Fold or Flop?
Entering into the 2013 off-season Vancouver Canucks general manager Mike Gillis possessed two world-class goaltenders in Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo with the former firmly cemented in the starter`s position.
Today the Canucks employ only one NHL-calibre starting goaltender, and the organization isn`t even certain that he will be ready to return to the Canucks next season.
The Roberto Luongo saga has become a painful journey of twists and turns, and yet the last curve in the road could be the one to see Luongo leave on his own terms, jerked around for the last time by Canucks management.
And what a way it would be for the Canucks to close their crease controversy, with no starting goaltender, and with little-to-no return for an unhappy Roberto Luongo.
When asked about the Roberto Luongo situation last week general manager Mike Gillis could muster only the one sentence regarding his new “starting” goaltender. “Play or not play,” he told the media. Which is where the Canucks sit now, waiting for Luongo to finish a poker tournament in Las Vegas before making a decision regarding his future in the NHL.
“What teammate from the past would you like to see on the Canucks again?”
While Luongo has proven his wit remains in playoff form, his refusal to mention the Canucks or the current goaltending situation in slightly concerning.
Vancouver’s long-time starter has been a consummate professional throughout this entire ordeal, which makes his summer silence that much more worrisome for the Canucks, who could hardly blame Luongo for holding out after the way he has been managed.
By all accounts the Vancouver Canucks had moved on from Roberto Luongo and his massive contract, and yet with his $4.2-million house up for sale Luongo has been asked to forget the past and return to play in Vancouver once again.
“I feel like I’m at a stage in my life where I want to play.” Luongo said days after his season was ended by the San Jose Sharks.
The Canucks can only hope Luongo’s desire to play remains the same after being given back the crease in Vancouver. If Luongo The Professional shows up at camp, the Canucks could begin the season with a motivated and talented starting goaltender.
If Luongo the holdout emerges, the Canucks could enter the 2014 season with a number of question marks in the crease and only Eddie Lack to answer them.