(Enter: Lack, Exit: Luongo) Kinda stole that from the 'Makaveli' album.
I know many people here are not big fans of Botch, But I thought this article was interesting....
As much as Lu 'maybe' wanted out, I do believe that sometime down the line he will realize and miss many of the 'perks' Vancouver brought, okay maybe not perks but playing for a hockey mad city compared to Florida is a night and day comparison.
After all, He had his first ever playoff experience with Vancouver, won a gold medal in this city and came a game away from winning the cup, All I'm trying to say is that you always remember your 'first's'. Anyways, I think Botch has a few solid points here....
SUNRISE, Fla. — The BB&T Center is a lonely place.
It jets out from a carpet of palm trees and freeways. There is no skyline for miles. The only stores are in an outlet mall. There are no condos. There are few homes and few people. Even on game days.
Regularly awash in sunshine, this is the antithesis of Rogers Arena. And now, this is where Roberto Luongo calls home.
While ripping Luongo last week for daring to tweet about the former teammates he will play for the first time Sunday, Don Cherry called this paradise.
It is. It is also the NHL’s version of Siberia.
This is the last weekend Luongo will be news. He is at the centre of the hockey media universe one last day. Soon, the Canadian reporters will go home, and the Florida Panthers will submerge into irrelevancy again, until they visit the Canucks once next year.
Even then, people may not care given how fast the Canucks are sliding into oblivion.
Luongo was asked if he will miss all of this, the attention both good and bad which helped make him one of the most-talked about athletes in Vancouver. Maybe ever.
“Is that a trick question?” he said, his grin as wide as his crease.
“Every market is different. Sometimes you need that pressure to get you going. But I put pressure on myself to perform no matter what market I’m in.
“I try not to take (what goes on on the outside) with a grain of salt and I try to laugh about it.”
Unlike many players who get traded, Luongo said he is not looking for vengeance today. He is looking to write the last line on the last chapter of his Canucks career.
“It was a great run. But I’m looking to move on now, and I think (this game) will put great closure on it.”
This weekend started with Marty Brodeur marvelling at how the Canucks managed to go from two top ten goalies to none in ten months.
It’s something that, for now, threatens to haunt this franchise.
How did it happen?
It’s become clear that after the Canucks traded Cory Schneider at last year’s NHL Entry draft, Luongo still wanted out.
The issue was even broached at the same draft the Canucks traded Schneider. There, Florida GM Dale Tallon again told the Canucks the Panthers could be interested in Luongo.
The Canucks didn’t take it seriously. In this long cat-and-mouse game Tallon was playing, he had told the Canucks he could be interested in Luongo a couple of dozen times. It never went anywhere. And it didn’t at the draft.
But things changed when the Panthers’ new ownership was finalized in September. They had money and they were keen on acquiring someone who could be the face of the franchise. Someone like Luongo.
The Canucks had started the season believing Luongo would finish it with them. But that’s as far forward as they were looking.
That he was benched for the Heritage Classic will always be seen as the final straw in his relationship with the Canucks, and the trigger which got him traded.
If Luongo had played, would history have changed?
“It’s tough to say,” Luongo said. “It had something to do with it. It put the wheels in motion.
“I couldn’t get a trade done for a year and a half, so I don’t know how it happened in two days.
“Definitely something weird was going on there when I got back from the Olympics.”
What was weird was the confidence the Canucks were showing in Eddie Lack. It’s believed that the coaching staff, led by goalie coach Rollie Melanson, determined Lack would be the better option for the post-Olympics stretch because of the way Luongo struggled before going to Russia.
So Lack started three straight games. The third was the Heritage game.
It was at that point, Luongo’s agent Pat Brisson contacted GM Mike Gillis, who was loathe to start shopping Luongo because he was up to his ears considering Ryan Kesler options two days before the trade deadline.
It was Brisson who contacted Tallon again, but it was Michael Santos and Laurence Gilman who spent hours, beginning the night after the Heritage Classic, hammering out what turned out to be a complex deal.
IT'S LACK'S TEAM NOW, FOR BETTER OR WORSE
It’s Friday, and something of a marquee game.
Cory Schneider and the Devils are in Sunrise to take on his old running mate.
A group of four teens are outside trying to sell centre ice tickets. They’re asking $5 for each. There are no takers.
Yes, this is a different world. Things will never be the same.
What will Luongo miss about Vancouver?
“There were a lot of ups, and there were some downs, and they were well documented,” Luongo said.
“I will miss a lot of things. My teammates, first and foremost. We spend that many years with a core group of guys, you form some good bonds. That’s the first thing that comes to mind.
“Me and my family took a liking to the city. It is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Those are things you remember for a lifetime.”
He has left behind a team that looks like a disaster, spiralling out of control.
“I don’t know (what happened),” Luongo said. “I’ve been trying to figure it out for a long time.
“We were playing really good in December. But guys started falling down and there was a lot of stuff happening around the team.
“You can’t put your finger on it. But it’s tough to see something like that. Especially with the fact we have always been battling for the top of the standings.
“Maybe I shouldn’t say we anymore.”
No, this is Lack’s team now, for better or worse, ready or not.
He will start against Luongo Sunday. After giving up 18 goals in five games, there are legitimate questions about whether the 26-year-old rookie is ready for the responsibility that comes with being a No. 1 goalie.
When Luongo was traded, Lack was in the top five in both save percentage and goals against average for goalies who had played at least 20 games. Now, he’s out of the 20 in save percentage, and just barely still in the top 20 for goals against average.
He seemed to show signs of stressing when he got into it with a fan on Twitter after the Canucks lost in Washington on Friday.
Lack tweeted: “Maybe u should support your team instead of spreading negative s--- around.”
He was asked yesterday what it’s been like being the starter.
“It’s way harder being Batman than Robin, right?” Lack said. “It’s a lot of games. I’m trying to prepare myself as much as possible for every game.
“I try to stay positive. The only game I was really not satisfied with is the Islanders game.”
Even if Lack has struggled, head coach John Tortorella hasn’t wavered, and continues to hand him the ball to run with.
“It’s easier when you have a coach that believes in you,” Lack said. “Now I have to show that I’m worth it.”
Don’t worry, only the future stability of the franchise is on the line.