Roberto Luongo Gives up Captaincy

The million dollar question being asked in Vancouver these days is who will be the next Canucks’ captain? After meeting with Canucks’ GM, Mike Gillis, on Monday veteran goaltender, Roberto Luongo, decided that now was the best time to relinquish the captancy, which he proudly held for the past two seasons. “I want to put my whole focus on goaltending,” said Luongo, who posted a 40-22-4 record with a 2.57 GAA and .913 save percentage last year. “I wouldn’t say it (captaincy) was a distraction. I think I could put something less on my plate. The less distractions as a goaltender — the better –.” Luongo, who was the first goalie to captain his team in sixty years, led his team to consecutive division titles, before drastically underachieving in the play-offs. He lost twice against the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round. After being eliminated last April many questioned Luongo, who struggled with a .895 save percentage and an ordinary 3.23 GAA in 12 post- season games. Canucks teammate, Henrik Sedin, who led the league with 112 points last year and was named MVP, had strong praise for the way Luongo handled the captaincy. “He should be proud of himself,” Sedin said. “He did a good job for us. If this is going to help him be a better goalie, I think we will like that as a team.” Over the past couple of years Canucks management has taken some criticism, most notably from Hockey Night In Canada analysis, Don Cherry, who referred to the move as silly. Gillis hinted on Monday that perhaps it was a mistake in naming a goaltender team captain due to all the off-ice responsibilities which can interfere in the preparation for a game. “It may be incompatible with goaltending and the expectations that are placed on a captain in terms of availability and being the spokesman of the team,” Gillis said. “It may have been a little too much, based on how he likes to prepare and what he likes to do to get ready for a game. He tried to meet those expectations the best he could and at the end of the day he felt — it wasn’t the best thing for him — his play — and for us.” Gillis said that the team will have a captain named by the end of training camp. Getting strong consideration are forwards Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kessler


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