Luongo to break media silence, considered walking away from Canucks

Even with Roberto Luongo’s media silence, it’s not like the situation between the pipes this summer has been totally drama-free. Luongo fired his agent, but committed to joining Canucks camp in September. As it turns out, Luongo had gone to the NHLPA back in May to see if there was a way out of the remaining $40-million on his contract so he could get a fresh start in another market.

TSN has the exclusive with Luongo later today at 3 p.m., but NHL on TSN host James Duthie has already tweeted out a few choice details:

Again, we knew this the day that Luongo changed agents. Pat Brisson spoke on behalf of his client a month ago confirming that Luongo would be in camp. New bench boss John Tortorella has apparently talked to Luongo four times since being named coach, and I don’t think Luongo’s commitment can be questioned going into this season. Whether he likes it or not, he’s in Vancouver for now and he’s a fierce competitor and a hell of a hockey player. It would be completely out of character for him to mail in a season, even if the organization should have treated him better rather than jerking him around last year.

The money quote, I suspect. Not much of a takeaway from this, but illuminating, and come on, who hasn’t been there? It’s like the dozens of times I’ve assured myself I’ll quit drinking to excess.

Speaking of drinking to excess… you may remember that James Duthie attempted to get a hold of Luongo during TSN’s coverage on Draft Day, but Luongo declined to comment. This was all Duthie said on the broadcast on the matter:

Luongo is frankly in shock. He loved his time in Vancouver, but for the last 14 months he thought it was going to end so the divorce was kind of made in his mind. So at this point, he doesn’t want to do any interviews; we asked him to come on with us, but he’s just going to talk to his agent and evaluate his choices. 

Cory Schneider was also shocked. It was a turn of events that nobody expected.

And the key detail here. The Standard Player’s Contract is a little fuzzy on what’s to happen if a player decides to simply not show up to training camp. Last fall, Tim Thomas decided against going to Boston, and his salary counted against the cap until the team traded his hit to the New York Islanders for effectively nothing. Thomas didn’t retire, and made the decision to return to hockey this summer with his contract having expired.

The Canucks would have had the ability to terminate his contract, but the salary probably would have counted against the cap for this season, even if he didn’t have to be paid. I’m guessing the NHLPA advised him to not walk away from $40-million. Players walking away from unfavourable contracts is likely not something either the NHL or NHLPA want to encourage after we’ve just come out of a lockout.

UPDATE: As Twitter dot com’s Sir Canuckles points out, Thomas’s contract stayed on the books because of Thomas’ age when he signed the deal:


More details should be revealed during the full interview at 3 p.m. Pacific/6 p.m. Eastern.

  • antro

    Well this should be interesting…

    Although the NHLPA, like all unions, isn’t in the business of telling members to walk away from money, it’s a bit of a unique situation with the structure of the NHL.

    Player salaries are linked to revenues so Luongo getting less money simply means another player would get more money.

    Collectively, players still get 50% of HRR irrespective of how much money Lou gets.

    The termination of Luongo’s contract is a lot different than the termination of Alex Rodriguez’s contract, for example, because player salaries aren’t directly linked to revenues in MLB.

  • Fred-65

    I don’t get this. Are we really supposed to lament about Luongos happiness.

    Luongo negotiated this contract !

    His wife prefers to live cheek by jowl with her parents in Miami

    Luongo turned down ( Botchford ) to move to three other cities.

    and this means we should be bad for the dude.

    Hey man you,your agent ( of your choice) and your union were major players in this sordid situation, You weren’t unhappy 3-4 years ago in fact you were dancing with delight especially at the multi million you and your family would enjoy. Now it suits you to leave the impression this is all Vcr fault.

    Tell you what grow a pair and man up. We know it’s tough on your meagre salary but give it a try. Here’s me thinking Italians were the very meaning of machismo.

    • Fred-65

      I’m sorry, but who the heck cares where his wife chooses to live? So what is “home” to her is Miami, where her family is? Does that mean Luuongo is a bad goalie? I’ve seen this comment brought up before about Luongo, as if his wife’s living situation somehow reflects badly on Luongo as a person/player.

      I would also love to know where people are getting their info that she doesn’t live in Vancouver during the season. It seems like an rumour that has been assumed as fact.

    • Mantastic

      You start your post by addressing the reader.

      And in the last two paragraphs you are addressing Luongo directly.

      I must ask, why are you telling Luongo the rumours that Botchford reported?

      It makes for an awkward structure and transition.

      You’re not William Faulkner.

      You shouldn’t be shifting into different POV narratives as though you are.


      • Fred-65

        Hey I am who I choose not some abstract person you might bless 🙂

        This is not all about Luongo but pointing out that this is just as much his problem than any one else. He was happy in the good times but as we all know it’s not all good tims, you have to take the good with the bad. It’s not about his abilities which I admire but about you gotta take the good with the bad. I’m sure he’ll turn up and do his best, it also seems apprent he’d rather have walked away during the bad times.

        Hey I’d like to drive a Jaguar but I’m stuck with a mini van….I can handle that. No one steals my tires I can tell you likely because they proabably have better tires already 🙂

        Every one has problems, it’s how you handle them that counts. Most of all don’t try and shift the blame or shed crocodile tears

  • Fred-65

    If part 2 of this interview ends with Gillis repeating to Luongo “it’s not your fault” and tearfully embracing a la Robin Williams and Matt Damon, it will be a successful offseason.

  • Fred-65

    This keeps getting more bizarre. Luo kept his mouth shut the last 14 months, but now that he is the starter, it is time to chime in? Don’t know what the end game is for him? Stepping away from 40 mil??? That sounds like a lot of boasting to make himself seem like a pure… I’m a competitor, junk. Yes, Lou would have tossed 40 mil out the window to take a 3yr 10 mil deal from Florida! As absurd as Giliis was adoring the last 14 months, it’s obviously Lou’s time to put on the Jokers hat. Fact is that both sides have an out at the end of the season and if there is still petty drama going on, then pull the chute and let him walk. These types of comments will not endure you to Team Canada Luo

    • Fred-65

      It’s too bad Lou wasn’t bought out.

      I’d be curious to see what he would have received on the open market.

      My guess would be something like 1/6, 2/11 or 3/15 depending on the length of commitment he wanted.

      “These types of comments will not endure you to Team Canada Luo.”

      Luongo used to run his mouth a lot more prior to the 2010 Olympics than he does now.

      If Canadian management feels he is the best puckstopper, I assume they’re smart enough to ignore his comments.

      • Fred-65

        Once in a while I do agree MR NMOO… But in 2010, Luo supplanted his hero Martin Brodeur…… And Sir Martin had no problem with it in the press, just like Cujo had no problem with Martin taking the Team Canada job 4 yrs before. Ego has no place on Team Canada. 1998 in Nagano was the litmus test when we put all our heros out there and …..well the history books tell the story. Gretz has a gold medal in theory as a GM. Luo wants to prove himself to not Van but Canada? I, like every Canuck fan remembers Keslers US 2nd intermission speech about knowing Luo and that he is shakey! Lets just hope he is beyond the shakes ! For the Canucks and all The Canucks from the prairies to PIE… Losing in Russia would suck! We can all agree on that! Right?