Canucks and Beyond
by Alanah McGinley on 09/25/07 at 03:22 PM ET
Today, Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo participated in an NHL teleconference to answer reporters’ questions about this coming season. An interesting transcript, one of the surprising highlights being a statement that he would retire in the prime of his career if the NHL decided to…
Oh, never mind. I’ll let you read it for yourself.
Q. Do you see the Canucks offense increasing this year? Do you see yourself getting a little bit more, as they say in baseball, run support?
ROBERTO LUONGO: I think so. I mean, we’re all a year older. We’ve played a year together as a team so I see us starting a step ahead of what we did last year.
As a team, I think we made a few key additions up front as far as depth goes. A couple guys that can put the puck in the net.
Q. Do you ever look at the old games with somewhat amazement as just to how little space the goalies covered versus today? I know there’s equipment and techniques that are so different. But there is talk that someday we’re going to see the nets being adjusted in the National Hockey League. The shooters sure had a lot of room versus today. Do you ever say that?
ROBERTO LUONGO: Yeah. But, I mean, the game has changed. The way the goalies play the game has changed. Also, the shooters did not have synergy sticks back in the day. It all evolves with time. Definitely the game is different today and that’s why we see goalies needing a bit more protection and also being better goaltenders and better athletes.
Q. Do you see a day when the nets will be bigger?
ROBERTO LUONGO: If that day comes, I don’t think you guys will be seeing me in the NHL.
ROBERTO LUONGO: No. I have no intentions of playing with bigger nets.
Q. Even a couple inches bigger?
ROBERTO LUONGO: No.
Q. You’d retire?
ROBERTO LUONGO: Yeah.
Q. I’m working on a story of Jonathan Bernier from the Kings, the young goalie. What kind of advice would you give him if he is able to be called up this year and open the season with the Kings? Do you have any advice you would give him?
ROBERTO LUONGO: Well, I mean, that all brings me back to when I started out. Obviously it’s a great time, exciting time, but also there’s a lot of nervousness involved.
I would just say, you know, just try to enjoy the moment and do the best you can, but at the same time not to try to do too much. You know, just stick with what you’re good at.
Q. Do you remember what it was like for you when you first got the chance to get in there like that?
ROBERTO LUONGO: Definitely. I mean, very nerve-wracking, but at the same time it was a dream coming true. Like I said, you go through so many emotions at that time that it’s kind of tough to stay focused on really what you’re there to accomplish. That would be my advice, I think.
Q. Have you seen him play, know what type of player he is?
ROBERTO LUONGO: No, I’ve actually never seen him play.
Q. What did you learn personally from your playoff experience last year? How can you carry that experience into this season?
ROBERTO LUONGO: Well, I mean, it was a great experience, that’s for sure. Something that I’ll never forget and look forward to having many more of.
I think what I’ve learned is more of something that involved the playoffs and not really something that involved the regular season.
All I can bring to this season from last year is the excitement, the feeling you have when you’re in the playoffs. It just gets you more revved up to have a good year and make sure that you’re part of it again.
Q. You played so many games last year. Obviously you’re probably going to be expected to do just the same this year. How do you keep yourself fresh all season after playing so much?
ROBERTO LUONGO: Well, I think there’s a lot of key factors. The first one is you’ve got to listen to your body. Sometimes you feel like you need some rest or need a day off and you’ve got to take it. Even though I didn’t take many last year. You’ve got to really listen to your body.
And when you’re not at the rink, it’s important to get some rest and eat well and get some good sleep.
Q. Have you altered your off-season training regimen as you’ve become more and more important to your team?
ROBERTO LUONGO: I’ve been working with the same trainer the last few years. I haven’t really changed much. Although I can say that the workouts have gotten more intense over the last couple years. You try to really get in the best physical shape possible once training camp rolls around.
Q. Rick DiPietro fighting Al Montoya last night, what do you think of goaltenders fighting pre-season when the games don’t mean anything? I was at the last game you played against the Ducks. You didn’t come out for the overtime period for the first four minutes. Can you tell us now why you didn’t?
ROBERTO LUONGO: Well, first of all, I understand what Rick did last night. He was defending a teammate. You know, that was something that showed a lot of character and leadership.
But at the same time, you’ve got to be careful. You don’t want to suffer an injury that will take you out for a length of period of time and miss the season or something like that.
He did what he had to do, but at the same time you want to be careful with those types of situations.
For your second question, I think it’s already out there what happened. You know, I was a little bit sick so I couldn’t come out for the start of overtime.
Q. How did you not get sick after that? You played for so long. Pretty normal you’d be dehydrated or whatever you were.
ROBERTO LUONGO: Well, it was a pretty intense game. It was not something that I enjoyed, missing the start of overtime. But it happened. Thank God they didn’t score, or else it would have been devastating for me.
Q. I know you’ve been asked about the Bernier situation. There’s no question as to whether he should start in the AHL. Can you talk about your AHL experience. Did you find that valuable, or do you think you would have preferred just starting out with the Islanders?
ROBERTO LUONGO: I was fortunate. I only got to play a like month in the American Hockey League before I got called up due to an injury. I think at that age, it all depends how much playing time you’re going to get. If he’s going to be on the bench playing five, 10 games for the year, I don’t think that’s really worth it.
He can get some valuable experience playing some games in the American Hockey League. I’m not aware of the situation and how he’d be utilized. But I think, you know, for him to stay up he would have to play some games to make it worth it that he stays up.
Q. Throughout camp, have you had a chance to see Mason Raymond much, and your thoughts on him so far?
ROBERTO LUONGO: He’s been quite impressive so far. He’s got all the great hockey vision and he’s a fast skater. He’s got some good hands. It will be interesting to see what happens with him the rest of the way. I’m not sure what the management has planned for him, but definitely he’s somebody that’s going to be here if not right away, in the future.
Q. I’m doing a story about hockey in the South with Nashville and Carolina being 10 years now in the league. Now that you’re removed from the Florida situation, can you comment on hockey in the South? Do you think it’s going to stick? How do you think the star players in the Southeast Division are marketed? Do you think they’re marketed properly?
ROBERTO LUONGO: I think the teams in the South, they’ve got good attendance. It all depends on what type of team you have. I think if you look at Carolina, the year they won the Cup, they were selling out. People were going to the games.
I think it would be the same type of situation in Florida. Once they get to have a good team I think people are going to love going to the games.
It’s pretty much not only for the teams in the South, I think everywhere in the league is pretty much the same. Definitely as far as marketing the player goes, apart from Ovechkin, who is one of the biggest superstars in the NHL, there could be a little bit more done in regards to that aspect.
Q. Would you describe the expectation levels surrounding the team after last year’s solid run.
ROBERTO LUONGO: Well, I mean, I think we want to take it to the next level. As far as the team is concerned, we were proud of what we accomplished last year because not a lot of people put us in that situation.
Now that we’ve been there, we’ve had a taste of it. We want to take the next step, which would be obviously trying to win the Stanley Cup. We know there’s a lot of hard work to be done. We’re in a tough division. At the same time we know that we have the capability as far as talent in the locker room and character to do it.
Q. Describe what it was like to play for Alain Vigneault last year?
ROBERTO LUONGO: It was great. He implemented a great system. The thing that I really liked the most about him is he holds guys accountable for what they do on the ice. When you do that, every player has a different role, feels that they’re important with the role they have, it really creates a good atmosphere on the team.
Q. What was the biggest adjustment for you playing in such a hockey-mad market like Vancouver for the first time last year?
ROBERTO LUONGO: It went pretty easy. It wasn’t a big adjustment at all. As far as hockey-wise, I think the main thing is to learn a bit about the shooters in the west, guys I didn’t get to see very often. Apart from that, just getting settled in here and making sure that I got a place and I’m all set up in a short period of time.
Q. Working on a story about Kevyn Adams as an unheralded leader. You played with him briefly in Florida. What were your impressions of him in the room a couple years ago?
ROBERTO LUONGO: Yeah, I think he’s a great guy, to begin with. He’s got a great work ethic. When you combine those two things, it automatically makes for a good leader not only in the locker room but on the ice. You just watch him, the way he works, the way he carries himself, it’s obvious that he’s one of the leaders in any locker room that he’s in.
Q. A guy in your room right now is Trevor Linden. Almost an icon in Vancouver.
ROBERTO LUONGO: Oh, he is an icon. It’s been great. Kind of the same thing: He’s a great guy, a great leader, and he’s become one of my best friends on the team. I really enjoyed playing with him. I was happy to see he came back for another season.
*previous conference call with Roberto Luongo here
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About Canucks and Beyond
Alanah McGinley has been blogging hockey since 2003 (with a notable gap in time through 2010, kicking it with new baby Lucy while living knee-deep in chaos while reading "parenting for complete idiots" during every spare minute) sharing opinions, rants and not-so-deep thoughts with anyone who will listen.
In addition to writing Canucks & Beyond and helping manage Kukla's Korner, Alanah was one of the founders and co-hosts of The Crazy Canucks Podcast. She has contributed pieces to FoxSports.com and the New York Times Slapshot blog, as well as other stray destinations in cyberspace.
So that's me. Who the hell are you?
Alanah's Twitter: [@alanah1]