Disclaimer: Due to some miscommunication between the editors and myself, this interview is being posted a few months after it was conducted. Hopefully, this will put things into perspective and remind everyone about all of the fun times we got to experience before the NHL came back. [Editor’s Note: Guilty as charged. We lost track of this piece during the dark days of the lockout. And the dog ate our homework.]
It’s been a tough past few months for hockey folk of all sorts. The ongoing NHL lockout has many fans and players feeling uncertain about the future of the league and left them scrambling for ways to get their hockey fix. Some fans have turned to other hockey sources to hold them over, such as the AHL, NCAA hockey, and beyond. Several players looking to stay in shape have crossed the pond to play in European leagues. One player, however, has taken a sdifferent approach to his time off.
Roberto Luongo, currently of the Vancouver Canucks, has had quite an interesting offseason. He visited Las Vegas to participate in the World Series of Poker, he was linked to a whole slew of teams about a possible trade, and he is unemployed due to the aforementioned lockout. He has also played a vital role in Wyatt Arndt’s Fake Canucks season, where he “battles” young netminder Eddie Lack for the “start” of each fake game.
Sponsored by the online betting company “PlayNow,” Luongo flew to Las Vegas where he squared off against many other poker aficionados for a chance to win some big time money. If you’ve paid any attention to hockey this past year, you probably know that his name has been spit out of the rumor mill time and time again. The proverbial hot stove was particularly ablaze over the summer, where his name had been linked to teams such as Toronto, Columbus, Tampa Bay, Edmonton, Florida, and even…Chicago. The three-time Vezina nominee was generous enough to spend a few moments to answer a some questions for me via twitter.
MS: I appreciate the time, given your commitments with the fake Canucks season and all.
RL: No problem, I am really focused on a great fake season. That’s all we have! For now.
MS: What have you done to occupy yourself during the lockout so far?
RL: Been keeping my summer training going and mostly been a dad which is something that I don’t have as much time for during the season.
MS: How is this lockout different from the first?
RL: This one is a little harder to wrap your head around considering how the revenues in the league has evolved since the last lockout.
MS: Each day brings more bad news, either one side refusing to negotiate, games being cancelled, etc.
RL: I hope not but that is hard to say cause nobody knows what is the NHL’s agenda right now.
MS: With all of the uncertainty with the season, what about playing overseas at all?
RL: Not really at the moment because like I said before, I’m really enjoying time with my kids, who knows what the future holds?
MS: Lots of trade chatter about you. How will it feel to walk back into the Canucks’ locker room again?
RL: I would feel totally normal. I’m good friends with lots of guys on the team. I have) lots of respect for management and coaching.
MS: And what about the city of Vancouver as a whole?
RL: One of the greatest cities in the world to live in. Great hockey market too.
MS: Would you anticipate a warm reception from the fans as well as the city?
RL: No idea, bud. I’m sure there will be mixed reactions.
MS: Last question. Is there anything more terrifying than David Booth with a loaded weapon?
RL: David Booth with a hockey stick.
MS: Ha! Thanks. I appreciate you taking the time today.
RL: No problem, bud.
As a Blackhawks fan, I’m supposed to despise anything affiliated with the province of British Columbia. I understand this responsibility and for the most part, live it. However, as blasphemous as this may sound, I have grown to be quite fond of the Italian-Canadian netminder. Before all of you Blackhawks fans try me for treason, please consider the following; He’s genuinely funny, he’s had some tremendous seasons, he takes everything in stride, and he has played a tremendous role in some of the Blackhawks’ most recent successes. Did I mention he takes everything in stride?
Whether his future consists of donning a disfigured orca, a maple leaf or even an Indianhead, I wish him the best of luck and I know he’ll thrive wherever he ends up.