Duthie gets the exclusive with Luongo after the long silence from the Canucks' goaltender. There is a mutual respect there. Parts one and two of the interview aired today. The rest will air tomorrow. All this aired, naturally, right before the start of the Olympic hockey orientation camp held this weekend in Calgary.
Part 1 Transcript:
Duthie asks Luongo what the last year has been like for him, Roberto says "Where do I begin?" and a bunch of TSN clips are played telling the story.
Duthie: The most pressing question is: are you going to show up at Canucks camp motivated to be the starting goaltender for that team?
Luongo: Yeah no doubt. I mean, I have a contract, I plan to honor it. I think there is a lot at stake for me this year. First and foremost I want to re-establish myself as one of the top goalies in the league.
Duthie: When you say you’re going to honor your contract, that doesn’t sound like a guy who is really happy with the situation
Luongo: Things have happened over the last little while that you know I had come to the conclusion that I had moved on from Vancouver and I was ready to start a fresh new chapter somewhere else.
Duthie: Did it feel like a divorce, that you were already divorced from the Canucks?
Luongo: Well I use that analogy all the time. That’s what it felt like, and I accepted it. And I was fine with and I had moved on personally. The only problem was she didn’t, and she wanted me back (laughs).
Duthie: Lets go back to draft day, June 30th. Gary Bettman steps to the podium. How did you find out about the trade?
Luongo: Francesco Aquillini the owner of the team called me in the morning, he was in Florida, and asked if could come visit me and so I was like ‘yeah, no problem’, I thought he just wanted to talk to me about my future and stuff like that. He showed up about three or four picks into the draft, so he sits on my couch and he asks me to turn my TV off so I was like ‘ok’, because I was watching the draft, so I turn it off and we start talking and all of a sudden he tells me that Schneids has been traded so as he’s telling me this my phone starts blowing up at the same time, it was like perfect timing. I was kind of floored to be honest with you, out of all the situations that I envisioned that could be possibly happening to me, that wasn’t one of them.
Duthie: So what did you say to him?
Luongo: I don’t remember, I was just kind of blacked out after that.
Duthie: Were you angry, were you upset, were you shocked?
Luongo: No, I wasn’t angry, I was just shocked mostly. I was just trying to figure out the reasons why a decision like that would be made, especially without consulting me, that’s a pretty big move I thought to make without having an input from the guy you are going to put your trust in.
Duthie: How was it in the minutes and hours after that, coming to grips with the fact that it was Schneids that was gone and you were back to being the starting goaltender for the Vancouver Canucks?
Luongo: Well I’m still working on that part. So you know, um...(lots of "ums" in this interview)
Duthie: You still not quite there yet?
Luongo: Well, I’m there, I’m ready to go. I’ve been training hard and turned the corner, and I think I’ve made a lot of good steps.
Duthie: It almost sounds like you’re talking like you’re in rehab: "you've made some progress, I'm getting there..."
Luongo: Well, haha, I might need some.
Part 2 Transcript
Duthie: When this all started 14 months ago, I know that Florida... playing in Florida was your preference. Your wife Gina and her family are from here it’s where we’re doing this interview right now. Did you turn down a trade to Toronto or somewhere else in those early days?
Luongo: I never turned down a trade. What happened was I think a couple before last year’s draft, Mike just told me that there was two or three teams that were interested. He said "interested", he never said "I have a trade for this team or this team" and all I said was to Mike was, "Mike, if you can, if you could do something with either Florida or Tampa, I would appreciate that, and if that doesn’t work out we can move on." So I think that was the gist of it. I never turned down a trade.
Duthie: No actual trade was brought?
Luongo: There was never a trade on the table that I turned down. That was the real story, unfortunately, there’s been a million other stories told since then and sometimes you don’t want to get involved in all that kind of stuff, but just to set the record straight I think that’s what really happened. (A lot of "you knows" in this interview too.)
Duthie: Draft day was not the first time you thought you might be traded shortly. Take us back to trade deadline day.
Luongo: Ten minutes before the deadline was over I get yanked off the ice, and they were telling me to hurry up and I needed to get to Mike’s office, so I rush over there and as I’m entering the office, they hand me the paper to sign the waiver, and I say "woah," so it became real at that point that this was probably it, and soon as I sat down in Mike’s office, he walked in and just told me that the deal fell through and there was no trade.
Duthie: Did you get emotional?
Luongo: Yeah I did. Not because I was angry, or whatnot, but I just think of the range of the emotion and leading up to that day and in those last hour or two and thinking that you were traded one second and all of a sudden realizing that you're not, I think it just got to me for a second there.... and I might have cried in front of another man.
Duthie: When you met with media after, you said three very telling words: (Clip of Luongo saying "my contract sucks" plays)…there was certainly some that said "how can somebody that makes that kind of money stand up there and say "my contract sucks?’" Do you regret it at all?
Luongo: I don’t regret it, I meant what I said. I kind of still feel that way. You know I’m very grateful for the life that I have doing something that I love and getting paid well to do it. There’s no doubt about that.
Duthie: Did you look into actually voiding your contract at the end of the season when trade talks were going nowhere? Did you contemplate that and look into it?
Luongo: I explored every possibility and that was definitely one of them. At that point there’s different logistics into something like that and it’s very complicated but definitely something that I was looking at and ready to do if the opportunity came up.
Duthie: So you were ready to walk away from $35 million dollars?
Luongo: Yeah I was ready to walk away from it and sign somewhere else for lesser term and lesser money.
Duthie: So now what? Do you still want to be traded?
Luongo: You know, I don’t have a crystal ball and I don’t know what’s going to happen down the road, but wherever I am I’m going to be 100% committed to that place. Right now I’m in Vancouver and I’m 100% committed to that.
Thanks to Wyatt Arndt at Legion Of Blog for transcribing the whole thing first. I may have copied you, Wyatt. Hugs?
The drama won't end, it seems. Roberto Luongo is going to play most likely a stellar season in Vancouver this coming season, but I think it is clear after seeing this interview that his commitment to Vancouver long term is not there. He's taking this all one step at a time, and still coming to terms with it, as he had mentioned. Luongo had moved on mentally and emotionally. He was blindsided by the Cory Schneider trade. He was shocked. He states why in the interview.
The undertones for negativity abound in this interview. The positives are few. The bottom line is that he will play for the Canucks in 2013-14 and hopefully for Canada in Sochi. I am completely looking forward to watching my all time fave goalie play here. But the nature of the beast in the journalism and in fandom, generally speaking, is drama. Drama. It's not going away. It's going to linger around Vancouver and the hockey world like a fart. Luongo wants to play in Tampa or Florida or anywhere closer to there. That's not just speculation. That is what it is. Yes, he is bound by his contract but if you think he will play out his contract for the Canucks you need a reality check.
In the meantime, let's enjoy watching the best goalie in franchise history while we still have him.