Sports

Luongo to Duthie: 'I'm in Vancouver and I'm 100 per cent committed'

This wasn't Lance Armstrong and Oprah. It was James Duthie and Luongo. There wasn't a lot to uncover, and that became clear only seconds in.

It wasn't Duthie's fault. There's only so much you can do – only so many questions you can ask a man who's clearly been one with his thoughts for two months. Roberto Luongo hadn't spoken yet, so TSN felt it was necessary to prop this interview up.

But, save for a few golden quotes, there wasn't a lot Luongo said we couldn't have just assumed.

"I just kind of blacked out after that," the goalie said, remembering (or not remembering) his reaction when Vancouver Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini told him Cory Schneider had been traded to New Jersey. "I wasn’t angry, I was just shocked."

Not angry. Well, that's good.

"I have a contract," he told Duthie earlier. "I plan to honour it. There’s a lot at stake for me this year.

"I want to re-establish myself as one of the top goalies in the league."

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So, he's back and he's here to stay, although one could conclude that today's interview did little to bolster the confidence of Canucks fans who simply want to know whether Luongo is committed, whether he says he is or not.

"I’m still working on that part," Luongo said, when asked whether he had fully processed the Schneider trade, fully processed the fact he was in Vancouver for good. "I’m ready to go. I’ve been training hard. I’ve turned the corner."

Of course, when Luongo was asked whether he was in Vancouver for good, his answer followed like a flub.

"I don’t know what’s going to happen down the road," he said, "but wherever I am, I’m going to be 100 per cent committed to that place. Right now, I’m in Vancouver and I’m 100 per cent committed to that."

Right. So, you're committed. 100 per cent. Except, you don't know what's going to happen down the road?

I'll give the benefit of the doubt to Roberto, because I love a candid athlete and I especially love me some Luongo. He's always been straight-up with everyone and we – as fans – have been better for it. It's garnered him sympathy and his humour has to be the only thing that's kept him sane.

Still, Luongo is a Canuck. He shouldn't have to accept it. It's a fact.

He never stopped being one.

Could you imagine Ryan Kesler or Alex Burrows or either of the Sedin Twins saying they were disappointed they weren't traded, even if they were?

What about Alex Edler? He's still the most rumoured-about piece of Canuck trade bait, only a year removed from the NHL All-Star Game.

But, we don't hear from him. If Edler said anything like Luongo has in the past 12 months, he surely wouldn't get much sympathy from anyone between North Van and White Rock.

What about Kevin Bieksa? Nobody wanted him here in 2010, when defensive lapses and countless giveaways were his trademark. He was treated like dangled meat, saved only by then-new captain Henrik Sedin, who made him one of his assistants before KB3 resurrected his career in blue and green.

TSN's interview was mostly dotted with re-hashed clips from Luongo's recent past – they showed his demotion below Schneider, they showed the events of last year's Trade Deadline, and they showed that now-infamous clip where he told our media, "My contract sucks" after he's clearly distraught he wasn't traded before the 2013 playoffs.

"I meant what I said," he told Duthie. "I kinda still feel that way. I’m very grateful for the life I have, doing what I love and getting paid well to do it. There’s no doubt about that."

Asked if there was any truth to the rumour that Luongo had tried to scrap his contract after the season – essentially walking away from $30 million-plus – he replied:

"I was ready to walk away from it and sign somewhere else for a lesser term and less money."

Good thing he's 100 per cent committed. If not, that last line would stand out.

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