As the dog days of August draw to a close, and the first steps towards the blissful state of hockey returns for Canadians and the rest of you other "non Canadian hockey lovers"...you'll excuse us as we take one last jump headlong into the "Roberto Luongo plays goal for the Vancouver Canucks" thing. It's kind of a thing. And of course it is James Duthie on the case.
The epic interview here, here, and here...touched on a variety of subjects, and all in that same easy going style that some fans saw a long time ago ( the trick is to tell when he's trying to make something better with humour. It's all in the eyes and the smirk, can't you see it? ;- ), interspersed with some real truths while talking about real things that of course interest Canuck fans ( and fascinates the rest of the hockey world to no damn end) ...all this took place yesterday and concluded this afternoon. It's a week before everything gets going man. Olympic Camp is just around the corner. We have to have something to talk about!
There were many different storylines in the interview, making it all the more fascinating and titillating in a gossipy sort of way . From "blacking out" when talking with his owner about the trade of Cory Schneider instead of him to the serious matter of "I looked into voiding my deal", through all the varying story lines and narratives.
This might just be a litmus test for us Canuck fans ( and media, of course ) going forward, how we react and deal with what is going to be gnawed at all year. Like one of my fave lines from one of my fave old shows "let's be careful out there".
Of course, being British Columbia, being Vancouver, and being Canada's consistently best team ( in no small measure because of Roberto Luongo )...as well as the one player of which, shall we say, "opinions vary", the reviewing, handicapping, speculating ( OH, the SPECULATING you'll see ! ;-) and endless interpreting of this "Sermon from Luongod" will take up one hell of a lot of air in the coming days. We can get through it. Don't forget that now that the floodgates have opened, there will be our crackerjack puck media local hotshots getting all hotshotty on this one. They may all nod and say "yeah, him and James are buds...." but the very nature of hockey in a Canadian city ( hell, any hockey market...not the same at all, but look at how Bryz' being whacky and just ordinary at the job that year got him in Philly... ) where the sheer number of folks asking questions for our puck edification ensures that there will be a lot of word "parsing" on the subject of goaltending.
Most here know that I am a Roberto Luongo fan regardless, and nothing in all that video really turned me off from that. I get it. Mistakes were made in how this whole thing went, and everyone from himself asking if he could pretty please go to Florida at the outset of this whole "Having Two #1 Goaltenders Has GOT To Be a Bad Thing" narrative, to the way we deal with the whole thing going forward, is open to interpretation. But let's remember it's all about the game of hockey on the ice, right?
Mr Luongo can and, in my estimation, will do his utmost to make sure that all that parsing will be about how he is stopping pucks at a heretofore 2006-2007 levels, when he was nominated to a bunch of those nice things and had 47 victories to go along with a team record .921 save %. His buddy showed he wasn't some punk by beating that in 2010-2011 with a .929 sv %, but who was the starter then? ( in Part 3, you can tell Lui is still awesome in how he talks about Schneider. I can't tell you how many "goalie questions" on teams around the league were not handled as well, with players "hating" each other. BTW...your turn at that this year Leafs! ;-)
I get why there is going to be, in this province and city, for a long while, ( especially considering the many interesting ways it could all play out! ) a lot of discussion and such. I know a few Schneid's fans myself still, who could care less if Bo Horvat turns into Toew's little brother. To them, we traded the wrong goaltender and that is that. ( They then actually say things like "Period" and "End of Story" to let me know they are serious about it. )
My sincere hope is that, moving forward, our "puck literati" try to remember that there is a ton of us Luongo fans who want to just see the guy do well. We'd especially love it if he did so this year, considering. Here's a thought though ; Let's try to remember the "I'm very motivated to be the goalie I know I can be..." and "I'm 100% committed to the Vancouver Canucks" ( and anyone else, I don't have a "crystal ball" #lol )...and let the defacto #1 goaltender for Canada's #1 team fuel his own fire, shall we? I imagine a lot of the stories will still find a way to mention the soap opera, just because. It's to be expected even. I'm sincerely hoping it's all about the latest 35 save effort or another victory that is actually the story. There is no doubt that a man motivated, no matter his reasons for it, in that position, in our game, can make a huge difference to getting "Big Shiny Thing" banners and such. One day at a time friends...
Honestly, apart from that in the opening parts of The Interview, the rest of the emotional stuff, I kind of got and accept. I am a fan of an emotional goaltender. I am a fan of Roberto Luongo ( and especially how he won over all the haters with humour and @Strombone1 . Bravo sir! ) , in good and in bad, because he is an emotional player. It's not the first time I have seen him get emotional.
In the second part of the interview, Lui touched on just that, amongst other things. How he and his friend Schneider dealt with the situation. How he is enthused for Sochi. What he thinks about Torts. All in that particularly unique style that has engendered all the love for "Strombone1" ( it's a "male slut", basically, but look at the primary definition in the Urban Dictionary here! ) The humour that has seen him shoot way up the list of Top Hockey follows on Twitter has become a vital part of his public persona, and a way of dealing with things. Now that he has come as far out of the closet as he ever will in definitively saying that it IS him, let us try and respond to the man in the same vein as he obviously wants us to, and have fun!
I've never seen someone be a negative bastard when when they are smiling and laughing. Shit is going to happen this year. Let's have some fun with it with him, instead of letting those silly #CanuckTeaParty asses acting like asses be the "stereotypical Canuck fan" that the haters can point too. I kinda think Roberto is going to #EmbraceTheHate this year more than any in years past. Sounds like a plan to me too.
We'll see what comes in the days and years to come. There is a bit of the unknown, and an actual thing to worry about going forward. There is a clause in the deal that allows both the team and the player a limited out, ( but if the team very publicly and in good faith tried to trade the man over 14 months or so, is that going to change all of the sudden? ), and that will mean rumours, and all that comes with that. We have to talk about SOMETHING!
Who knows? For me, all I care about is the coming year. We now have one of the most talented goaltenders of his generation the most motivated he has been in his entire career. There are a variety of reasons for that, and the Olympics and the desire to reestablish his bonafides as a Vezina calibre goaltender and a true #1 are certainly two of them. But even if it is still secretly, or otherwise, acrimonious, the only way the man will ever be traded out of Vancouver is if he makes himself really, really attractive to those 5 GM's.
( Here's Roberto's very informative wiki page. The link backing it up is dead, but the quote that is germane is this one " The contract contains two additional clauses to circumvent the no-trade clause that allow Luongo to facilitate a trade after the fifth year and for the Canucks to also facilitate a trade after the seventh year." )
It is yet another motivator for a player I have always thought is a supremely talented goaltender. I also think Roberto Luongo is going to be embraced by the vast majority of Canuck fans and cheered as much this year as anytime in the past years. There will of course be the #CanuckTeaParty pronouncing dooms, and there is even some meat on those bones. But I do think that, as we should, Roberto Luongo will be embraced this year in the face of all the drama, regardless.
In the end, we have a new coach, a new attitude, and @Strombone1 as the humor pressure reliever for when things get hinky along the way. A goaltender that has, for a variety of reasons, both speculated and obvious, the need to be as good as he can be.
Let's just take this "one day at a time" and "see how it goes". Making relationships work is hard sometimes, and every couple has had their "things" to deal with, right? Besides, we can stay together for at least one more year, right? Let's do it for the " kids."