Intentionally or not, Roberto Luongo is setting off a firestorm with his comments on last night’s CBC Hockey Night In Canada After Hours. And fanning the flames is Jason Botchford (Vancouver Province):
Alex Burrows and Ryan Kesler have made it clear recently, with both words and actions, they plan to be a big part of building what they believe to be a bright Vancouver Canucks future.
But if Roberto Luongo’s comments Saturday on Hockey Night in Canada’s After Hours are any indication, the team’s star goalie is not on board, yet.
Sometimes Luongo’s honesty with the media gets him into PR jams. That could be the case again this week after he went off the “We are all Canucks” script when asked whether being captain will influence his decision to sign an extension.
“I don’t think so. That’s not something that’s going to weigh on my decision,” Luongo said.
He probably should have stopped there. What followed was something you probably don’t want to hear from your star player and captain.
“I think first and foremost, I want to win the Cup and whichever team is going to give me the best chance to do that is the team I want to be with,” Luongo said. “I love Vancouver, it’s a great city with great fans. So far, I’ve really enjoyed my time there. Obviously, this year and next year are going to be a key role in my decision.”
I think that’s a fair answer and one most players would say. Seeing that they weren’t talking dollars and cents and pay cuts, I don’t quite get the tie-in between what Kesler and Burrows said last week and what Luongo said last night.
But wait, there’s more.
It wasn’t a thought out comment and it raises some interesting questions.
Does this mean Luongo, if the opportunity presents itself, would jump at a chance to take a pay cut and play for perennial Cup contender Detroit, where they always seem to need a goalie?
Knowing Luongo, that part of his comment needs more context. He hasn’t been asked yet, but I’ll bet he didn’t mean it in the “I’m planning to be a hired gun” way it came out. There are a lot of factors that will go into his decision, including finding the best place to live for his wife and daugther.
For that, we give him a pass.
Most troubling, however, is Luongo’s strong suggestion he is not thinking about signing an extension this summer.
Is it just me or is this a lame attempt at preying on Canucks fans’ fears? In one corner there is Burrows and Kesler, the team’s heart and soul, preaching pay cuts. In the other corner, there’s Luongo, the greedy captain. Like I said – lame.
Unless there’s some part of Luongo’s response missing, I can’t see the “strong suggestion” that he’s not thinking of signing an extension this summer. What I see is him being non-committal, and with almost a year and a half left in his contract, I don’t see this being an issue. And with a return to the playoffs all but certain, can’t we talk about that instead?