Yet another chapter has been written in the Canucks-Roberto Luongo saga, this time by Luongo’s recently fired agent.
On Thursday, Gilles Lupien blasted Canucks management — including GM Mike Gillis — saying he’s never seen a player of Luongo’s caliber treated in such fashion.
“I played on a team [Montreal] with nine Hockey Hall of Famers,” Lupien told the Globe and Mail’s Roy MacGregor. “I’ve never seen a star treated like that. I think personally he’s been treated like a piece of paper, a fourth-line player.”
To try and list all the drama Luongo’s experienced during his time in Vancouver would literally take up bandwidth, so let’s just focus on the most recent events.
After months of shopping Luongo, Vancouver flipped the script at the NHL Entry Draft and dealt Cory Schneider — who’d taken Luongo’s No. 1 gig — to New Jersey for the ninth overall pick (Bo Horvat).
He’s yet to speak publicly about what transpired — or what his mindset is — and his only major move so far was to fire Lupien and replace him with two powerhouses in the player representation game, CAA’s Pat Brisson and JP Barry.
Lupien said he was stunned by the dismissal, but saved his biggest critiques for the Canucks organization — specifically Gillis, who he lambasted for drawing out the trade process and doing little to minimize the drama.
“It’s okay to say you’re going to trade someone,” he explained. “But then trade him. If I want to sell my car, and I want to get a good price for it, I don’t say my car is always in the garage. There’s something wrong with it. No one will want to buy it.
“You either say your car is the best car you ever had – or you say nothing.”
In Gillis’ defense, he never publicly criticized the Luongo contract, often saying the deal was “very friendly.”
“I know some people like to make a big deal of that, but it’s a very friendly contract for a lot of reasons,” Gillis said back in January. “One of the reasons is the new collective agreement. You can’t sign these types of (front-loaded) contracts (anymore) because they are favourable.
“So the contract’s not an issue.”