The Vancouver Canucks lost 3-1 to the Florida Panthers on Thursday night. While that generally isn’t a good thing, it’s a loss that was easy to take if you were a Canucks fan.
Roberto Luongo’s return to Roger’s Arena was pretty much the perfect script for the much loved/maligned former Canuck. The only thing that would have made it complete was if he had pitched a shutout against his friends in blue.
I’m a Roberto Luongo fan, and I think some of the stuff he went through here was pretty bush league and I blame Mike Gillis for that. He created a 2-year goaltending circus in Vancouver and it cost the Canucks one of the league’s best goaltenders, and one of its best young up and comers in Cory Schneider.
His detractors will point to his playoff collapses and his defenders will point to the lack of support in those games. Regardless of that situation he is the best goaltender the Canucks have had over their existence.
Rarely did he show frustration with the way things went down. He even went as far to say he felt Gillis did his best to resolve the situation. He handled it with class and played hard for the team until the end.
You could tell Luongo enjoyed it all. The tribute, the fans, the outcome. He even got a chance to salute the faithful after he was rightfully named the 1st star of the game. He spoke of trying not to watch too much of a first period video tribute because he was afraid his emotions would get to him.
“It was special. The whole night, people were cheering me on. Just really thankful for the support and really happy that things went the way they did,” said Luongo.
Roberto Luongo grew as a person as a Canuck. The guarded, emotional Luongo that arrived evolved into the relaxed, humorous Luongo. Maybe that was always there, but we didn’t see much of it in his early days as a Canuck. Thanks to Twitter, we saw a lot of it in his final years here.
Sure, the Canucks lost the game, but if you’re a Luongo fan, it kind of felt like a win.
As the video tribute displayed, let me just say one more time, thanks for eight great years, Lu.