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article imageOp-Ed: Roberto Luongo trade sees pundit Cam Cole take a shot at Canucks

By Marcus Hondro     Mar 5, 2014 in Sports
When it comes to hockey opinions and the NHL, any pundit with a forum likely to reach others - hey, I got one! - is sure to have a take on a trade the magnitude of the Roberto Luongo deal. It was a newsworthy exchange of NHL goods, no question.
What sometimes spills out in a pundit's take, however, not with all, but with some, can be something akin to nonsense, something based more on a prejudice than on an opinion backed by reason.
A newly-minted example is a column offered up by Vancouver Sun sports columnist Cam Cole today, March 5, on yesterday's trade sending Luongo back to the Florida Panthers. In his piece, Cole took a shot at the Vancouver Canucks, a team it seems he does not like, or maybe it's their GM, Mike Gillis that he doesn't like (Gillis is a former player agent so perhaps he was taciturn with Cole in the past).
Luongo: Skating cartwheels around Di Pietro and Yashin
It might be he feels negative reporting is what Canuck fans enjoy (in Vancouver, that would be the Dan Russell approach) or perhaps he hasn't paid attention to how good Luongo is. In any case, Cole spewed forth the notion that the contract Gillis gave to Luongo in 2010 was as bad as the stunningly inept contracts given by the New York Islanders to Rick Di Pietro and Alexi Yashin in yesteryear. When it comes to analyzing hockey it doesn't get much more ill-informed.
Remember the Isles (really GM Mike Milbury) gave Yashin, already known to be a selfish malcontent while in Ottawa, a 10 year deal for $87.5 million, this in 2001 when the amount meant a whole lot more than the much-lesser amount Luongo was given almost 10 years later (that contract came after Milbury gave up a package that included Zdeno Chara and a second-overall pick that became Jason Spezza to land Yashin from Ottawa). Within a season the Isles would have taken that one back and wound up having to buy Yashin out 5 years into it.
About the same time, Milbury handed Di Pietro, unproven at 25 (young for a goalie), a 15 year deal for $67.5 million. It ran until 2021 but last year they bought him out, a full 8 years from its completion, for $27 million. Where's the rich Di Pietro now? He signed a professional tryout contract with the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL, a Carolina Hurricanes' affiliate, but lasted only 5 games before he was released. He's 32 and currently out of hockey.
Cole: Mistakenly aligns Gillis with Milbury
Those contracts he compared with the one Luongo signed in 2010: 12 years at $64 million. Luongo at the time? Gold-medal winner, one of the best goalies in hockey, ever, and an unselfish person who emphasized team, something neither of the above two players could say. Luongo could, pardon the cliche, skate cartwheels around either of them.
Further, in the era of salary caps, Luongo's contract has a $5.3 million hit each year, low for a superstar. And if it was so bad how did they manage to trade him 4 years into it for a top prospect goalie in Jacob Markstrom, only 24 but already with 131 AHL games and 43 NHL games under his belt? They also got Sean Mathias, a big center, just turned 26, with a great deal of upside. Four years into the Yashin and Di Pietro deals you would not have been able to trade either for the proverbial bag of pucks.
So it would seem that either Cole doesn't like the Canucks or Gillis (after all, he compared him to Mike Milbury) or maybe the team's logo, or he's unaware of how bad the contracts given to Di Pietro and Yashin are, or perhaps he wasn't really watching Roberto Luongo play over these past 8 years.
Either way, Cole's credibility has taken a hit.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about roberto luongo trade, cam cole, kevin weekes, Vancouver canucks, Florida panthers
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