Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Roberto Luongo's Load Out from Vancouver

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When the day finally came, pretty well everyone, including the principle was surprised, as the long running soap opera that has been the Vancouver Canucks finally brought to a close the most uncomfortable period of recent Canucks history.

Roberto Luongo, is gone, delivered his wish of a trade at mid-afternoon, just after his afternoon pre game nap. A nap for which there would be no game, just a plane to catch and new start at a familiar location, as the most discussed goaltender in Vancouver Canucks history took his leave.

His twitter feed told it all, a short, symbol, no words signifying that Vancouver's now former goal tender was set to return to the land of South Beach, the sun, the surf, the championships... well, maybe he's a basketball fan...

For Luongo the move is about the best outcome he could have hoped for, short of a stint with a Stanley Cup contender, but he held the cards and could dictate his destination.

With his preferred choice, a return to Florida, the very same team that sent him to Vancouver in 2006, trading a Stanley Cup possibility for a little familiarity and after two tumultuous years, a lot of stability.

The Panthers now suddenly flush in cash it appears (if rather light in season ticket holders), decided to bring him back to where he probably will be the most comfortable. Offering their fans  evidence that they are making serious strides to improve their product, while at the same time have the Canucks on the hook for a fair hunk of the now legendary Canuck contract.

A nice deal for the Panthers to a fashion, though having an A list goalie with a team of young learners may make for an interesting night at the rink. Leaving open we imagine the prospect of more change to come on Wednesday and in the off season.

What it brings to the Canucks? Well that's why they have no shortage of open line sports programs to listen to in British Columbia. An ornery group of participants who clearly don't believe that the deal was a blockbuster solution to the Canucks' current woes.

Arriving to take up the charge for the playoffs for the Canucks will be Jacob Markstrom and Shawn Matthias, heading off to the Panthers at some time in his future, will be Steven Anthony who was the final name on the notice of today's trade shocker.

The theories of what finally brought this trade to a close are many, conspiracy buffs with a whole new theme to work on for the next little while. As all consider the many options as to what was the final straw?

For many, the Heritage Day Classic snub was the pivotal break point in the logjam, with the reaction of the 50,000 plus at BC Place clearly indicating that Mike Gillis was going to find a pretty uncomfortable two months of homestretch hockey after John Tortorella's decision to play Eddie Lack on Sunday.

The analysts of the Sports networks of Canada wove the talking point that Luongo's agent Pat Brisson, apparently tired of watching his client suffer the dis-respect of the organization, took matters into his own hands and brokered the deal between the Panthers and Canucks.

Which if true, should qualify him for some kind of consultation feed one would hope and perhaps an opportunity to move on to the United Nations and a chance to solve some of the world's other trouble spots.

Or at least to host a get to know you luncheon for Luongo and his new team mate... Tim Thomas, maybe we'll hold off on the Nobel Prize for a few days yet after all.

Regardless of the timeline of events and how they transpired, the relief for Luongo must be exhilarating.

The Canucks of course, will be looking at the financial room his departure provides for future growth (even with a reported 15 percent coverage of Luongo's contract with Florida)

Our musical selection atop our piece signifies the nature of the day, a melancholy farewell to a popular player, the best in the nets by statistics that the Canucks ever had.

But like every great show, the time comes for the band to Load Out and move on, the crowd may have wanted him to stay, stay just a little bit longer... but surely know that wasn't to be.

Luongo had after all won over the Canucks fan base through his class and dedication to a team that clearly, at least in the managerial and ownership ranks that wasn't quite as dedicated to him.

Canucks fans will wish him well as he moves on with his career in Panther colours.

Turning their attention now to  the very confusing state of the Canucks and where they go in the post Luongo years and to who will be remain behind (Ryan Kesler perhaps awaiting Wednesday with more interest than most) to share that slogan of "We Are All Canucks"...

Vancouver Province-- Roberto Luongo traded to Florida Panthers
Vancouver Province-- In the blink of an eye, an era is over
Vancouver Province-- The Luongo Van Provies: We bid adieu to class
Vancouver Province-- Luongo trade the first act in the Canucks' return to respectability
Vancouver Province-- Luongo caught off guard, but Panthers deal was in the works for two years.
Vancouver Province-- The long, long road of Roberto Luongo
Vancouver Sun-- Roberto Luongo's 'great run' in Vancouver over ... as is Canucks'
Vancouver Sun-- Roberto Luongo saga ends badly for Canucks
Vancouver Sun-- Florida Panthers delighted to get Roberto Luongo
Vancouver Sun-- Canucks fans: Meet the new guys
Georgia Straight-- Vancouver Canucks trade Roberto Luongo to FLorida
National Post-- Canucks trade 'stunned' Roberto Luongo to Panthers
Globe and Mail-- Luongo heads back to Florida after Canucks deal net minder to Panthers
Toronto Sun-- Thomas with the zinger of the NHL trade deadline on Luongo
Toronto Sun-- Roberto Luongo to Panthers highlights flurry of NHL trades
Toronto Sun-- Canucks GM Gillis to blame for bad Luongo, Schneider deals
Toronto Sun-- Luongo drama finally ends with trade from Canucks to Panthers
Toronto Star-- Roberto Luongo deal headlines wild day of NHL goalie trades
USA Today-- Canucks deal Roberto Luongo to Panthers
Miami Herald-- Florida Panthers acquire Roberto Luongo - again
Miami Herald-- Dale Tallon Talks About Luongo Deal, Effect on Tim Thomas, Scott Clemmensen
Miami Herald-- Panthers Get Roberto Luongo Back, Tim Thomas Florida Future Decided Soon
Miami Herald-- Roberto Luongo speaks to Media Following Trade Back to Florida Panthers

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