Red Light Roberto!


As I was driving home Tuesday evening I was wondering what I would write about today due to the fact that there’s not much Panther news since they won’t be playing till Friday against Carolina.  I was listening to the CBC broadcast of  Hockey Night in Canada Radio program and it hit me!  I have to thank Cassie Campbell for the idea. 

Red Light Roberto! Yep, that’s exactly what she said as they were discussing the once again slow start by former Panther Roberto Luongo, and his horrible performance Monday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

I wouldn’t have believed it unless I saw it myself and I did.  I turned the TV on and the score was 1-1.  Within a matter of seconds minutes (3) it was 4-1.  And the night for Louie was done.  12 shots. 8 saves. Krissy Huselius started the barrage with a nifty wrister, then Rostislav Klesla, followed by Nikita Filatov.   All shots could have been stopped.  For me that was it.  TV went off, and to sleep I went. 

However Tuesday morning, and throughout the day and night, I could not believe the press this was getting.  Roberto Luongo was 0-3 to start the season.  SO WHAT!  He’s human, not superman.  He said so himself, sort of, after departing Florida when asked about his time here.  “I couldn’t do it all by myself”.  Nice!  Thanks for your mental toughness!  We appreciate your honesty. Get and stay the hell out of here.  Now most people here in paradise were/are still upset about his departure.  As for this writer, I was trying to call Mike Keenan to offer my car to drive Louie to the airport with his luggage.  Why you say?

Luongo was offered alot of money to stay with the Panthers.  He was offered almost as much as his first contract in Vancouver, shy maybe $500,000 per year (who’s counting), but he didn’t stop to think about Canadian Taxes, or the press!  I am not going to hash all the details of how this went back and forth for so long.  You want them, call me or email me and I’ll tell you.  The Panthers, Keenan and Jacques Martin tried to convince Luongo to stay and were prepared to build the club around him and attempt to provide him with better players.  But between Luongo and his wonderful agent Gilles Lupien, they decided to play hardball with Keenan and company and made some demands, that quite honestly, were out of line.  He wanted a press conference when he signed his deal, and at that press conference he wanted the Panthers to publicly promise that they would not trade him.  He wanted his own goalie coach at his choosing.  He wanted assurance that the team was headed in a positive direction.  Sorry Louie, most people who haven’t won a playoff game yet, let alone a stanley cup shouldn’t be making these kind of demands.  That was the last straw and it was see you later.

Luongo has started almost every season he’s played in the NHL slowly.  It seems to be a pattern for a number of NHL goaltenders.  Mikka Kiprusoff, Marty Turco, Tomas Vokoun among others seem to suffer from the same thing, but none of them get the amount of press as this guy.  In my opinion, which you can take or leave, Roberto Luongo is a good goalie.  I’m not calling him great because I don’t think he is.  You want a great goalie?  How about Martin Brodeur?  There’s a great goalie, who actually has won a stanley cup or two without a terrific team in front of him.  So, Louie, what’s your excuse?

He gives up soft goals at the worst time.  It’s a common thing among top goalies.  It’s just with Luongo, when he’s bad, he sucks!   It seems like he just breaks down  He has had chances to take his team to the promised land, but he has either blown up like last year against the Blackhawks giving up 7 goals, or lost concentration and took his eye off the play because he felt a penalty should have been called the year before, and a goal was scored ending the game and the series.

On top of it all he was rewarded this offseason with a twelve year contract extension!  Yikes! Are you kidding?  Twelve  friggin years?  They say be careful what you wish for.  In Hockey it’s true especially in Canada, where you cannot escape the wrath, scrutiny and of course the press.

Well at least I can be confident of one thing.  The Canucks will not be winning a Stanley Cup for the next decade!

For a comical view of this situation go here!

Thanks for reading.