Too bad the month of October didn’t move as fast for Roberto Luongo as his trade speculation.
One day he’s saying he’s going to do what’s best for the team, the next day he’s readying a wish list of trade destinations and the next he’s demanded a trade out of Vancouver.
At this rate, he’ll be Toronto by Monday and have them in their first postseason in nine years by Tuesday. Or maybe it’s Chicago. They’d have to change the goal song, although seeing Luongo doing the Dougie to Chelsea Dagger would be surreal.
Yes, the Leafs are expected to be on Luongo’s wish list. Maybe the Hawks, too. Who’s next? Boston? Team Russia? The Germans?
The magical list being compiled as you read this, ESPN reported, includes Florida, Tampa Bay, Chicago, Toronto and New Jersey. The teams may change but the list is expected to be in the Canucks’ hands as soon as next week.
Vancouver GM Mike Gillis weighed in, opining that everyone needed to take a deep breath. Good point, there’s sure to be lots of time this offseason for the Ryan Malone-for-Luongo speculation. Or is it Luongo for Dave Bolland? The Canucks sure could use a third-line centre and Mike Duco could mentor him on apologizing to the Sedin twins.
Interestingly, people who are finely tuned with goaltending believe Joel Quenneville’s system in Chicago could be the best fit for Luongo, who likely would not have succeeded in Toronto with all those rush chances under Ron Wilson.
But this is a Chicago team with players who have openly ridiculed Luongo and a fanbase that loathes him. Odd choice. But, again, you have to give Luongo this: He’s got guts.
Either that, or he’s trying to stick it to the Canucks.
When asked if reports that Luongo has asked for a trade were accurate, Gillis didn’t deny it.
“We’ve met, but we’ve decided we’ll take our time and talk in the next few days over the phone,” Gillis said on TEAM 1040 morning show. “I’m not quite sure why something like that [the reports] would be out there.”
Because this is Luongo Watch 2012 and people want to see the hype growing by the day.
On Luongo’s supposed trade demand, it’s splitting hairs at this point. If, when he got together for his exit meeting with Gillis, Luongo pointed out the team sure seemed to be moving ahead with Cory Schneider, what’s he going to say? Let me return to be Schneider’s backup?
If Luongo said he didn’t see a future in Vancouver because the Canucks really didn’t see him in their future, is that really requesting a trade?
Technically maybe, but let’s have some context. When Luongo met with the media on Monday, he was making the point, again and again, that it was Schneider’s time, he’s earned it and he’s ready to dominate the league for 10, 12, 15 years. OK, that last part was a bit of hyperbole from Luongo, but you should be getting the picture by now.
Luongo thinks Schneider is ready to be great, which means he’s ready to play a lot more than 30 games. That means Luongo has to reconsider his future and the first step is his list. The list should indicate to everyone what was said in that exit meeting.
But Gillis’s message to chill is valid because so much has to happen before a Luongo deal gets serious. For starters, the Canucks have to close in on a multi-year deal with Schneider. They can’t risk losing both.
This is going to take time, which was Gillis’s point.
“I think we all need to take a deep breath,” Gillis said. “The early exit from the playoffs, not meeting our expectations, can lead you to make some pretty poor decisions in a real hurry.
“I think we all need to step back for a couple of days and not do anything — think about it then begin to plan out what we want to do with this team over the summer for the coming season.
“It’s a little premature to start down that path already.”
Too late. The path is clear as day.