How quickly can things change in sports?
Well, here’s what Vancouver GM Mike Gillis said less than three years ago after signing his franchise goalie to a 12-year contract extension:
“Today is a very exciting day for the Canucks organization. Roberto Luongo is the leader of our hockey team; he is in the prime of his playing career and has a tremendous desire to make the Canucks a championship team. His leadership, competitiveness and character are what this team will represent for many years to come.”
And here’s what Luongo reportedly said today on Vancouver radio:
“It’s been a great six years, but it’s time to move on.”
If there was any doubt he was on his way out, that should put a stop to it.
So far as potential trading partners, Florida seems to have emerged as the favorite to land Luongo; however, one could easily argue the Maple Leafs and Blue Jackets have more pressing goaltending concerns. Whether he’d waive his no-trade clause to go to Toronto or Columbus isn’t clear though.
But was Luongo’s willingness to say “it’s time to move on” a sign a deal is imminent?
Update: Here’s the full transcript of the interview, and here’s his exact quote when asked if he could be wearing a Canucks jersey next season:
“Never say never, but I think we all know what’s going on, we’ve all seen what’s developed. At the end of the day I think it’s time to move on, and I’m OK with that. I’ve had a great six years in Vancouver and I think it’s a wonderful city. I really enjoyed my time there. Sadly I could never win a Cup there, which is probably my greatest regret, but it was a great six years.”