In December 2011, Roberto Luongo was 9-3-1 with a 2.04 goals-against average and .928 save percentage, so when last month came and went without an NHL collective bargaining deal, there was a little extra disappointment. At least that's what he joked about with a group of reporters who went to Florida to chat with him Monday.
"December is usually my best month, I'm a little disappointed we missed that month," Luongo said, smiling.
The joke is an example of just how well the self-deprecating Luongo has handled an impossibly tough situation. He's the goalie in Vancouverwith a long-term deal, worth $5.3 million annually on the salary cap until 2021-22. But he's not the starter there; that job now belongs to Cory Schneider.
When the lockout was lifted early Sunday morning, it wasn't with a sense of dread that Luongo faced the next step. He was excited as anyone, even if he knew the entire hockey world would turn its attention to him once this CBA was ratified.
"I could feel an extra jump in my step," he said to the Toronto-media-heavy contingent.
The group awaiting him in Florida is just further proof of the spotlight about to shine on Luongo and the Canucks. And the reality is -- especially considering the Maple Leafs are a potential destination -- the attention won't go away until there's a resolution.
There are other key personnel moves ahead, as well -- we'll examine a few more of them in detail below -- but for the immediate future, all eyes are on Luongo.
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