It’s been one of the biggest give-ins in the NHL since Cory Schneider started Game 4 in the Canucks’ first-round playoff series against the LA Kings, but Roberto Luongo’s departure looks as inevitable as ever. In an interview with Vancouver’s CFOX radio station this morning, the man himself spoke of his future in no uncertain terms by stating the following:
“At the end of the day, it’s time to move on and I’m okay with that. I had a great six years in Vancouver. I think it’s a wonderful city, I really enjoyed my time there. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to bring a Stanley Cup there, which was probably my biggest regret. But it will be remembered for six great years.” Source: TSN.ca
While Canucks GM Mike Gillis had publicly repeated the possibility of both Cory Schneider and Luongo remaining in Vancouver together into next season, that scenario essentially died when Schneider signed a 3-year, $12 million contract last week. Luongo’s comments this morning were just another nail in a coffin that’s been already hammered shut for some time. All that remains to be settled now is where Luongo ends up going (Florida, Toronto and Chicago come to mind), and what the Canucks get back for him.
To be honest, for all the criticism Luongo’s endured in his six years here in Vancouver, you can’t argue that he’s been instrumental to the Canucks’ success this past half-decade. He’s easily the best goalie the franchise has ever had, and the only truly elite-calibre one we’ve seen in the Canucks’ crease. While Vancouver still hasn’t won a Stanley Cup yet, we likely would have in 2011 if Roberto had any sort of offensive help versus the Bruins. He helped carry the team to another President’s Trophy this year when the Canucks limped through the regular season for the most part, only to be hung out to dry again against the Kings. The fans cheered as Cory Schneider took over the crease, but the Canucks nonetheless were eliminated in five short games this spring. Make no mistake, Luongo is being replaced by Cory Schneider not because he’s played poorly the past two seasons, but because the Canucks can’t afford to let a budding star like Cory sit on the bench any longer.
The criticisms of Luongo in the media and by the absurdly fickle fans in Vancouver have often been unfair, but to his credit Roberto has never been anything but a class act the past six years. While Schneider could and should prove to be a great successor in Vancouver, it will still be a sad day when the “Luuu”s fall silent at Rogers Arena.
Where do you think Luongo will end up this summer? What’s been your favorite highlight in his time in Vancouver?
Whether it’s Cory Schneider or Roberto Luongo in the crease next season, fans can be sure that the Canucks will be looking for redemption after such a disappointing postseason. When the puck drops, ShowTimeTickets.com will have tickets for every Canucks game, as well as for all 30 teams in the NHL!