Canucks, Luongo taking relationship reset slow; Gillis: ‘I told him how I felt about him’

What’s the difference between Roberto Luongo and Pavel Bure? One is bound for the rafters and the other is just bound. (Heyo! It may be the offseason, but I’ve still got it.)

On Tuesday, the Canucks held their 2013 Summer Summit — a season ticket holder event so prestigious and special it happens in July — and for two hours Mike Gillis, John Tortorella, Victor de Bonis and Bill Daly (the Metropolitan Division of this foursome, clearly) fielded questions from those in attendance.

Suffice it to say, the club’s ongoing relationship with Roberto Luongo was something people wanted to hear about.

Back in the spring, when the Canucks were swept out of the playoffs, Mike Gillis said that the team would be getting a reset. As it turned out, that reset has been mostly limited to the relationship between the Canucks and Luongo. After their six-year marriage nearly ended in divorce, from the sounds of it, they’re back to dating.

“The conversation was fine and good,” Gillis told the crowd of his much-hyped meeting with Luongo in Florida. “It was fun and amiable and it wasn’t stressful or anything. We talked about the team. We talked about the coaching change and pretty much everything we could talk about. I told him how I felt about him and how we felt about him as an organization.”

Quality first date. Sounds like something you’d hear on an episode of Love Connection. Although not as good an episode as this one:

Anyway, from the sounds of it, Gillis didn’t make a move, but you’ve gotta take things slow with Luongo. He’s Catholic.

That’s about as far as the update on this situation went. It wasn’t substantial at all, and The Province didn’t undersell anything when they titled Ben Kuzma’s article on the Summit:

Fine and good? If anything, they oversold it.

But really, all anybody wanted to hear that was Luongo answered the door and didn’t throw plates. Consider the exchange when Barry MacDonald first broached the subject:

B-Mac: “How’s Roberto doing?”

Gillis: “Roberto’s great.”

*audience applause*

I suspect the audience was partially sedated. (I think Gillis suspected the same. Find that moment in the video below — it’s at 1:02:57 — and watch his body language. He’s like, really?)

There was a little more, of course.

“We, ironically, spent about half the conversation going through his Twitter account because he thinks he’s so witty and funny that it brings out the best in him,” Gillis said. (I think that was a joke, but it also wouldn’t surprise me if it wasn’t.)

“We had a really good conversation,” Gillis continued, before launching into the sort of short soliloquy that only flies at an event where the media’s not asking follow-up questions. “What happened could have been the result all the way through. It wasn’t reported that way but it could have been. At the end of the day we had to make a choice and we made the choice to go with Roberto.”

Sure, but I think we know that the choice was necessitated by circumstances, and “it could have been the result all the way through” is like saying “these things happen” after your car gets stolen.

With no one pointing that out, however, Gillis moved along, closing with his impressions about where Luongo’s head is at and what it means for the future.

“I was comfortable there,” he said. “We have a really good relationship so we were laughing for most of it. It wasn’t strained or adversarial at all. Far from it. It was the opposite. I still think Roberto’s working his way through everything that occurred and what happened. I think he’s gonna be fine. I think he’s a consummate professional. I think he’ll be the starting goalie for Canada’s Olympic team and he’ll be our starting goalie and I feel very optimistic about it.”

Another round of applause. It was an easy crowd. We should try to get these people out to the games.

Before the gas wore off, the Canucks quickly changed the subject by announcing that Pavel Bure’s jersey will finally be going to the rafters, as expected. We’ll have more on that when the formal announcement comes.


  1. Brent
    July 24, 2013

    I suspect we will see a more driven Luongo this season. He will want to be the starting goalie in the Olympics and he will want to show the teams who felt he wasn’t worth his contract that he is.

    I’m a glass half full kinda guy.

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  2. cathylu
    July 24, 2013

    OMG Love Connection! My husband used to work on that show! I was able to watch part of the Summit streaming on the Internet. I think I recognized Canuck Clay in the audience. Man, you could really feel the love for Pavel. I wish I was a fan back then – he must have been amazing.

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  3. Frank N.
    July 24, 2013

    Who’s to say their date didn’t exactly go like that!? Awkwardness all around with two people who have completely different interests and are forced to be together, at least for now (the one date).

    I really can’t see this working long time. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Luongo plays for the Canucks this year (to show GM’s he can still play and to make the Olympics) and asks to be traded for the start of the 14/15 season, or just walks out.

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  4. J21
    July 24, 2013

    “What happened could have been the result all the way through. It wasn’t reported that way but it could have been. At the end of the day we had to make a choice and we made the choice to go with Roberto.”

    In the way that the Cold War “could” have ended differently (but didn’t) or I “could” have married Claudia Schiffer (which I totally did! Or maybe not, I forget).

    Forget the way the media told the story — Gillis’ own statements throughout last season suggest very strongly that he never realistically banked on this outcome.

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  5. the olde coot
    July 24, 2013

    mayhap lui ain’t coming back
    and number one is eddie lack
    though it’s more likely he will play
    who wouldn’t for that kind of pay

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  6. akiddddd
    July 24, 2013

    wow, what an entertaining post, harrison! hilarious stuff!

    sounds like gillis is a pretty good date. talk about stuff HE’s interested in(twitter account). check. get him to talk about himself(twitter account.) check.

    I’m pretty sure lou was left with the impression that gillis was a really interesting guy who liked talking about interesting stuff. now maybe gillis’ shirt and socks didn’t match and he did wear cowboy boots but how was he supposed to know that?!?

    and does a wine cellar count as a home tanning booth?

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  7. Jay
    July 24, 2013

    Is it me or does the girl on the Love Connection look like Dale Weise?

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  8. Chris the Curmudgeon
    July 24, 2013

    I always thought I was a straight male but Mark from Royal Oak, Michigan might re-open that question a little for me.

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  9. keith
    July 25, 2013

    PIFFP – Potential Idea For Future Post:

    The Lu Connection – Bobby Lu courts potential backup ‘tenders.

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  10. B-Fitz
    July 25, 2013

    Well, old Bobby-Lu switched agents yesterday and within minutes both The Province, The Vancouver Sun and Sportsnet Murph had chimed in on it being a “shot across the bow” of the good ship Canuck.

    Well, today Lu’s new agent confirmed to Farhan that Roberto is preparing for training camp and intends to be there and crickets from The Province, Sun and ol Sportsnet. Only TSN has reported the story.

    Guess that tells us what we need to know about the Vancouver Sports media, maybe MG’s statement about “that’s not how it was reported” isn’t so far fetched.

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  11. ktownfan
    July 25, 2013

    This situation is like a 15 year old girl’s facebook page.

    Luongo is in a relationship with >Vancouver Canucks- June 23rd 2006
    Luongo is married with >Vancouver Canucks Sept 2 2009
    Luongo is in a “its complicated” 2011-2012
    Luongo is single – summer 2012
    Luongo is in a “its complicated” – 2012-2013
    Luongo is single- May 7 2013
    Luongo is in a “its complicated” June 30th 2013

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  12. PB
    July 25, 2013

    I haven’t been terribly troubled by the Luongo no-show following the draft for the most part but the longer this drags on the more puzzled I become. I really don’t see what other options he or the Canucks have and it is what it is. I thought it was a little bit much at the time when he was upset about his contract that “sucks” — you know no one is forcing him to take the tens of millions…but all this hand-wringing by him, as human as it might be, is not helping his carefully rehabilitated persona of the last year. Today’s news that he’s replaced his agent I found perplexing. Was the negotiating of the multi-year multi-million-dollar deal and the inability for him to get traded to Florida that upsetting to him?

    I am still hoping for a resolution to all of this nonsense and I’m a firm believer that he’s got some very good years left in him. But this is getting a little ridiculous.

    Also, Mark is my hero.

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  13. Adam Nowek
    July 27, 2013

    Jesus, can we please stop talking about this already? If I wanted to read gossip, I would read The Province.

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