- James Duthie: Roberto Luongo will report to Canucks training camp but is still uncertain about his future with the Canucks. Luongo: ”I had moved on from Vancouver and was ready to start fresh somewhere else…like a divorce…except she wanted me back.” Luongo also said that back in May he had serious talks with the NHLPA about the possibility of voiding the remaining $40 million left on his contract.
- NHL.com: From Roberto Luongo interview with James Duthie. (follow the link for complete transcript)
JD: The most pressing question is, are you going to show up at Canucks camp motivated to be the starting goaltender for that team?
RL: Yeah, no doubt; I mean, I have a contract, I plan to honor it. I think there’s a lot at stake for me this year, y’know, first and foremost I want to re-establish myself as one of the top goalies in the League.
RL: Francesco Aquilini, the owner of the team, called me in the morning and asked, he was in Florida and asked if he could come visit me, so I was like, ‘Yeah, no problem,’ y’know. I thought he just wanted to talk to me about, y’know, my future and stuff like that, so … he showed up about three or four picks into the draft, so he sits on my couch and he asks me to turn the TV off, so I was like, ‘OK,’ because I was watching the draft. So I turned it off and we started talking and, y’know, all of a sudden he tells me that Schneids (Cory Schneider) has been traded. So as he’s telling me this, y’know, my phone starts blowing up at the same time; it was like perfect timing. So I was kind of floored, to be honest with you. I mean out of all the situations that I envisioned that could possibly be happening to me, that wasn’t one of them.
JD: So what did you say to him?
RL: Uh, I don’t remember, I was, it was just kind of blacked out after that, I don’t remember …
JD: When this all first started 14 months ago, I know that Florida, playing in Florida, was your preference. Your wife Gina, her family, are from here, this is where we’re doing this interview right now. Did you turn down a trade to Toronto or somewhere else in those early days?
RL: I never turned down a trade. What happened was, a couple, I think it was one or two days before last year’s draft, Mike (general manager Mike Gillis) just told me that there was, y’know, two or three teams that were interested, and all I said — he said interested, he never said, ‘I have a trade for this team or this team’ — and all I said to Mike was, ‘Mike, if you can, if you could try to do something with either Florida or Tampa, I would appreciate that, y’know. And if it doesn’t work out, then we’ll move on.’ So I think that was the gist of it. I never turned down a trade.
JD: No actual trade was brought to you?
RL: There was never a trade on the table that I turned down. And that was the, the real story; unfortunately, there’s been a million other stories told since then, and y’know sometimes, you don’t want to get involved in all that kind of stuff, but, y’know, just to set the record straight, I think that’s what really happened.
JD: Draft day was not the first time you thought you might be traded shortly. Take us back to trade-deadline day …
RL: Ten minutes before the deadline was over, I get yanked off the ice, uh, and they were telling me to hurry up and I needed to get to Mike’s office. So I rush over there, and as I’m entering the office, they hand me the paper to sign the waiver. So I was like, ‘Oh.’ So it became real at that point, that this was probably it, and as soon as I sat down in Mike’s office, he walked in and just told me that the deal fell through and there was no trade.
JD: Did you look into actually voiding your contract at the end of the season, when trade talks were going nowhere? Did you contemplate that and look into it?
RL: I explored every possibility, and that was definitely one of them. Um, y’know, and at that point, y’know, there’s different logistics into something like that and it’s very complicated, but definitely it was something that I was looking at and ready to do if the opportunity came up.