Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Roberto Luongo said after his recent
preseason shutout over the New York Rangers that he likes to get tested early.
One would think that after more than 700 career NHL games, the 34-year-old
would have few tests left to face in his career.
That isn't the case for Luongo as he enters his eighth season with the
Vancouver Canucks. Instead, the former three-time All-Star will be trying to
show his own team that he is still a capable No. 1.
It has the potential of being as awkward as taking an ex-girlfriend to a
wedding. The Canucks, though, are the ones who renewed their vows with Luongo
when they opted to trade former heir apparent, Cory Schneider, to the New
Jersey Devils on draft day.
It may not have fully been Vancouver's choice. Luongo has proved untradeable
since getting supplanted by Schneider during the 2012 playoffs thanks to a 12-
year, $64 million deal that runs through 2021-22. That likely makes it till
death do we part between the two.
So, the Canucks have let Luongo off the couch and back into the bed for the
upcoming season. The rest of Vancouver is just hoping the two don't sleep
back-to-back for too much longer.
Nobody really knows how Luongo feels after being first tossed aside then
thrust back into the starting role. He certainly hasn't been handled like a
goaltender who has won nearly 350 regular-season games, a 2010 gold medal with
Canada and the 2011 William M. Jennings Trophy with Schneider for allowing the
fewest goals in the season.
Of course, a Stanley Cup championship is missing from that resume despite
back-to-back Presidents' Trophies in 2010-11 and 2011-12.
Hopefully there are more good days ahead, like Thursday's 41-save shutout over
the Rangers that helped Luongo close the preseason on a very positive note.
"It's definitely a step in the right direction. You want to keep building off
that," noted the netminder. "That being said, it doesn't mean it's going to
translate automatically into a great start. I've had some great preseasons
before and sometimes it doesn't quite translate.
"It's all about the work you put in, in practice and working on your game."
Though management is the same, Luongo does get a bit of a fresh start under
new head coach John Tortorella, who replaces Alain Vigneault.
"I thought 'Louie' was really good. I think things could have been different
if he didn't play the way he played," Tortorella said after the win over his
former Rangers club.
The hockey world knows that Tortorella is no easy spouse to get along with and
has a tendency to end the honeymoon rather quickly. But a fresh start is a
For Luongo, he is looking to make it happily ever after.
The Sports Network