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Luongo excited to get the nod

Monday, 02.22.2010 / 10:51 PM / All-Access Vancouver

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

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Luongo excited to get the nod
Luongo is the biggest name in Canadian hockey today because he is supplanting the gold-medal winning goalie and future Hall of Famer.
VANCOUVER -- Imagine for a second how many millions of Canadians will at some point or another have a conversation regarding Mike Babcock's decision to go with Roberto Luongo over Martin Brodeur for Tuesday's game against Germany.

Luongo is the biggest name in Canadian hockey today because he is supplanting the gold-medal winning goalie and future Hall of Famer. And, already more than 10 million Canadian households are tuning in to watch these games.

So, let your imagination run wild with numbers. But, if you want to know what Luongo has to say, then just read on because NHL.com caught up with him at Canada Hockey Place on Monday.

Here's what Luongo had to say:

NHL.com: Did you think after Sunday night's game that you would be getting the next start?

Luongo: I didn't know. Obviously you don't know what they think, but like I said earlier in the week, I'm taking it one day at a time. I'm not worried about what is going to happen, who is going to play and who is not going to play. I'm just worried about contributing to the team as best I can.

NHL.com: For the last two games you have been a backup, which is different for you, but does it matter that you haven't played since last Tuesday?

Luongo: Now, it doesn't. It's not as if I have been off for two weeks. I played Tuesday and obviously a bunch before that. I think the most important thing is to make sure in practice you're sharp, you're working hard and you stay on top of your game.

NHL.com:
Norway didn't pose much of a threat for you last Tuesday and it's unlikely that the Germans will either …

Luongo:
Well, you never know. It's really important not to look ahead. Look at the Swiss. A lot of people didn't think that would be a close game, and it went to a shootout. These teams, there are a lot of good teams in this tournament. It's tough to win a hockey game, never mind a gold (medal). We have to be focused for them. We can't just step on the ice and assume it's going to happen.

NHL.com: What did you think of Brodeur's performance against Team USA?

Luongo: You know what, Marty is an unbelievable goaltender. I think he had a couple of tough breaks. I mean, on the first goal it goes off of Sid (Crosby) and it goes in. What are you going to do? That stuff happens to everybody. That's part of goaltending and Marty is strong enough mentally that he'll be fine.

NHL.com: Considering the opponent, do you treat this game against Germany as you would a playoff game or do you not put that much into it?

Team Canada GearLuongo: Oh, of course, definitely. The adrenaline will be there just like it would be if you're in the Stanley Cup Finals, or playoffs I mean, because I haven't been there yet. This is a big stage and being in Vancouver it's just so exciting. I have a lot of support around here so I'm really looking forward to being on the ice tomorrow.

NHL.com: When did Babcock tell you that you were getting the start?

Luongo: (Sunday) night. I didn't know until then. You're not in the meetings and you don't know what they talk about. I thought I had a chance, maybe, but I wasn't sure. I didn't want to assume anything, but I was definitely ready if I got the call.

NHL.com: You're an avid poker player, so we'll put these in your terms. What kind of hand is Canada holding now?

Luongo: Now we got a good hand, but we have to make sure we hit the flop.

Contact Dan Rosen at: drosen@nhl.com.