Goaltender Roberto Luongo is in his second stint with the Florida Panthers after being acquired from the Vancouver Canucks in March. He told NHL Live on Friday that there have been a lot of changes to the Panthers' franchise since he was traded to Vancouver in the summer of 2006.
"The only reason I came back was that I felt things were different with the new ownership and their commitment to bringing in some new players and trying to build a winner," he said. "I think we have a good nucleus of players, and we brought in some good veterans -- guys who've won the Stanley Cup. Hopefully we can put things together and make a run for a playoff spot."
Luongo spent five seasons with the Panthers before being traded to Vancouver, but he kept his offseason residence in South Florida and said he's delighted to be back in the area he calls home.
"It's nice to be able to get in my car and drive down the street and go to a practice or a game," he said. "It's great to be able to be at home and still do something I love."
Luongo's Twitter account (@strombone1) is one of the NHL's most popular. He said it lets fans get to know him in a different way.
"It gives people a chance to see what kind of person I am, how I like to joke around," he said. "But at the same time, it's been therapeutic for me get through some tough situations. It's really worked out well."