As the Roberto Luongo saga has dragged on (and on, and on), and the prospect of the Canucks returning their two star goaltenders has become increasingly more likely, we’ve taken some time out to note that Luongo’s and Schneider’s good-will has enabled Mike Gillis to wait for the right trade. But at some point, things will come to a head, right? I mean these are two fiercely competitive goaltenders who deserve to get the bulk of the starts for some NHL club…
Well as it turns out, that "aura of good-will" may just have an expiration date. Here’s a good pull from Sporting News editor and "Friend of the Blog" Sean Gentille:
If the Vancouver Canucks hold on to Roberto Luongo, it’ll likely help them succeed in the short season. Sporting News’ Jesse Spector and Canucks Army’s Cam Charron lay out the reasons behind that theory well enough.
Luongo, on the trade block currently and for the last several months, is cool with that. What he doesn’t want to do, though, is stick with Vancouver beyond the 48-game 2013 schedule.
Roberto Luongo could well wind up playing 2013 in Vancouver, after all. "I’m willing to stay here this season because it will be short. But I do not want to stay here long term," Luongo told RDS.ca, according to a translation of the story, which originally appeared in French.
In case you suspect that something may have been lost in translation here, here’s the quote as it appears in French on the RDS site:
“Non. Je suis prêt à rester ici cette saison parce qu’elle sera courte. Mais je ne veux pas rester ici à long terme.”
Well then. Click past the jump for more.
Here’s why I find this quote so interesting. At this point, Mike Gillis and the Canucks are smack dab in the middle of a rather delicate balancing act. The team has needs on the Luongo front that are superficially contradictory to one another: on the one hand, they want us (and potential suitors) to know that the market for Luongo is as hot as Mike Gillis said it was this week. On the other hand, they also need potential trade partners to think they’re happy to keep Luongo indefinitely, otherwise how do you convince a rival club to pay full price for Luongo’s services? Luongo’s comments to RDS kind of contradict that latter part, huh?
There’s one other morsel I’ll throw out there. I caught Pierre LeBrun on That’s Hockey yesterday on TSN (actually if you follow that link and watch the video labelled "Touching Base" you can catch the full segment), and he was saying that "talks are on hold" and that a trade between the Maple Leafs and the Canucks for Luongo looks increasingly less likely because the teams can’t seem to agree on the price. LeBrun indicated that the Canucks are standing firm on their request for a top-prospect as well as as an NHL roster player which would match up well with Gillis’ recent comments on the matter (via Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun):
“We’re at a point with this team where we want specific types of players coming back to us that can help us today and down the road,” Gillis explained. “I think that’s a reasonable request so we’re going to stick to it.”
So… Anyone else beginning to get the sense that Luongo really might start the season in Vancouver after all? Or alternatively, have we reached that weird stage in negotiations where everyone pretends to walk away from the table, only to execute a deal in quick order? Let me put this bluntly: I really have no fucking idea at this point.