There was a surprise waiting for the Vancouver Canucks when they arrived at the BB&T Center Sunday.
A surprise named Roberto Luongo.
As the guys entered the visitor’s dressing room, Lu was there, couldn’t miss him in a red Florida Panthers shirt, grey hat to match. He excitedly hugged and shook hands with anyone and everyone.
Luongo and Eddie Lack spoke in the hallway for at least five minutes and while everyone gave the tenders time to talk, Luongo was overheard saying “Let’s keep it 0-0 and duke it out in a shootout…”
That would have been goodness.
When the smoke cleared and it was time to start prepping for the game, Joey Kenward and I caught up with Luongo, who is still in shock he’s not with the Canucks.
Luongo said last year he was prepared for a trade, this year he wasn’t. He would have packed more than the two sets of clothing he had for the trip Vancouver was on when he was traded, if he knew then what he knows now.
It’s been a whirlwind few weeks for the 34-year-old who spent eight seasons in Vancouver. He said his six-year-old daughter is more than a little confused he doesn’t play for the Canucks anymore; they’re her favourite team after all. “She’s cheering for me today,” laughed a relieved Luongo.
For the second time in my travels with the Canucks, we received a police escort to the arena.
The drive, which would have taken roughly 45 minutes if we didn’t have two police cruisers bullying cars out of our way, was cut down to 20 minutes. Forget you traffic lights. I apologized the other day for the bus breaking down story not being more like the plot of Speed. Well, this actually was. We flew. I’ve never worn a seatbelt on a bus before. Thought about the classic double strap-in actually.
“That. Was. Awesome,” an exasperated Eddie Lack said as he made his way off the bus, tires still smoking. Okay, they we didn’t actually burn rubber, but we were burning rubber, ifyaknowwhatImean.
Boston is the only other city we’ve received such nice treatment in and that was during the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. This just made for another bus related blog, everyone’s favourite.
I’m Derek Jory. In press boxes, however, my very difficult last name is often misspelled.
The Panthers take the cake: Derek Joyce. Awesome. Been Joy, Jori, Jay and now Joyce can safely be added to the list.
This is where I’d normally write Cheers as a signoff, but I’m told that’s awkward…so…
P.S. – The P.S. is back and here to stay.