Roberto Luongo returns to Vancouver... and almost gets by without being noticed
Uncertain where he will ply his NHL award & Olympic medal winning trade this season, current Vancouver Canucks superstar goaltender Roberto Luongo arrived in Vancouver today.
With the NHL lockout over (as soon as the NHLPA ratifies the deal this weekend) & training camps starting any day, the franchises all time leader in wins & shutouts returned to Vancouver to prepare for the possibility that he could still be a Canuck this season despite a plethora of reports, blogs & tweets stating he almost certainly will not be with the Canucks come the season opener in just over a week.
With trade rumours swirling around the multi-time all-star goaltender, the media in Vancouver were eager to get some comments from him on the situation. However... they were not THAT eager, as the group of print & television reporters almost missed the 6'3 man & the porter escorted trolley of bags & equipment going thru the passenger only portion of the terminal out a side door
The man often known as simply "Luuu" stopped for the 4-5 reporters for a 3-4 minute chat about the lockout, his relationship with Cory Schneider, his training regiment during the break and of course...his feelings on the trade speculations among other things.
Below is the interview as I heard it (sorry about background noise...airports are a loud place). None of the questions are mine, I let the people who are paid to do this ask the questions. Also added a couple of photos from before & after the interview took place.
After a marathon bargaining session that lasted longer than it took me to watch a complete TV series, the NHL & NHLPA have tentatively agreed on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The minimum length of it is 8 years, with a maximum of 10 yrs on the current deal.
Some of the early details of the agreement that have come out so far is this.
- 2013/14 season Salary Cap will be $64.3M
- Contract length maximum is 7 yrs for free agents, 8 yrs for players you already have.
- the lowest paid year of a contract cant be below 50% of the higest paid year.
No date on when training camps or the season starting date have come out yet. Length of this shortened season has also not been stated yet.
The marathon session, which started Saturday afternoon in New York City, ended early-morning on the east coast, after a 15-16 hour bargaining meeting with mediator Scot Beckenbaugh ended with the new tentative deal which still needs to be ratified by the NHLPA & signed off by a plethora of lawyers.
While many sports journalists & hockey insiders were feeling more & more optimistic as the night dragged into day, it wasnt till a tweet from Denver Post reporter Adrian Dater stating the lockout was over that the news was out there.
Within a minute of Mr. Dater making the tweet, practically ever hockey reporter that was awake was making similar statements on facebook, twitter & on T.V.
The real work for the NHL starts now however. While Canadian mad hockey cities will regretably come back in short order like the victim of an abusive relationship, wooing back fans in American southern markets where NFL football, the NBA & the fact MLB Spring training is just weeks away will dominate the sports landscape is going to be a task comparable to finding a respected hockey writer that will pick the columbus Blue Jackets to win the Stanley Cup this year. The damage of this lockout will be hard to pitch to fans of Anaheim, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas, Florida, Tampa, Carolina, Nashville, San Jose and probably even the rest of the U.S. cities where any variety of NFL, NBA, college sports teams playing there have completely swallowed up any left over sports fans looking for a fix.
If any good comes out of this 3rd lockout in the NHL in less than 2 decades it is this... Teams like Florida, Phoenix, Carolina, Tampa, Nashville might not survive because of the lockout. Their feeble fanbases have likely been cleared out to just the most rabid fans. Relocation or contraction for these teams is needed.... and maybe, we might get that in the next couple years now.
In the next few days tonnes of NHLers & hopefulls will head to their teams respective training camps and the fans that still exist will have moved from ranting about how much they loathe Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr, and rant about how their team got screwed by the lockout because they lost so & so due to the lockout.
Now that hockey is back, you can start feverishly trying to analyze who might win the Stanley Cup this year. On that note, let me give you some help there.
Every post-lockout Stanley Cup winner has had these exact same traits.
- U.S. based team in the Eastern Conference
- Based in the eastern time zone
- never previously won the Stanley Cup
- Canadian Captain
So unless the Washington Capitals take away the C from Ovechkin or the Florida Panthers name a Canadian Captain, it will be the Buffalo Sabres captain Jason Pominville hoisting the Stanley Cup this season.
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From time to time I have something to say on hockey. Whether its the Vancouver Canucks, NHL in general, Womens Hockey or International Hockey...if I have something to post, it will be in here.