PITB chats with Roberto Luongo about Twitter silence and Eddie’s readiness

Roberto Luongo hasn’t tweeted since the Canucks’ disastrous 6-1 loss to the Dallas Stars on March 6th, when he sent out a few mildly snarky missives sympathizing with Lack’s plight.

“There was a little mishap there,” said Luongo, “a little confusion on what I was tweeting. I think some people took it the wrong way.”

The main someone was Don Cherry, who lambasted Luongo on Coach’s Corner the following Saturday, telling him to “keep his mouth shut.” Is anyone surprised that Cherry badly misinterpreted Luongo’s tweets?

“There was no maliciousness behind those [tweets],” said Luongo. “It was mostly making fun of myself and I felt bad for Eddie that game. It was nothing about him or his play, I mostly felt bad for him the way the guys were playing in front of him.”

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When and where you can watch the Vancouver Canucks during the 2014 Olympics in Sochi

During the men’s hockey tournament at the Olympics, most Vancouver Canucks fans will be cheering for Team Canada, since most Canucks fans are Canadian. With that said, while fans generally side with their country, some loyalty still remains to the club, and many fans will want to keep an eye on the five Canucks players (and one prospect) playing for other countries.

Fortunately for those in Canada, almost every game of the men’s tournament will be televised live, with games featuring Team Canada getting replayed later in the day. It can, however, be tough to figure out exactly when these games will be and on what channel.

Thankfully for you, were here at Pass it to Zamuner have done the legwork for you. Here are all of the preliminary round games for Canada, USA, Sweden, Switzerland, and Latvia, along with the channel and time they will be shown in the Pacific timezone. Take a look to see when you will be waking up early, staying up late, or setting your PVR.

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The Paper Feature: Who’s to blame for Saturday’s line brawl? Roberto Luongo

The NHL was none too pleased with what transpired Saturday night when the Canucks played host to the Flames, and it’s difficult to blame them. On Hockey Night in Canada, on Hockey Day in Canada, Calgary vs. Vancouver looked more like Marvel vs. Street Fighter.

We’ll say the Canucks were Marvel, since they had the Iron Man. That would be Henrik Sedin, who was playing his 679th consecutive game. But by “playing”, I mean “attempting to drag his near-lifeless and wholly uncooperative body through”. Henrik was in the lineup despite what appeared to be full-body necrosis. Recognizing that his health bar was dangerously low, John Tortorella shut him down at the second intermission, and the Iron Man was no more.

And speaking of Tortorella, he was pretty clearly in superhero mode as well. After all, attempting to fight one’s way through a group of henchman to get at their boss is a very superhero thing to do.

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Canucks recall Joacim Eriksson from Utica; Luongo’s groin injury likely to keep him out of the lineup

It looks like Roberto Luongo’s groin didn’t heal up over the Christmas break, as the Vancouver Canucks have recalled goaltender Joacim Eriksson from the Utica Comets. This means the Canucks will be rolling with a goaltending tandem with a grand total of 11 games of NHL experience between them, all belonging to Eddie Lack.

This is obviously a concern, but one slightly lessened by Lack’s performance this season, particularly recently. The Stork has a .928 save percentage and a 1.93 goals against average this season and has allowed just 3 goals against total in his last 3 starts. John Tortorella hasn’t hesitated to start him against some tough opponents this season, such as the Blackhawks, Blues and Ducks.

Eriksson’s recent performance in Utica is also encouraging, though his overall statistics for the season are mediocre at best.

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The Paper Feature: Roberto Luongo used to be Mr. October

October has been notoriously hard on Roberto Luongo, which may be why he seemed so inspired during Saturday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, his first game in November. The Leafs repeatedly tried to go five-hole on him; he stopped every attempt for his second shutout of the season.

This season’s slow start in October wasn’t all that bad. Luongo survived the cursed month with a 7-4-1 record — not too shabby, all things considering — but he still got a few bumps and bruises along the way. There were long shots that somehow snuck through that Luongo would surely want back, not to mention that embarrassing own goal against the Montreal Canadiens.

Luongo is well aware of his October reputation, poking fun at his own foibles on his Twitter account. He posted a picture of the disastrous own goal, saying, “October wasn’t so bad after all…” with his typical self-deprecating sense of humour. Still, his October wasn’t particularly good.

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Breakdowning Lars Eller’s incredible shorthanded goal against the Canucks

The turning point of the 2010-11 season for the Canucks was their lowest moment, an embarrassing 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on November 20th after the Blackhawks had knocked them out of the playoffs two seasons in a row. The Canucks responded with a closed-door players’ meeting and, after losing a close one to the Phoenix Coyotes the next game, went on to win 18 of their next 22 games, including a statement 3-0 victory over the Blackhawks.

After that loss to the Blackhawks, the Canucks only lost 13 of their remaining 63 games, cruising to the first Presidents’ Trophy in franchise history, finishing ahead of the Washington Capitals by a whopping 10 points.

This season, the Canucks decided to get their low point out of the way early on Saturday night against the Montreal Canadiens. In front of a national Hockey Night in Canada audience, they scored one of the most bizarre and embarrassing own goals in NHL history. Now it’s time to break it down.

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Fearful symmetry: Schneider, Luongo, Tortorella, Vigneault all debut with three-goal loss

In a bit of fearful symmetry from Thursday night’s games, the key components of the two biggest stories of the Canucks’ off-season all lost by three goals in their first games with their new teams. Note that I’m including Vancouver as a new team for Roberto Luongo, because he was basically off the team before Cory Schneider got traded.

Opening night for the Canucks, Devils, and Rangers all fell on Thursday, so Luongo and Tortorella made their season debuts on the same night as their counterparts in New Jersey and New York.

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Will Roberto Luongo benefit from decreased equipment sizes for goaltenders?

In an effort to increase goalscoring, the NHL has changed the rules governing pad height for goaltenders heading into the 2013-14 season. The new rule affects the amount of pad allowed above the knee, with many goaltenders losing around 2 inches. Theoretically, this should make the five-hole four inches bigger.

Not all goaltenders will be affected the same way, however, as the measurement is dependent on the length of the goaltenders legs. Also, not all goaltenders took full advantage of the previous allowance and were already wearing shorter pads.

One of the goaltenders least affected by the rule change is Roberto Luongo, who told In Goal Magazine that he will only be losing half an inch from each pad. Will this give him an advantage over some other goaltenders this season?

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Roberto Luongo speaks to James Duthie, doesn’t talk about poker

On Tuesday, the Vancouver Sun’s own Iain Macintyre theorized on Twitter that Roberto Luongo would make a statement before Team Canada’s Olympic orientation camp. Without a clear statement from Luongo that he was returning to the Canucks, the media circus surrounding Luongo would surely overshadow the camp.

Sure enough, Luongo sat down with his good friend James Duthie at TSN to bring the saga to some sort of conclusion.

Really, there was little in the way of new information. We already knew that Luongo was coming to training camp and would honour his contract, which is all that really mattered. The only difference is that we got to hear it directly from Luongo. He also gave a little bit of insight into his state of mind over the last year, from not getting traded at the deadline to hearing that Cory Schneider was traded at the draft.

Unlike his previous interviews this off-season, Luongo didn’t say a word about poker, which will surely disappoint some of his fans. Right? No?

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Canucks fans and bloggers come together to serenade Roberto Luongo back to Vancouver [VIDEO]

Roberto Luongo has put up some pretty strong emotional walls around himself, which is understandable given how his off-season went completely off the rails when Mike Gillis traded Cory Schneider at the draft. The only thing we heard from Luongo was that he “needed some time,” which is a red flag in most relationships.

Of course the relationship was strained. We had spent a year insulting him, mistreating him, and seeing a younger goaltender on the side. It was only this last season that Canucks fans seemed to realize what they were about to be missing, as his stint as Cory Schneider’s backup seemed to rekindle the love affair Vancouver had with Luongo. Suddenly, we were all filled with regret, but there seemed to be nothing we could do about it. Luongo was gone and he was never coming back.

Schneider’s trade meant that we had a chance, however, and we needed one last grand gesture to show Luongo how we really feel. Like John Cusack in Say Anything, we turned to the power of music. Unlike John Cusack, we wrote our own dang song, because really, put some effort in, Cusack.

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Thieves make off with Roberto Luongo’s tires, leave him with useless tire pump

Nothing is going Roberto Luongo’s way this off-season. Instead of finally getting traded out of Vancouver to a place with less drama — say, The CW — he took his mind off his troubles at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. Unlike last year, when he finished in the money, Luongo busted out on the second day of the tournament, leaving empty-handed.

Fortunately he’s got that whole hockey thing to fall back on, except for the fact that he’s been tight-lipped about his potential return to the Canucks next season, leaving many fans nervous. Personally, I’m not too concerned, as Luongo’s had other things on his mind, like his brother’s wedding in Montreal last week.

He returned Monday to his home in Florida, likely hoping that the rest of the off-season would be quiet and uneventful.

Of course, since it’s Luongo, that’s impossible. He woke up this morning to find that thieves had stolen all four tires from his SUV. Seriously, this guy has no luck.

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How will the 2014 Olympics affect Roberto Luongo’s performance for the Canucks?

Now that it seems safe to say that Roberto Luongo will be showing up at training camp next season — wait, it is safe to say now, right? Did I just invoke some sort of jinx that will keep this nonsense going for another few months? — we can start to look at what that season will look like.

Some suggest that the only reason Luongo will return to the Canucks next season is because he wants the starting job for Team Canada at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. While Luongo has the edge for the number one role after winning gold at the 2010 Olympics, his inconsistent performance during the turbulent 2013 season means his position isn’t all that secure. In order to cement his spot, he’ll need to perform well during the first couple months of the 2013-14 season and, in order to perform well, he’ll need to have a team to perform for.

All of this has Canucks fans excited about the prospect of a motivated Luongo, eager to prove he’s ready to repeat with Team Canada. It also has some other fans worried about how the extra workload will affect his performance after the Olympics. Looking back at 2010, there appears to be some cause for concern.

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Roberto Luongo, Play Now Poker troll everyone by ‘talking hockey’, sort of [VIDEO]

Poker questions only, Play Now Poker insisted when they solicited asks for Roberto Luongo last Friday. Yeah, good luck with that. It quickly became apparent that the questions most had for Luongo were only tangentially related to poker.

That in mind, Play Now has decided to give the people what they so clearly want. On Tuesday, they released a video in which the questions put to Luongo are finally hockey-related. You’re welcome, masses! Of course, they’re not the hockey questions you’re thinking of. Instead, we get questions that are now only tangentially related to hockey — pablum like Who do you think is the best hockey player of all-time? and Who on the Canucks would be the best candidate for The Bachelor? (The answer: Higgins, because abs.)

Sure, it’s a step in the right direction, but this is pretty clearly Play Now and Luongo firing back at those of us that inundated their Twitter Q&A with snark. And in case it wasn’t clear that they’re trolling everyone, the first question is about Draft Day.

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Roberto Luongo gives first interview since Schneider trade; it’s about poker

Roberto Luongo has been silent since Cory Schneider was traded to the New Jersey Devils at last weekend’s NHL Draft. But on Monday morning, the silence was finally broken, as Luongo appeared on CFOX’s Jeff O’Neil show.

Just as he was at this time last year, Roberto Luongo is currently in Las Vegas at the World Series of Poker (which, if you’re reading this, Mike Gillis, explains why he’s not answering his door in Florida, so you can knock it off with the romantically stubborn gesture of sleeping on the step like Zach Braff in The Last Kiss). O’Neil and his compatriots caught up with Luongo there, chatting with him Friday night in a private suite.

Fair warning: while Luongo does technically break his silence in the sense that he, you know, says words, very few of those words give us any insight into his plans for the fall. But if you’re a fan of Luongo the poker player, you now know that his plans for the summer include doing poker good.

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Play Now Poker asks for Luongo poker questions via Twitter, hilarity ensues

It’s been five days since Mike Gillis surprised everyone, including his goaltenders, by trading Cory Schneider instead of Roberto Luongo. Luongo has yet to speak to the media about the trade, only telling James Duthie that he was shocked and needed some time to “consider his options.”

That has Canucks fans freaking out, worrying that Luongo will refuse to return to the Canucks, leaving the team without a starting goaltender heading into the 2012-13 season. It seems doubtful that it will come to that, but Luongo’s silence has everyone on edge.

Into this tense environment stepped @PlayNowPoker, who is sponsoring Luongo’s entry into the World Series of Poker that is taking place this weekend. Luongo is currently refusing live interviews, clearly wanting to avoid any questions about hockey, but Play Now Sports clearly wants to use Luongo’s celebrity to promote their brand. Their solution? Soliciting questions on Twitter, specifically asking for “poker questions” in hopes of avoiding an onslaught of Canucks-related queries.

Unsurprisingly, that didn’t work, as Canucks fans flooded the hashtag #AskLuongo with questions cleverly (and not-so-cleverly) disguised as poker-related. We’ve collected the best of the bunch.

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Sober second thoughts on Cory Schneider’s trade to the New Jersey Devils

If the Vancouver Canucks’ plan was to quell the surge of negativity that began to surround Roberto Luongo after 2011, and somehow redirect public opinion squarely back into his corner, then the events of Sunday afternoon were the final, remarkable moments in one of the most brilliantly orchestrated long cons in the history of the game.

When the Canucks’ goaltending disaster finally saw its coup de grace and it turned out to be not Luongo on the way out but Cory Schneider getting an Amtrak ticket to Newark, nearly everyone in Vancouver saw Luongo as the pitiable victim of a raw deal.

That he completely is. And considering the last two years have been a raw deal borne of another raw deal — his contract — this thing is three raw deals deep. That’s a raw deal with a capital R, like The Score’s broadcast contract with the WWE.

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Spitballin’ on Kassian’s favourite snack, Ballard’s patience, and Booth’s new Twitter account

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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If a Roberto Luongo trade fails to materialize, will he do the same at Canucks’ training camp?

After a year in which the goaltending situation was, at the very least, super awkward, it’s no secret that the Canucks have to trade Roberto Luongo this summer.

It’s become Mike Gillis’s biggest boondoggle as a General Manager. The biggest obstacle isn’t necessarily even Luongo’s contract; it’s Gillis’s insistence on getting fair value in return for the beleaguered goaltender.

Luongo’s contract really isn’t as onerous as it seems and I suspect that most GMs around the league know it. A cap hit of $5.3 million is pretty reasonable for the quality of goaltending that Luongo provides year after year. But NHL GMs also love a bargain and the situation in Vancouver has them thinking they can get something for nothing. In their minds, Gillis needs to get rid of Luongo more than they need to acquire him.

So, when it was suggested that the New York Islanders might be interested in acquiring Luongo, some suggested that all Vancouver would get in return is Rick DiPietro, who the Canucks would then buy out. Now, if the Canucks got something else in return (say, a prospect like Nino Niederreiter or Brock Nelson), then that trade makes sense for the Canucks. Otherwise, it’s insanity. At that point, the Canucks may as well just buy out Luongo for a little bit more and not run the risk of the new CBA’s “Luongo rule” coming back to bite them.

That the idea that the Canucks would take DiPietro — and only DiPietro — back in a trade for Luongo was even raised as a serious possibility speaks volumes about what the media thinks of the Canucks’ situation. That’s when Darren Dreger chimed in to make the Canucks seem even more desperate, suggesting that if Luongo doesn’t get traded, he won’t even report to training camp.

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Jimmy Fallon calls Roberto Luongo ‘Count Chocula’, has no clue how to pronounce his name [VIDEO]

It’s the NHL playoffs, which means it’s time for television newscasters and personalities who haven’t the first clue about hockey to start pretending like they care about the NHL. This is particularly true for those on NBC, the American rights holder for the NHL.

Poor Jimmy Fallon was clearly asked by his bosses at NBC to work the NHL into his show on Monday night. Games have already been shown on NBC Sports Network and CNBC, but the main channel will start showing games starting on Saturday, May 18th, and clearly want to build some buzz. Fallon has shown an ability to create some virality in the past and NBC hoped he’d do the same for the NHL playoffs.

One problem: it’s not that Fallon doesn’t know the first thing about hockey — he doesn’t know the second, third, or fourth thing either. One of those things he doesn’t know is how to pronounce the names of any hockey player with a name more complicated than “Ryan.” Fallon worked the NHL into one of his existing bits — Late Night Superlatives — with simultaneously hilarious and horribly awkward results.

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Roberto Luongo’s condo is for sale, will likely be easier to move than he is

Roberto Luongo showed a great deal of patience this season amidst all the drama of the soap opera in Vancouver’s crease, and yes, it is a soap opera. Recently, Thomas Drance suggested that its long, long, long running time made it more epic than soap, but clearly, the dude needs to brush up on his daytime dramas. “The Young and the Restless” has been running since February 4, 1980, and the feud between Jill Foster Abbott and Katherine Chancellor has been going on for pretty much that entire time.

A rivalry that never seems to end? That sounds about right for this analogy.

Anyway. Like I was saying, apart from a few moments where he seemed on the verge of flipping a table — like, say, just after the trade deadline, which is likely why the Canucks made him do that presser standing up with no table in sight — Luongo has shown some remarkable serenity in the face of a decidedly unserene situation.

But he won’t be doing that again. Funny Bob has no intention of sticking around for another season of The Young Goalie and the Restless Goalie, and in case that wasn’t entirely clear, his Vancouver condo is for sale.

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Bonus hardware! Handing out the real end-of-year Canucks team awards

The Vancouver Canucks handed out their team awards on Thursday night prior to their lacklustre effort against the Anaheim Ducks. Henrik Sedin took home the Cyrus H. McLean award as the Canucks’ leading scorer and will keep it unless Daniel manages to score 6 points on Saturday against the Oilers without Henrik getting any.

Dan Hamhuis deservedly won the Babe Pratt award for best defenceman, Cory Schneider understandably won the Cyclone Taylor award as the team’s MVP, and Jannik Hansen simultaneously had his praises sung as the team’s Most Exciting Player and was named the team’s unsung hero with the Fred J. Hume award.

That just doesn’t seem like enough awards, so we put together seven more:

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Cory Schneider day-to-day after hurting his undisclosed; Roberto Luongo draws in

For much of this season, the primary talking point about the Vancouver Canucks has been the soap opera in their crease, where they have the champagne problem of two number one goalies, and the actual problem of only being allowed to start one at a time.

As a result, it’s been a rough year for Roberto Luongo. The whole thing reached a zenith at the NHL trade deadline when nothing happened, which was, in and of itself, a pretty big happening. You’ll recall an emotional Luongo saying some fairly quotable things about his pernicious contract before taking a deep breath and resigning himself to spending the rest of the season as the backup.

And that’s where Season 1 of The Young Goalie and the Restless Goalie ended, with Season 2 scheduled for the instant the postseason comes to a close, because there couldn’t possibly be another twist in this saga until — hold on, what’s that now?

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On Darren Dreger and the Canucks’ real trade deadline asking price for Roberto Luongo

The real story of the trade deadline was the trades that weren’t made, particularly when it came to two big-name goaltenders in the Northwest Division. Both Miikka Kiprusoff and Roberto Luongo were rumoured to be heading to the Toronto Maple Leafs at various points throughout the day. Neither did.

The attitudes of the two goaltenders as rumours swirled couldn’t have been more different. Kiprusoff simply didn’t want to be traded. He might even retire in the off-season. Luongo clearly wanted nothing more than to be traded so that he could start playing hockey again, leading to one of the most honest and blunt press conferences in recent memory.

So why, exactly, didn’t Luongo get traded? Luongo himself seemed to think that it was because of his contract, while Mike Gillis said it wasn’t a stumbling block and that discussions have centred around picks and players. Exactly what picks and players is unclear, though one particular rumour quickly spread after the trade deadline had passed. Darren Dreger initially reported that the Canucks were looking to acquire Ben Scrivens and two second round draft picks in return for Roberto Luongo, a report that was echoed by Pierre LeBrun, Jason Botchford, and Kevin McGran, among others.

Dreger appeared on TSN 1050 on Monday, however, and threw a big ol’ wrench into the works, apparently revealing what the Canucks were originally seeking in a trade with the Leafs and throwing his original report into doubt in the process.

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Unraveling the seeming contradictions in Luongo and Gillis’s post-deadline press conferences

Roberto Luongo’s press conference on Wednesday was fascinating, yielding the delightful, and sure to be misinterpreted, soundbite “My contract sucks.” But the more interesting aspect for me came later in the press conference, when he was asked whether he could have made it easier for the Canucks to trade him.

Luongo flatly denied that he was ever asked to waive his no trade clause and never vetoed any trades, contradicting rumours and reports that have been floating around since the 2012 draft that the Canucks had a deal in place with the Maple Leafs, only to have it scuttled by Luongo exercising his contractual right to scuttle it.

It also seemed to contradict what Mike Gillis had to say about 20 minutes later. A closer look at what the two of them actually said and in what context, however, should clear up the contradictions.

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Examining the Canuck winners and losers of the 2013 trade deadline

It wasn’t a terrible NHL trade deadline for the Canucks. After all, they acquired Derek Roy, a skilled player that adds a very important element to their attack: a centre. They really haven’t had one of those all season.

Still, the 2013 trade deadline won’t be remembered in this city for what Mike Gillis did — it will be remembered for what he didn’t do. A big part of that is because he acquired Roy the day before the deadline, which is like giving a child a present on Christmas Eve. It’s exciting, but there had damn well better be something else under the tree on Christmas. But a bigger part is because Roberto Luongo wasn’t traded, leading to the the most indelible moment of the deadline, when Luongo told the world he had a sucky contract. That’ll stay with us, just like Luongo will.

All of this in mind, let’s take a look at the winners and losers of the deadline from a Vancouver perspective.

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