Let us get this right out in the open: when we don't have hockey we fans, especially Canadian ones, consider the next best thing to be hockey trade rumors. And this off-season is a great one for rumors, with the Roberto Luongo trade-saga leading the way.
A potential Luongo deal is in the news daily, that thanks to a Pacific Coast mountain-sized cascade of rumors being generated in the media. Looking at them closely, however, there has actually been little in the way of substantial news on Luongo, 33, since it all began. He lost the number one job to the 26-year-old Cory Schneider, then following the Canucks elimination from the Stanley Cup playoffs, told media he was open to waiving his no-trade clause.
Since then? Mostly talk of him going to the Toronto Maple Leafs and quotes from Leafs GM Brian Burke saying the asking price was too high. Other than that there's the buzz of him returning to the Florida Panthers, a popular choice because he played there 5 years, met and married his wife there and their family relocates to the Miami area each off-season.
Hockey Insider tweets on Luongo
Are things heating up? Has Brian Burke bowed out, determined to stick with James Reimer? And is there anything to suggest that this will be over before the summer comes and goes? Well, one good place to look is at the tweets of hockey insiders and, pursuant to Bobby Lou there have been a few today worth noting.
Here are three tweets from Monday courtesy Aaron Portzline, who covers the Columbus Blue Jackets. They came one on the heels of the other (and are tweets, remember, not looking for grammar points):
1) "Told by very good source #Canucks G Roberto Luongo has - to this point -- declined to waive no-trade clause to go to #Blackhawks or #Leafs"; 2) "Only place Luongo is willing to be traded, as of today, is back to the Florida #Panthers"; 3) "Luongo using the power of his no-trade to "steer" a trade to #Panthers as much as possible at this point in off-season."
The notion that Luongo has now set a boundary and is now only willing to go to Florida jives with a report from The Fourth Period, a U.S. publication that said the exact same thing yesterday, citing a source with the league that did not wish to be identified.
Luongo: Not waiving NTC is risky
That approach might turn out to be dangerous for Luongo though because given all the hullabaloo about him leaving, to reverse and bring him back, despite what Mike Gillis says, is not an option. So if Luongo gets too picky and Vancouver can't find a deal they like, they could play hard ball and the goalie might find himself on the bench, or, worse, playing in a league that doesn't award the Stanley Cup. Teams have buried contracts in the minors before.
And that brings us to three tweets from a hockey guy all of Canada, and beyond, is familiar with, Bob McKenzie, also coming on the heels of one another today (again, tweets):
1) "Lot of Luongo talk about waiving/not waiving NTC. Here's my take: Process has yet to be that formal. His obvious preference is FLA, but..."; 2) "...if FLA doesn't pan out, doors to TOR or elsewhere are not by any means closed. Step by step process that hasn't be formalized in any way"; 3) "End of day, Luongo has to make sure he doesn't end up in CHI...with AHL Wolves. Right now, tho, FLA and TOR think VAN asking price too high."
Those tweets suggest it is business as usual, with the Canucks trying to move him to one of a number of teams, and Luongo on board. Not substantial information but hey, again, with the absence of games it becomes all we've got. Oh, another tweet from a hockey insider today, this time Pierre LeBrun, said we should "ignore Luongo to Chicago" rumors and that it would be either Toronto or Florida.
The real Luongo trade rumors
All of it becomes fodder for those of us who, during the off-season, prefer hockey trade rumors to no mention of hockey whatever, regardless of how kooky they may seem. So with that in mind, fill your boots with a few juicy Luongo trade rumors, courtesy this writer and Digital Journal:
"Philly finds way to jettison Bryzgalov contract, enters Luongo sweepstakes" or say "RFA Carey Price's price too high, Luongo shipped home to Montreal" or how about "Seeking to face his fears, Luongo will only waive NTC to play in Boston."
Maybe best to stick with the hockey insiders.