Weight: 217 lbs
Born: April 4, 1979 in Montreal, Quebec
Drafted: 1th round (4th overall) by the Islanders in the 1997 Entry Draft
Special Talent: Plays goal like a boss, has the best lifetime save percentage ( .919 ) of any active goaltender in the NHL.
What Did He Do?
Compiled a 19-16-6 record for the Canucks in his final year in Vancouver, stopping .917 % of the 1157 shots he faced in this, his last season. He stopped zero in the Heritage Classic though. Whether that was the "insult" that brought about a trade to the place he wanted to go for about two years is up for debate for some, a fait accompli for others. ( I have no doubt about the fact that he wanted to start the game. He had been talking about it for quite a while previous to the decision by Torts...I just think we will never know the "real" story. ) All I know is the man did his job while he was here, and ended up the season playing for Florida, the only team he really wanted to go to. Whether the insult was contrived to get him out, or a deep and personal wound to the heart is irrelevant. As a huge fan of the man, I am happy for him and his family now, and thank him for his contributions here. We got the best and sometimes worst of having an emotional, talented player in the most important position in hockey. It was never dull, and often exciting. No matter what some thought about "what happened" in 2011, the team would not have gotten to the Final without Mr Luongo.
The rebirth of his sense of humour, and public persona, afterwards, was wonderful to watch. If you are one of the few to not follow him on Twitter, then do it. The strombone1 link above will take you there.
WHAT DID WE LIKE?
Is that over his entire time here, or just this final year ? His final year here was as interesting as the last two, when the "# 1 " label, and who would have it, was fuel for a province wide debate, and a long and enduring "scandal" for those final few years. I liked that Roberto Luongo was a consummate professional through it all. Whether the trade, or lack of one earlier, was mismanaged is something for an autopsy of Mike Gillis than here. I will say that, when you have a NTC, and use it to maneuver things ( as is any player's right with a duly negotiated clause ) to get yourself back to your home, that that will most certainly make said trade difficult. Even more so when you are signed forever.
What did I like about his entire time here? Almost everything. Would I have enjoyed one more win in 2011 ? Of course. But Roberto Luongo is the best goaltender we ever had here. He handled things like being the first goaltender captain in ages with professionalism and class. He was the only reason the team was in the playoffs in some of those early years. In a hockey mad market like ours, Roberto Luongo handled things pretty well, considering. I, for one, would like to take the opportunity to thank him for all of it. The entertainment was always riveting, whether you agreed with his motivations, play, or attitude. Even more so after he showed the world that sense of humour that only a few of us had picked up on before Strombone1 blew up. In a market where some folks grew to hate the man over his perceived failures in 2011, those same people were some of his biggest fans after they followed him and "got him".
Neat trick, that.
WHAT DID WE HATE?
Well, that is something that you can view from both sides, as well. The way he left was something that the majority blamed on GMMG, but you could make a case that the insult of the Heritage Classic was used cravenly to get him back where he wanted to go for two years anyhow.
It is pretty hard to get a lot of hate going for the man and his contributions on the ice, however. A 252-137-50-38 record since he first got here in 2006-07 speaks for itself. I do hate one thing, even if he is not a Canuck anymore. I hate that fans, and media, from everywhere else in Canada took the tack that the team "won Gold in 2010 in spite of him". Just like the 2011 Cup Final, and the digesting of that in our hockey mad country, the team wins and loses as a team. Not only that, you can point to several occurrences in BOTH cases where the team would not have made it as far as they had without Roberto Luongo saving them.
Whether it was an O/T save against the Hawks in the first round. or a wonderful save in the dying seconds of a game against Slovakia against the late Pavol Demitra that had the player shaking his head, while Eastern Media were treating the replay like the Zapruder film to show that he DIDN'T do anything, the way the man was talked down while plying his talents was a weird and not altogether fair thing during his time here.
His stats are here, and the Cap Geek details of the infamous contract are here. A contract that the Canucks will be paying 15% of for the rest of it's agreed upon length.
Got Some Video To Enjoy ?
Hell yes... here's the most recent of the fun stuff, as he did an "Intern" bit on TSN
And of course, this classic, with Cory Schneider, during happier times...
There are many, many saves to find on Youtube, but I like this tribute
I could go on and on, as the man has a lot of great videos. Here is his name searched on Youtube. Click at will..
SO WHAT NOW ?
Now, Roberto Luongo plays goal in South Florida to, hopefully, for the Canucks financial sake, the end of that contract ( thanks Burkey, asshole. That stupid clause is a stupid clause. Penalizing teams for taking advantage of the CBA as written ? Pul-eeze ). He will continue to regale us with the funny that his alter ego Strombone1 puts out on Twitter on a daily basis, and he will continue to not get the credit he deserves as one of the best goaltenders of his generation. Part of that is the results, and winning the big one.
Fair enough. But when someone is at the lofty career heights he is stats wise, that should be acknowledged. I hope I did so here, and, at least this Canuck fan, thanks him very much for the time here.
Don't retire early and screw us on that Burkey rule though Lui.