Saturday, August 26, 2006

Nothing More Than Feelings

George Richards (Miami Herald) has a piece on Roberto Luongo and his still bitter feelings about the trade that brought him to the Vancouver Canucks (link via Kukla's Corner):

Luongo still feels bitter toward the Panthers, saying they made him out to "be the bad guy" during the past negotiating period. Florida had been trying to get Luongo to sign a long-term contract, although Luongo's agent publicly said his client only wanted a one-year deal.

With Luongo facing unrestricted free agency after this coming season, the Panthers didn't want to go into another season with uncertainty and rumors swirling around their franchise goalie.

On the day of the trade, however, Luongo said he told the Panthers he would sign a four-year deal with the team. According to Luongo, he wanted $1 million more over the course of the contract than was offered.

He also wanted a number of concessions -- including Florida re-signing backup goalie Jamie McLennan, hiring a new goalie coach and saying publicly Luongo wouldn't be traded until his no-trade clause kicked in.

"I really don't know what happened in those final hours,'' he said. "You never know what can happen in the future and I don't want to burn any bridges. I feel bad because of what happened, but that's part of the business and things happen. . . . I was portrayed as a greedy player. People who know me know that's not how I am. I basically agreed to the deal. And that's hard to take."

The Panthers ended up trading Luongo, defenseman Lukas Krajicek and a draft pick to the Canucks. Less than a week after the trade, Luongo signed a four-year, $27 million deal with the Canucks. The Panthers maintain the trade wasn't personal and was made to improve a franchise that hasn't been to the postseason since 2000.

"We made some choices that we think can improve the Panthers," general manager Mike Keenan said then.
For the first time in franchise history, the Canucks are entering the season with an all-world goaltender so I'd like to think that, despite potentially some less scoring from the wings, our team has improved as well.

Dave Nonis made a huge gamble with this trade, especially because 1) he gave up some good assets to get Luongo and 2) he has tied up a huge chunk of his salary cap room to Luongo for four seasons. It's simple, really. Luongo should stop feeling bad about how he is portrayed (especially by those from more than 4,500 kms. away) and just prove that the Panthers made a big mistake letting him go.

I know Canucks fans would like that.

Comments/Questions: Feel free to post in the comments section or email me at gocanucksgo10 (at) hotmail (dot) com.

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posted by J.J. Guerrero, 1:12 PM


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