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Canucks goalie Luongo explored voiding contract

Friday, 08.23.2013 / 8:57 PM / News

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Canucks goalie Luongo explored voiding contract
Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo revealed to TSN that he began discussions last May with the NHLPA exploring the possibility of voiding his contract.

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo told TSN he had discussions with the NHL Players' Association this offseason about voiding his contract with the team.

"I explored every possibility, and that was definitely one of them," Luongo told James Duthie in an interview that was shown on "SportsCentre" on Friday night. "And at that point there's different logistics into something like that and it's very complicated, but definitely it was something that I was looking at and ready to do if the opportunity came up."

Had Luongo voided the remainder of his contract that runs through the 2021-22 season, he would have forfeited about $35 million.

"I was ready to walk away from it and sign somewhere else for lesser term and less money," Luongo said.

Luongo was making his first public comments since teammate Cory Schneider was traded to the New Jersey Devils on June 30, making Luongo the Canucks' No. 1 goaltender again.

It was the last move in a two-goalie saga that lasted more than a year, in which Luongo (and the nine years remaining on his contract) was reported to be on the block. In the end it was Schneider, who took over Luongo's starting role during the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs before signing a three-year contract extension with Vancouver that summer, who was traded for the ninth pick in the 2013 draft, which the Canucks used to select forward Bo Horvat.

Luongo said he will report to Canucks training camp, which starts Sept. 11.

"Yeah, no doubt; I mean, I have a contract. I plan to honor it," the 34-year-old said. "I think there's a lot at stake for me this year … first and foremost I want to re-establish myself as one of the top goalies in the League."

He told Duthie that remaining in Vancouver was something he did not expect.

"Things have happened over the last little while that, I had come to the conclusion that, I had moved on, moved on from Vancouver and I was ready to start a fresh, new chapter of my career somewhere else," Luongo said.

He said he often compared the back-and-forth with the Canucks, with whom he signed a 12-year, $64 million contract in 2009, to a divorce.

"Well I use that analogy all the time," Luongo said. "That's what it felt like and I accepted it and I was fine with it and I had moved on personally. I mean, the only problem is she didn't, and she wanted me back (laughs)."

Luongo said he has never turned down a trade, nor did he have a completed deal brought to him for approval. He said that, when approached by Canucks general manager Mike Gillis prior to the 2012 NHL Draft, he asked that Gillis try to make a deal with the Florida Panthers or Tampa Bay Lightning.

"There was never a trade on the table that I turned down," Luongo said. "And that was the real story. Unfortunately, there's been a million other stories told since then, and sometimes you don't want to get involved in all that kind of stuff. But just to set the record straight, I think that's what really happened."

This April, at the NHL Trade Deadline, Luongo was pulled out of practice. He said he thought he had been traded, but Gillis ultimately told him a deal had fallen through.

"As I'm entering the office, they hand me the paper to sign the [no-trade] waiver," Luongo said. "So I was like, 'Oh.' So it became real at that point, that this was probably it, and as soon as I sat down in Mike's office, he walked in and just told me that the deal fell through and there was no trade.

"Thinking that you were traded one second and all of a sudden realizing that you're not, I think it just got to me for a second there and [I] might have cried in front of another man."

At the end of that day, Luongo said, "My contract [stinks]" when asked why he had yet to be traded.

"I don't regret it. I meant what I said. I kind of still feel that way," he said Friday. "I'm very grateful for the life I have doing something that I love, and getting paid well to do it. There's no doubt about that."

Luongo was asked directly if he still wants to be traded and gave this response:

"I don't have a crystal ball, I don't know what's going to happen down the road, but wherever I am, I'm going to be 100 percent committed to that place, so right now I'm in Vancouver and I'm 100 percent committed to that."

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