You’ll excuse Vancouver Canucks fans for not quite trusting Mike Gillis when it comes to the topic of Roberto Luongo.
Gillis, after all, is the general manager who said all along that trading Luongo wouldn’t be a problem — just a matter of how much the Canucks could get in return — and anyone who thought otherwise didn’t know what they were talking about.
But Gillis never did (or could) trade the 34-year-old goalie with the big contract. Ultimately, it was Cory Schneider who was dealt to New Jersey at the draft on June 30.
The new CBA was to blame, said Gillis. It’s complicated, he said. Then, on Tuesday at a season-ticket holders event in Vancouver, he tried to make it sound like all was just dandy between general manager and player.
“We were laughing for most of it,” Gillis said of a recent visit to Florida to speak with Luongo, per the Globe and Mail. “It wasn’t strained or adversarial at all.”
“I’m fully confident he’ll be here (for training camp),” Gillis told reporters later.
Yet since the Schneider trade, Luongo has yet to speak publicly about his role with the club. There have been a couple of funny tweets, sure. But nothing that confirmed he’d indeed be at training camp, ready and excited to be the starting goalie for the Canucks in 2013-14.
So, why the wait?
This is where the speculation starts…
Perhaps Luongo just wants to make Gillis sweat a bit. Just a little harmless payback for failing to grant the trade request.
Heck, maybe Luongo wants the fans to sweat, too, given he was apparently upset that so much blame was heaped on his shoulders for the 2011 Stanley Cup Final loss to the Bruins. And now those same fans are worried he might hold out? That could be kind of satisfying, couldn’t it?
Or maybe he’s actually considering a holdout.
Look, chances are Luongo will report to training camp. Forget all the guaranteed money he’d risk by not showing up. He’d also risk a spot on the Canadian Olympic team.
Suffice to say, the Olympics are important to Luongo. After he started and won the gold-medal game in 2010, he was asked if it erased the doubt people had in his ability to perform under pressure. His response? “You guys can be the judge of that, but I got a gold medal around my neck and nobody can take that away from me.”
The thing is, until Canucks fans hear from the man himself, they can’t know for sure what he plans to do.
Which begs another question:
Maybe Luongo doesn’t know either?