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Photo Credit: © Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

WWYDW: Roberto Luongo

There usually isn’t much news to dissect in mid-August, but a story with a Canucks connection did come down the wire on Monday morning, as the Florida Panthers announced they would be retiring Roberto Luongo’s number on March 7, 2020 at a ceremony preceding a game against the Montreal Canadiens.

The announcement sparked a debate among Canucks fans as to whether or not the home team should do the same. After all, Luongo is the most decorated goaltender in Canucks history, he played many of his best years in Vancouver, and is a sure-fire hall-of-famer. At the same time, his relationship to the city of Vancouver was fraught at times, eventually demanding a trade and retiring in South Florida, leaving the Canucks with $3 million in cap recapture penalties. The Canucks also already have an awful lot of retired numbers for a team with zero championship rings, so there isn’t exactly a lot of room for his jersey in the rafters.

Would you retire Roberto Luongo’s number?

Last week I asked: Who would you like to see play with Boeser and Pettersson?

chris16w:

I’d like to see them balance their finishers, playmakers, toughness, and defense throughout the lineup. The potential problem with putting Miller with Petey & Bo on line 1 is that it could leave you with a Ferland-Horvat-Pearson second line where neither player would excel at setting up their linemates. I see both Petey and Bo as playmakers, and both are prone to getting bullied by opponents, so I think you put Ferland with them to finish their setups and “make space” for them. Hopefully Ferland also inspires Bo not to shy away from contact and defense as often as he has.

Hockey Bunker: 

Put Ferland there for puck retrieval, driving the net and to cause havoc with opposing D who we want more concerned with being hit by him than they are with where Petey and Brock are going. Also Ferland should help cut down on any abuse Petey gets. But one piece of advice for EP, stop doing that “death stare” at thee opposing bench. It is the type of thing that invites retaliation. If I was playing against you and you did that, i’d punch you in the face first chance I got. Disrespectful and not cool at all.

Robson Street:

Leivo. Fixing the first line is walking into a trap: Pettersson Boeser Leivo is one of the few lines/pairings that were not a going concern last year, along with Rousell and Horvat.

Construct a third line you can actually play (Pearson Miller Ferland?), then bolster Bo’s line, then worry about the rest.

Defenseman Factory:

There has been a lot of discussion of whether it should be Ferland or Miller on a line with Petey and Brock.

I think the two best suited to play together are Miller and Pettersson. Keep in mind Miller is the same size as Ferland, a better passer and has stronger puck possession stats. Miller plays with an edge. He has a long list of scraps on his resume and although not as skilled a pugilist as Ferland he isn’t shy about dropping the mitts when the time comes. Miller seems the best suited to work a cycle game with Pettersson.

Boeser’s strongest skill is as a shooter. I’m not advocating he move off Petersson’s wing but with two very strong forecheckers like Ferland and Horvat he could be that line’s finisher.

One of Baertschi, Goldobin or Pearson could take Petersson’s other wing and make that line a puck possession machine.

Riley Miner:

stick luigi aqullini on pettersson’s wing to open and play him on every line without water or rest until he’s gotten 15 goals

  • The Canucks also already have an awful lot of retired numbers for a team with zero championship rings, so there isn’t exactly a lot of room for his jersey in the rafters.

    They have four, soon to be six. Actually seven, as Gretzky’s number is retired for all NHL teams. This is about avrage for the league as a whole. So I wouldn’t call it an awful lot, but it’s near the limit of what seems desirable for a team that has never won a Stanley Cup.

    The Florida Panthers have never retired a player’s number apart from Gretzky. Luongo — one of the best goalies of all time — would be a fine start. Let them do it.

    • If the team had some Cups to celebrate, I would agree, but to have 6 retired numbers without any is a little excessive, and certainly should give pause to add any more. Only one Cupless team, the Sabres, has more retired numbers, and one of those (Tim Horton) was done as more of a memorial gesture than to reflect his performance with the team. We don’t want to be tied with the Sabres on that. (The Blues have also been a little retirement happy, but are now off the hook for it based on the “Cup winner” criterion, and also have a number, Bob Gassoff, retired for memorial reasons.) The Canucks are also set to be the team with the most non-Hall of Famers with retired numbers, though there’s a good chance the Sedin twins take themselves off that list in a few years.

      I don’t necessarily disagree with any of the Canucks’ jersey retirements (Bure, 4 captains and the other Sedin twin), but it’s time to slow the pace until the team wins the Cup, in my opinion.

    • No chance he should get his number retired. First, he was good here, but not great. Not once was he in the conversation for a vezina or even close to being considered for an all star game. During the cup run, he was almost never considered as a Conne Smythe candidate, and had several meltdown games.
      Also, he wasn’t here that long and he asked to be traded.

    • I believe that any player from the Canucks that makes into the Hall of Fame should have his jersey retired. The actual number of jerseys already retired shouldn’t be an issue and, in many cases, winning the Stanley Cup can be a matter of being in the right place at the right time but making it into the Hall represents a career of excellence. Luongo was a Canuck for eight years and was the best goalie in the team’s history. I don’t believe the Canucks should rush out to retire his jersey but wait until he’s inducted into the Hall of Fame.

    • I don’t blame Luongo for that. He gave up $3.6 million in salary by retiring, for which he would have had to do absolutely nothing. So either he considered it unethical to go on the LTIR for three years when he had no intention of returning, or he didn’t want to delay his well-deserved entry into the hall of fame, or perhaps both. I can understand that.

      Want to blame someone, blame Bettman. Or Vancouver for signing a 12-year contract.

      • Blame Bettman!
        Again, there was nothing illegal about the contract, just found a way to manipulate the rules! Retroactively punishing is juvenile! I’m taking my cap space and going home.
        Lou deserved to retire and get the send off. LTIR just doesn’t have the same ring

  • Teams get in trouble retiring jerseys of players that aren’t HOF caliber, but Lou is! There are a lot of players from 2011 that deserve to have their jerseys hung in the rafters, but The Twins and Lou are at the top

  • That’s what the ring of honor is for, no? That’s where I’d put Luongo. Also, quietly discourage anyone but the next franchise goalie from wearing #1 moving forward.

  • The fact that this is even a question is ludicrous. 8 years, 367 wins, 2.36 GAA and a .919 SV% with the Canucks. Top ten in most all-time goalie stats. He’s not Sundin or Messier jetting in for a few games or a season. The only other Canuck goalie who comes even close in team service is McLean. And for this Luongo deserves Ring of Honour? Please. A Stanley Cup cannot possibly be the standard on which a number retirement is based, simply because many marginal players have a ring (some multiples) and many outstanding players have never had a Cup (Perreault, Stastny, Sittler, Dionne, Gartner, list goes on and on). And we’re going to rag on the cap recapture? Bure and Naslund didn’t exactly leave in a blaze of glory. This shouldn’t be a debate. We’re spoiled brats to even consider NOT retiring this number.

    • You make reasonable arguments why Luongo’s number should be retired but reasonable arguments can be made for many players. Draw the line. What elevates a player to the status of having his number retired? The standard should hold up against an original 6 team without forcing them way into triple digits for current jersey numbers.

      I’m not sure where the line should be but if I was drawing it Naslund and Bure would not have crossed it. I wouldn’t put Luongo across the line either but he would be closer because of his contributions to Team Canada.

      • I honestly don’t understand the double standard with Luongo. It feels like so many blame him for losing the cup in 2011, but if so why not hold Linden responsible for 1994 or Smyl for 1982? We are debating whether or not a goalie who statistically is in the top 10 (top 5 in quite a few) categories in the NHL (all time!) deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. A guy who provided elite (not just top) goaltending for us during his time here and helped along with the Sedins the Canucks to be a dominant force for a decade — not the flash of good luck of 1982 for King Richard’s streak or the one outstanding season and one great playoffs that Kirk McLean gave. The WCE years were doomed by terrible goaltending; Luongo gave us the chance to become what we were for a decade. From ’06-’12 he gave us 30+ wins a season — it’s not just that he’s a top ten goalie in NHL history, he fashioned that history almost entirely here given how terrible both the Florida and Islanders teams he’s been on have been. I loved the Steamer and I love Linden but come on, neither is in the top 100 of forwards in NHL history. Bure is and deserves to be on the basis of his talent and production but Naslund is iffy at best.

        There are many reasons we might retire a number — being an amazing captain like Linden or Smyl, being a pure talent like Bure, winning a ton of cups if you’re on some other teams. I can see all kinds of reasons we might NOT retire the numbers of actually all of the players we have done so with already — but not Luongo or the Sedins. We lucked into generational players but somehow seem strangely unwilling to reward them with what should be obvious.

        • I don’t really understand the dislike for Luongo either. He was a great goalie for the Canucks and had several great seasons for them. The stats I’ve looked at have him outside the top 10 all time in SV% and that stat isn’t available for the old time greats. He ranks 45th in career GAA. He is 3rd all time in wins.

          It wouldn’t bother me much if his number was retired but I just think the bar should be higher.

          • Fair enough — I think though it’s hard to sometimes rate across eras given the different styles and competition. I just think internally it’s hard to deny Luongo and the Sedins versus some of the others and I don’t think a Cup should be the standard. I agree with you that Bure and Naslund wouldn’t have made my list either (I mean my favorite Canuck growing up was Thomas Gradin and I’d never think he’s number-retirement worthy — nor Edler, the other 23)

        • Smyl, he embodied what being a Canuck was. Lead the team in goals, assist and PIM’s !! he put his body on the line EVERY game!!!. Linden , 1994, are you kidding me he played those finals with broken ribs, they reported at the time you could hear him scream as they injected pain killer pre-games and after the game when the pain killers wore off. Heck in one game he had his nose broke twice, he was a marked man. That guy did everything and more in those finals. Luongo chose to party the night before the finals …. there’s a difference in my mind. I’m not sure if you’ve had damaged ribs but it’s not good

    • Sure, but for how many of those players could you legitimately say that their best performance was for a different team than the one that retired their number? Perreault’s is retired as a Sabre, Sittler’s as a Leaf, Dionne’s as a King, Gartner’s as a Capital, Stastny’s as a Nordique. Luongo played parts of 8 years as a Canuck and parts of 11 as a Panther, and his individual statistics as a Panther were better than those as a Canuck.

      This isn’t Luongo bashing, he’s undeniably the best goalie in franchise history and a fairly clear Hall of Famer, and I don’t blame him for the recapture thing either. But the fact that he’s going to go down as a Panther first, Canuck second has to factor into the number retirement decision.

      I don’t know how “spoiled brats” factors into anything. Does the franchise “owe” anything to Luongo? He was well-compensated for many years and revered by the fans, even as the media treated him questionably (and if he thinks he’s the worst-treated athlete in Vancouver or any other major market, then he’s the spoiled brat).

      I would also say that if any player’s retirement were to be disputed, it would probably be either Bure or Naslund. I loved both players, but the acrimony between the former and the club during their separation has to taint things a little (and it clearly did, since it took 15 years after his last game for the team for his number to go up). Naslund just aged more than anything, as he didn’t leave on an especially sour note, but he wasn’t quite the level of star as Bure, or quite as important to the franchise as Linden, Smyl or the twins.

      • I think that ultimately it comes down to what it is you think is worthy of number retirement. That’s an obviously fuzzy line. I agree that the franchise doesn’t owe Luongo anything but I’d also say that he’s been a pretty class act with us overall. He got supplanted twice as starting goalie and I’d say somewhat questionably at that; Schneider was likely better at that point but I’m pretty sure Lack wasn’t; getting caught up in Tortorella’s weird head games isn’t anyone’s particular fault.

        I am not sure I agree that he was a better Panther than a Canuck. His individual stats pretty much across the board other than games played would seem to be better as a Canuck. Of course his teams were far superior as a Canuck. You may be right that his heart may be more as a Panther than as a Canuck but it still seems to me to be about even. More so than the full-page ad he bought thanking the Canuck fans I’ll always remember him giving up that milestone goal to Henrik and having a laugh about it.

  • Would you retire Roberto Luongo’s number?
    If the 2011 team had won the cup I’m sure there would be a statue of Loungo in front of Rogers and his number would be in the rafters. I always said he is the best goalie in Canucks history and that still holds true but that alone isn’t enough to get his number retired. In my mind he is a lock to make the ring of honour but his retirement and CAP recapture has left a bitter taste in my mouth. He consulted with the Panthers about what would be best for that team but didn’t consider what it would do to Vancouver. This is where I have a problem with retiring or putting his name in the ROH. He showed he is a Panther first and foremost so let Florida honour him and save a space in the rafters who somebody who bleeds blue & green.

  • We have four retired #s presently with the twins to be added to this in February. And unofficially Wayne Maki’s #11 and Luc Bourdon’s #28 are out of circulation. (And maybe Rick Rypien’s #37?) Luongo should not have his number retired and it’s not like the Canucks are MONT, BOS or even EDM with numerous Stanley Cups. Luongo was a good goalie but let’s put a halt on retired #s until this franchise brings home the Big Prize.

    • I’d agree with your comments, not only did he screw Vcr by retiring he screwed them by refusing the trade to TO. He seems like a nice chap but IMO goalie is the best position for a selfish person. Who knows if he has put all his energy into playing hockey in 2011we might have won but His wife came into town looked and learned that Lou was only going to pay in Florida where she could keep her eyes on him. Frankly, I believe he let the city down in 2011 and then Mrs Luongo stuck it to us when he was to be traded. I hope this is the last we’ve seen of Lou waving one finger in the air to Vancouver ….. not that I’m bitter you understand LOL

  • I agree with everyone saying put Luongo in the ROH but don’t retire his jersey #. When you look at who’s already had their numbers retired (and will be soon), 5 out of 6 are solidly in that “forever a Canuck” mold. Bure was a dynamic player who made a big difference to the team while he was here, but he left after 8 years and never looked back, hasn’t done anything for the city since, etc. But at least he was drafted by the Canucks, was a really storied “rookie” etc. (For the record, I believe Bure should be ROH and 10 should not be retired either).

    Luongo maybe belongs in similar company when compared to Bure, but but not when compared to the rest. Although the best Canuck goalie to date, he is not “forever a Canuck.” He has fond memories of this city, but doesn’t seem to consider hit “his” city.

    Finally, retiring a player’s number is an honour that says what they contributed could never be replaced. It is bestowed upon those who had highly-memorable careers. My problem with doing it for Luongo is that a significant portion of his highly-memorable career was not with the Canucks.

  • I find it interesting that Florida wouldnt pick a game where Vancouver was in town to retire his Jersey. Why would they choose a Habs game to do it. Are they flipping us the bird sgain?

  • After leaving the Canucks with $3 million in recapture penalties for the next couple of years, I’d have his number enscribed into the “Ring of Shame” in the third toilet bowl on the left in the east 400 level Men’s Washroom at Rogers’ Arena.

      • Replying to KM and TRPB: Lou had a choice. He could have gone the LTIR route and spared the Canucks a $10 mil kick in the groin. He chose to retire which helped Florida which is now retiring his number. So he chose Florida over Vancouver and they are honouring his career so why should we beyond the ROH.

        There’s two discussions here: What is the standard for retiring a number and should the Canucks retire Lou’s number?

        I don’t think Smyle, Linden or Bure did enough to have their numbers retired but all should be in the ROH. The Sedins set all kinds of team records and earned some hardware and did enough to have their legacy acknowledged.

        Lou was the best goalie we’ve had so far, but his heart and loyalty are elsewhere and retiring his number in Vancouver seems a bit off. Does it mean anything to him? He could have chosen differently in his loyalty and while that might not matter regarding his record, it matters when you look at what it costs this team in lost opportunities.

        A break up is a break up … put him in the ROH if he even bothers to show up.

      • Dirty30:

        I said elsewhere that I did not think Luongo’s jersey should be retired in Vancouver. But I hold no grudge for him retiring, and it should not be a consideration. He never caused the problem. Bettman did.

  • I think the Ring of Honour is the right place for Luongo and all of the previous Canuck retired numbers. After a Hall of Fame induction a player should be considered for a retired number. If that player played on multiple teams then it gets dicey. All the retired numbers in the NHL seems to downplay the accomplishments of the Greats like Howe, Richard, Orr, Gretzky, Mario. Let’s not get to the point where it’s a participation award.

  • The #1 should have already been in the rafters…. for Kirk Mclean!!! People seem to have rose colored memories of Lu.. but i remember him being an inconsistent goalie that won a Olympic medal in spite of him, not because of him. We needed him to steal one game in 2011 finals.. he couldnt. Just ring of honor for him.