Fans will decide for themselves if Roberto Luongo opened the door to a trade to the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday, but arguably he did. It's a destination that pundits have all but ruled out - at least until now.
He was in Las Vegas to play the World Series of Poker as a promotional gig for the B.C. Lottery Corp., who paid his $10,000 entry fee as part of the arrangement. Another part of the arrangement was that he'd do an interview with CFOX 99.3, a Vancouver FM rock station.
Roberto Luongo a Chicago Blackhawk
CFOX's Jeff O’Neil asked about Chi-town and the Hawks and Luongo answered. "There are a lot of cities that are great to play in and Chicago is definitely one of them," the 33-year-old said. "But I think you've got to realize that it works both ways. There's not only me involved in this decision, there's also a question if the Blackhawks would be interested and if the team (Canucks) would be interested in trading me there, and if I'd be willing to go there.
"It's more than just me that has to decide where I want to go."
Luongo also said his days with the Canucks are truly over, which suggests, as expected, that GM Mike Gillis' insistence that Luongo could return to again play with Cory Schneider in a two-goalie system is nothing but a ploy to get potential trading partners to up their offers. He said it was "time to move on" and that he'd had "...a great 6 years in Vancouver. I think it’s a wonderful city." He finished that thought by saying he regretted not winning the Stanley Cup for Vancouver.
Potential trade to Chicago Blackhawks
With the speculation of a Luongo trade centering around the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Florida Panthers, Chicago has not been as closely examined as a destination for Luongo. Corey Crawford is the team's number one and neither his performance nor that of back-up Ray Emery was consistent enough to gain the confidence of Chicago management going forward. The Hawks were beaten by the Phoenix Coyotes in six games in round one of the playoffs.
So what could Vancouver get in return? While Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews may be untouchable, there are others, specifically Patrick Sharp and young Swede Marcus Kruger, that might together prove a tonic to a declining Canucks offence. A glance at Chicago's roster suggests that there may be more players on the Blackhawks whom the Canucks might covet than on either the Maple Leafs or Panthers.
Luongo, familiar with playing in Chicago, who knocked him and the Canucks out of the playoffs twice and were beaten by Luongo and Vancouver once, got in a self-deprecating joke while talking about a deal to the Blackhawks. In Chicago they play the song 'Chelsea Dagger' by The Fratellis when the Hawks score, a song the Vancouver Canucks got tired of hearing. "I like that song, it's catchy," Luongo told CFOX. "I heard it seven times in one game."
The next time he hears it, Luongo might be the goalie that's happy it's being played.