The Roberto Luongo trade, like the CBA, is being negotiated in public

By now, you could probably publish an anthology of the digital ink that’s been spilled speculating on Roberto Luongo’s next destination, and not just some sissy course-pack. This thing would rival the Norton Shakespeare with the writing of Thomas Drance alone — in the past month, at that.

Yeah, we’re still talking about Funny Bob. If you thought that the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement and the delay in getting a new one might put this topic on the back burner — especially since it’s literally impossible for Luongo to be traded right now — think again. Last week, John Shannon got things started right back up by saying that a deal to the Toronto Maple Leafs “done”.

What he meant, since he’s as aware as anybody that you can’t trade players without a CBA and hockey totally doesn’t have one of those right now, was that it’s “all but done”. I spoke to him on the phone over the weekend, and he clarified: “Here’s what I truly believe: with the information that I have, once the collective bargaining agreement is done and all the rules and regulations are in place, that a deal between Brian Burke and the Canucks will be made.”

Mike Gillis has since issued a full denial of Shannon’s report, but Shannon stuck to his guns in a Sportsnet piece over the weekend. Granted, this line tripped me up somewhat:

“I do not know who or what [Luongo] will be traded for, and believe it or not, I don’t think general managers Mike Gillis and Brian Burke know either. The rules of any new collective bargaining agreement will dictate the actual transaction.”

In other words, the deal is only all but done in the sense that it’s not done at all? Right on.

Gillis and Burke are negotiating, though, and I would suggest that the last five days aren’t just evidence of that — they are that. This deal, like the CBA, is being negotiated in public.

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Canucks may need both Luongo and Schneider for compressed schedule

After the NHL faced the PR disaster of their market research focus group documents going public on Monday, they needed to do something quick to fix their image among hockey fans. The announcement of a new, seemingly reasonable CBA proposal with the aim of saving full 82-game season? That ought to do it.

While there is still a lot of work to be done in negotiations and time will tell how truly reasonable the offer is, the fact remains that this is the first real glimmer of hope that a deal could get done in time to save the 2012-13 season. The key for the owners, however, is that this offer is contingent on a deal being reached within the next 9-10 days, as they want a full 82-game season and all the revenue that entails.

In order to cram all those games in, the NHL schedule would need to get a lot more compressed, meaning more back-to-back games, more fatigue, and more risk of injuries.

Which means Mike Gillis might not want to trade Roberto Luongo after all.

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Spitballin’ on Luongo’s return, Malhotra’s kicks, and shinny shindig

Spitballin’ (or Super Pass It To Bulis: All In, if you love adventurous acronymizing) is a feature that allows us to touch on a multitude of things really fast, because in the world of hockey, there are always lots of things to find and colour. Here are a few quick topics.

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‘Disgruntled’ Roberto Luongo spotted at Panthers’ facility, hoping someone will take him in

First, he was an escape goat. Now, he’s a disgruntled goat, at least according to the Florida Sun Sentinel.

Roberto Luongo remains down in Florida with his family, renting inflatable slides, wearing flippers, and hoping he never has to leave. He’s also gearing up for the next NHL season, whenever that will be, which means heading on over to the nearest NHL practice facility and getting some work in. In this case, that means visiting the home of the Florida Panthers.

As we know by now, Luongo would love it if these trips to the brutally named Iceplex were more than just visits. He wants to play there, and he said so again Tuesday. But for now his sighting there means no more than when local NHLers join the Canucks at Eight Rinks to find their legs before heading out every fall.

However, that hasn’t stopped the Sun Sentinel from doing their best to sensationalize every detail of this encounter they possibly can.

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Roberto Luongo talks to everyone; hear infamous CFox chat, watch awkward Poker News interview

Now that Ryan Suter and Zach Parise are off the market, the attention has turned to some of the NHL’s other players who might be on the move this offseason — chief amongst them, Roberto Luongo. The Canucks netminder, who has been quiet (-ish) all spring amid rumours that he’s on the way out, headed to the World Poker championships in Las Vegas this weekend (with the tab picked up by government agency in a minor controversy).

Suddenly, freed from his hideout in Florida, Luongo has became super available and talkative. As a result, that vacuum of controversy, speculation and offseason rosterbation created by the Parise and Suter signings has been since filled by our old pal Funny Bob.

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Reports and rumours: really, what’s the difference?

After the NHL Draft came and went without a Roberto Luongo trade, the waters were temporarily calm on that front. Then came Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch to create some waves Monday morning by claiming that Luongo had invoked his No Trade Clause to avoid being traded to the Blackhawks or the Leafs and that his preferred location was a return to the Florida Panthers.

Needles to say, this caused what is known in technical terms as a kerfuffle.

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PITB chats with Twitter superstar Strombone1, who may or may not be Roberto Luongo

Roberto Luongo has dominated the Canucks’ offseason discussion, both because rumours that he’s on his way out of town continue to swirl, and because he is believed to be running one of the best athlete Twitter accounts in the history of the world. @strombone1, Roberto Luongo’s super-secret suspected Twitter account, is pretty much everything you want an athlete Twitter account to be: hilarious, interactive, topical, you name it. The only thing it isn’t… is verified.

I’ve compiled my evidence for why I believe Roberto Luongo is the man behind @strombone1 at the bottom of this post and, as strange the account has gotten over the past few months, I stand by my conclusions. Heck, I’m more confident now than I was then. Jason Botchford agrees. Still, there are facts yet to be found, which is why I recently reached out to @strombone1 himself for answers.

Granted, he didn’t provide any, but we still chatted via Twitter’s direct messaging service. What follows is an exclusive interview with @strombone1, which may actually be an exclusive interview with Roberto Luongo, depending on what you believe.

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Spitballin’ on Luongo staying put, Post-op Kesler, and Ted Nugent’s support for Booth

Spitballin’ (or Super Pass It To Bulis: All In, if you love adventurous acronymizing) is a feature that allows us to touch on a multitude of things really fast, because in the world of hockey, there are always lots of things to find and colour. Here are a few quick topics.

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Meet Loango, the most appropriately-named Mangabey monkey in all of Paris

You’re looking at an infant, crown male Mangabey monkey that was born at the Jardin des Plantes’s zoo in Paris on March 5, 2012. The little guy is being bottle-fed because he was rejected by his mother at birth. Why is this on a Vancouver Canucks hockey blog?

The monkey’s name is Loango.

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CBC report on Luongo’s secret Twitter fails to convince, succeeds in getting Luongo to tweet something funny

We’ve been talking about Roberto Luongo’s suspected secret Twitter account since late February, but with the Canucks’ elimination from the playoffs and Luongo’s reported trade request, the antics of @strombone1 have spiked in a major way of late. The man has basically been writing this blog for us for a week now.

On Tuesday, the continuing adventures @strombone1 went national when CBC picked up the story in a piece by Karin Larson. Here’s “Luongo on Twitter?”, a CBC investigative report.

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The top 10 bloopers of the Canucks’ 2011-12 season

Some hockey games yield great stories, heroes, big goals, and clutch plays. This post is not about those games. This post celebrates weirdness, a quality of which the 87 games of the Vancouver Canucks’ 2011-12 season (and playoffs) had in spades. In fact, there were enough odd little moments this year for us to create a list of our favourite 10 bloopers of the 2011-12 season. What follows is a countdown of the funniest, oddest, and most unexpected stuff that happened on the ice during those 87 games.

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Amazing Fan Video: Watch Roberto Luongo tribute ‘Live Forever’ and get all emotional and stuff

For my money, the relationship between Roberto Luongo and the city of Vancouver has never been healthy. When you stop and think about it, it’s always sort of seemed like two people headed for a failed marriage.

First, there were the initial stages, when the City was over the moon for the guy, maybe even infatuated in an unhealthy way. We’d never been treated this well by anyone. That warped into a panic that he was too good for us and he might realize it and leave, which caused us to clamour for a promise, a marriage we weren’t quite ready for, a contract lasting forever. Not long after we got it, our fickle, immature hearts turned once again, and we realized how long “forever” truly was. Suddenly the whole thing soured, as we settled into routine. Then came the hardships, as the rigours of marriage (in this case, the Chicago Blackhawks) made him look human. Suddenly, the infatuation was lost, and that thrilling fear that he might leave us was replaced by a dull wish that he would. (How did New Jersey make it look so easy? Marriage is hard.)

Then someone new came along, and we felt that initial rush of excitement and infatuation for the first time in years. We wanted out, but we felt guilty asking, so we treated the guy like dirt in the hopes that he would suggest we end it. Then he did, and as we realized a major point in our lives was coming to an abrupt end, we began to re-examine the whole relationship, and suddenly found the lost memories of when we loved him the way we love the new suitor now. We couldn’t help but look back and wistfully reminisce about how it used to be.

It looks to me like Canuck nation has arrived at that final stage, the outpouring of all that lost emotion. As we approach the seeming end of Luongo’s tenure in Vancouver, I’d expect many more touching Roberto Luongo tributes like this one, titled “Live Forever”.

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The continuing adventures of Roberto Luongo’s super-secret suspected Twitter account

April has been a rough month for Roberto Luongo. On the 5th, he was pulled in favour of Cory Schneider in a game versus the Anaheim Ducks, and the Rogers Arena fans jeered him as he left the crease. In the playoffs, he was one of the Canucks’ best players in their first two games and for this, he was replaced by Schneider once again, never getting back into the goal.

Then, he watched from the bench as the Canucks were eventually eliminated in just 5 games, leading to a long offseason full of speculation, much of which will be focused on him. Has he tended goal in Vancouver for the last time? This week, he admitted he would waive his no-trade clause if asked, then a report surfaced that he had asked to be asked, so… perhaps. It’s an unstable time for the man either way.

But, if there’s one thing about Luongo that remains a constant, it’s that his super-secret suspected Twitter account will remain one of the best things on the Internet.

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According to reports, Roberto Luongo requested a trade; why did we hear about it?

Earlier this week, I argued that Roberto Luongo’s professed willingness to waive his no-trade clause if asked didn’t mean what we thought it meant. No, it wasn’t Luongo requesting a trade. It was simply Luongo admitting that he wouldn’t stand in the way if GM Mike Gillis purposed to move him. The decision remained in Gillis’s hands.

That take reached obsolescence in less than 48 hours. According to reports, Luongo has requested a trade after all.

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Roberto Luongo is willing to waive his no-trade clause; will Mike Gillis ask him to?

For what it’s worth, I’m not so sure that Roberto Luongo’s willingness to waive his no-trade clause if asked is all that big a deal. With a few exceptions (Down Goes Brown bitterly reminds me of former Canuck Mats Sundin), no-trade clauses aren’t an insurmountable obstacle.

The fact is that an NTC is simply there to prevent players from being blindsided. If you have one, you won’t ever have to worry about answering your phone, only to be told you’ve been moved. That’s a nightmare call for anyone, and you can’t begrudge players looking for a guarantee that they’ll never have to receive it, especially as they attempt to lay down roots.

But if someone told me they didn’t want me, I wouldn’t force them to have me. And that’s what it comes down to with Roberto Luongo. He may have veto power, but the moment he needs to exercise it, his relationship with the Canucks changes forever. In effect, the decision here belongs to Mike Gillis, despite Luongo’s contract stipulating that he be consulted on it.

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Spitballin’ on Chris Tanev’s glove, the creepiest Sedin video ever, and Luongo’s future

Spitballin’ (or Super Pass It To Bulis: All In, if you love adventurous acronymizing) is a feature that allows us to touch on a multitude of things really fast, because in the world of hockey, there are always lots of things to find and colour. Here are a few quick topics.

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Roberto Luongo’s suspected, hilarious, meta-tweeting spree continues

Until proven otherwise, we at PITB are going to press on with our conviction that the @strombone1 account is owned and operated by one Roberto Luongo. As it stands, the evidence is on our side, as is the comedic value the account provides.

Recently, we noted that Luongo had taken to tweeting at a fake Roberto Luongo account to make jokes at his own expense. Last week, he effectively wished himself a happy birthday this way and later made a backhanded comment about Don Cherry’s tendency to mispronounce his name.

Over the weekend, Luongo employed this comedic trope three more times, all to amusing effect.

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Cory Schneider totally wants to steal Luongo’s job, but he’s too lame to say so

The Canucks’ goaltending situation is suddenly up in the air, with both netminders seemingly capable of taking the number one job (or just one, if you listen to Vancouver’s massive contingent of Luongo-haters). But, if there’s one element where Cory Schneider’s got Roberto Luongo beat without question, it’s in media dealings. Schneider’s absurdly good at providing quotes that can’t be misinterpreted, meaning there’s nothing for the media to blow out of proportion — meaning there’s nothing over which PITB can call out the media for blowing out of proportion.

It’s no fun for anybody, really.

Schneider’s so good at downplaying controversy that no one even batted an eye when he effectively said today that he hoped to take Roberto Luongo’s job.

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I Find This Photo Odd: This guy has a problem with twins

The other day, someone brought a sign to the Canucks game that said “Edler get in my Bed-ler”. It was creepy, and it got me to thinking that it’s about time someone compiled a post of the worst and most suggestive pieces of posterboard Canuck fans have brought to Rogers Arena. So I set out to do just that, combing through image galleries for uncomfortable signage.

Along the way, I came across this sign from a playoff game between the Vancouver Canucks and the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center. It won’t make it into the eventual post of suggestive signs, of course, because it’s not suggestive. It is, however, hilariously vague.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks vs St. Louis Blues, March 1, 2012

The Canucks were in playoff form Thursday. How do I know? Because this game bore an eerie resemblance to a playoff game from last June. Let me break it down for you:

After two tough losses on the road, the Canucks came home looking to bounce back. The game was tight, with very little room for error, and the NHL’s top two teams entered the third period locked in a 0-0 tie. The contest appeared headed for overtime until, midway through the third, one of the Canucks’ point men put a shot just wide of the net. It popped off the boards and right onto the stick of a French winger that nobody likes, and he was able to jam the puck inside the post just before the goaltender could get across. Immediately after doing so, he scrambled to the boards to celebrate the game-winner with his linemates while Rogers Arena went nuts.

Yeah. Tonight’s game was effectively a shot-for-shot remake of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. I remember it clear as day, because I, like many of you, watched that game. And then I watched this game.

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Video: Roberto Luongo chats with Gerry Dee about getting old, booed, and hung out to dry

Roberto Luongo can get a bad rap for the way he deals with the media, but he’s not nearly as bad as you’ve heard. Sure, he’s never going to match Cory Schneider’s “well-spoken and friendly ginger” schtick (I think it’s a ruse, by the way), but Luongo actually has a great, dry, sense of humour and is quite comfortable making fun of himself in the right situation. Unfortunately, this dry sense of humour tends to show itself at the wrong times and, coupled with Luongo’s mumbled, straight delivery, often leads to misunderstanding and controversy.

But in the right situation, Luongo’s comic ability really shines, such as in segments with James Duthie, Cabbie, and, recently, comedian Gerry Dee:

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Drance Numbers: Does Luongo’s mileage matter more than his age?

Despite his recent run of incredible play, the Vancouver market remains habitually critical of Roberto Luongo. The chronic frustration with the team’s incumbent starter has led to numerous suggestions that the team keep young blue-chip netminder Cory Schneider, who’s still got that new car smell, and trade Luongo instead.

By now, the goalie controversy is old hat, so let’s give credit to Ed Willes for putting a novel spin on it yesterday, with an extremely interesting take in the Province. Willes’s column doesn’t rely on any hackneyed arguments about Luongo’s lack of “mental toughness,” but rather, suggests Luongo has accrued too much mileage, and that Gillis might be best served by sticking with the fresher legs in Cory Schneider.

Out of curiosity, I figured I’d test Willes’s central assumption: does the performance of an NHL goaltender fall off sharply after they eclipse the 20,000 shots-against mark?

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Roberto Luongo is pretty awful in Minnesota, but so are his teammates

The 2011-12 season has given rise to an infuriatingly lazy narrative: every start Roberto Luongo doesn’t get is now seen as evidence that the Canucks don’t have faith in his ability to win versus a certain team or in a certain building. Schneider gets the start in Boston? The Canucks don’t trust Luongo to win at the TD Garden. Schneider gets the start versus Chicago? Not only are the Canucks afraid to play Luongo in Boston — now they don’t even trust him to tend the pipes against their biggest rival!

Nevermind that Luongo has started in Chicago this season and only missed out on a second start because he was injured — every non-start is a condemnation. (I can’t wait for Schneider to get the start in the last game of the season. You know someone is going claim it’s a playoff tuneup.)

All this in mind, you had to know that, when Cory Schneider got the nod Thursday for the Canucks’ road game versus the Minnesota Wild, people were going to deduce that this was yet another showing of Luongophobia, especially with Funny Bob’s career numbers in the land of 10,000 lakes.

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We need to make a bigger deal of Roberto Luongo’s save of the season

One of the main reasons I love sports is that they have the power to surprise. The absurd and unexpected are almost commonplace in sports, particularly in a fast-paced and chaotic sport like hockey. Roberto Luongo provided one of those absurd and unexpected moments on Tuesday against the Nashville Predators.

I expected much more fuss to be made of his incredible save on Colin Wilson, but it seems to have passed by largely unnoticed. In my mind, it’s the save of the season.

I honestly don’t have much to say about it. It was so flabbergasting a save that I can only point at it repeatedly while saying, “Look! See? Do you see it?”

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I Watched This Game: Canucks at Nashville Predators, February 7, 2012

Byron Bitz came one element short of a Gordie Howe Hat Trick against the Predators. Surprisingly, that missing element was a fight. Who saw that coming? Other than Alain Vigneault, of course, who started Bitz on a line with Henrik Sedin.

The leading theory was that Vigneault was sending Henrik a message by putting him on a line with the 6’5″ winger; turned out he was just trying to get Henrik going. It worked. Henrik had his first multi-point game since January 10th thanks to a couple nice plays by Bitz. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I watched this game.

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