Roberto Luongo

What if Luongo tells the Canucks he wants to stay?


What was once a foregone conclusion may not be so certain anymore in Vancouver, where all of a sudden Canucks GM Mike Gillis is answering questions about goalie Roberto Luongo not being traded.

Gillis was a guest on FAN 590 today and was floated an intriguing scenario from host Nick Kypreos.

“Hypothetically speaking,” asked Kypreos, “let’s say [Luongo] comes into your office tomorrow and says, ‘Let’s end this talk about me moving. I want to stay. If you’re comfortable having me stay, can we put an end to this and stop these talks?'”

Gillis’s response?

“Well, yeah, I can see that scenario playing out,” he said, “but we’re pretty pragmatic here. We’re going to do what’s best for the hockey club and I don’t know where that road’s going to take us.”

Luongo is 3-0-2 with a 1.53 goals-against average and .940 save percentage so far this season. The 33-year-old has also dramatically changed others’ perceptions through his humorous and self-mocking Twitter postings.

“Just as he’s about to be shipped elsewhere, he’s been revealed as humble, honorable, hilarious,” wrote the Vancouver Sun’s Cam Cole. “Just as his run is ending as the Canucks’ last line of defense, he’s rediscovered his comic muse.

“Just before he drops the keys to Canada’s best hockey team in the hands of his still-unproven successor, he turns out to be anything but the monotoned automaton — it was never true, for we have seen him cry in defeat — whose few attempts at humor in his own voice always seemed to backfire on him.”

Gillis admitted today that the current goaltending situation is unsustainable. At some point, one of Luongo or Cory Schneider will have to be moved.

“If we get to the summer with both of them here, I think it would be time to do something,” said Gillis.

But what will that something be?

Stepan to miss 4-6 weeks with broken ribs

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Derek Stepan is out 4-6 weeks with broken ribs, the New York Rangers announced today.

Stepan was hurt Friday on a controversial hit by Boston’s Matt Beleskey. The Bruins’ forward did not receive any supplemental discipline for the check, despite admitting it was “maybe…a little bit late.”

It’s a big loss for the Rangers, who suddenly find themselves on a three-game losing streak. Considering the timeline, New York could be without one of its top centers for 12-18 games, give or take.

The Rangers host Carolina tonight.

Related: Yep, Alain Vigneault went there — ‘I remember Aaron Rome in this building’

Price to miss minimum six weeks, so no Winter Classic for him

Carey Price,
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Carey Price will miss a minimum of six weeks with a lower-body injury, the Montreal Canadiens announced today.

That means Price will miss the Winter Classic against the Bruins on New Year’s Day. The 30-year-old goalie has only appeared in 12 games this season.

On the bright side, the reigning Hart Trophy winner will not require surgery. And considering the Habs have already built up a 13-point playoff cushion in the standings, well, if something like this were going to happen during the season, now is as good a time as any.

Related: The latest on Price’s injury

Report: Jets offered Byfuglien for Hamonic, Isles said no

Dustin Byfuglien

If Travis Hamonic could choose one team to be traded to, he’d probably choose Winnipeg. The 25-year-old Islanders defenseman wants to be closer to his family, and his family is from Manitoba. Hamonic already owns a condo in Winnipeg.

So far, though, the Jets and Islanders haven’t been able to work out a deal. The Jets have three right-shot defensemen in Dustin Byfuglien, Jacob Trouba, and Tyler Myers who could, theoretically, be swapped for Hamonic, also a right shot.

“I think the Islanders were offered Byfuglien and they said no,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said this morning on Sportsnet 960 (audio), per Today’s Slapshot. “And I understand why, because Byfuglien’s got no term left.

“I think they’d love to have Trouba, but the Jets aren’t really there to do it. Myers, if it’s happened – I can’t say for sure it has or hasn’t – I’m not sure that’s the deal either team really wants to make, to be perfectly honest.”

Byfuglien is a pending unrestricted free agent who’s expected to cash in big-time on his next deal. The 30-year-old may not be the most disciplined player, but at his best, he’s an absolute force on the back end.

That the Isles reportedly said no to Byfuglien shouldn’t really come as a surprise, given his contract uncertainty. However, it does make one wonder about his future in Winnipeg. Remember that the salary cap is not expected to go up by much, and the Jets have another pending UFA in captain Andrew Ladd, plus a couple of key RFAs in Trouba and Mark Scheifele.

While it’s never easy to tell what GM Kevin Cheveldayoff is thinking, the big question with Byfuglien and the Jets may end up being when, not if, they part ways. Will it be after the season or before the Feb. 29 trade deadline?

Preds still haven’t found their scoring touch

Mike Fisher
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The Nashville Predators got off to a relatively good start this season, but something seems to have happened to their offense over the last six games.

Prior to Nov. 20, the Preds had only been shut out once in their first 17 games. Since then, they’ve been blanked three times and have just six goals in their last six contests.

If you remove Mike Fisher from the equation, the numbers are even more dreadful.

Fisher’s scored three of those six goals, while Filip Forsberg, Shea Weber, James Neal and Mike Ribeiro have none.

After Saturday’s 4-1 loss to Buffalo , here’s what coach Peter Laviolette told the Tennessean: “I thought we could’ve had more gas, to be honest with you. The energy just wasn’t there; maybe the second period had something to do with that or the road trip, which was a long trip. I’m not making any excuses, but I think when we play at a higher tempo that’s when we’re at our best, and we had more to push in that area tonight.”

The first game back home after a long road trip is typically a difficult one for most teams, so we’ll see how the Predators respond on Tuesday night when they host Arizona.