Canucks’ Roberto Luongo drops longtime agent, hires high-profile J.P Barry-Pat Brisson duo
VANCOUVER — Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo has dumped his longtime agent and is now being represented by the heavyweight duo of J.P. Barry and Pat Brisson of CAA Sports.
Barry confirmed Wednesday that the change was made earlier this week. Luongo was previously represented by Gilles Lupien, who negotiated the 12-year, $64-million deal that Luongo signed with the Canucks in 2009.
There has been considerable speculation that Luongo is unhappy about the recent turn of events that saw Cory Schneider, and not him, traded away by the Canucks.
Barry would not directly comment on the reasons for the move, but said he plans to meet soon with general manager Mike Gillis and assistant general manager Laurence Gilman.
“I think I am going to have to reserve comment for a while,” Barry said. “We need to get up to speed and take some time. Obviously we are coming on to a difficult file and we need to give him proper advice and we need to take some time here, talk with Roberto, talk with Mike and Laurence. There are media reports and then there’s talking to the parties. We’ll take the time to do that over the next little while here … we’ll try and reach out to them in the next day or two.”
Barry said he’d prefer to let Luongo comment directly on the reasons for the change in representation.
“I think Roberto will probably make some comments, but in discussing it with him he felt he needed to perhaps find some different representation,” Barry said. “I’ll let him speak about that, but that is the position he took.”
Luongo has nine years remaining on his deal, which carries an annual salary cap hit of $5.3 million. So why would he need a new agent now?
“There’s a misperception about what agents do in the business,” said Barry, who also represents Daniel and Henrik Sedin. “We do more than just negotiate contracts. Our job is to guide players and their careers year to year and whether it deals with public relations or it deals with marketing or it deals with many, many other different things, obviously he is a star player and has been one of the best goaltenders in the world for a long time, so we’re here to help him out.”
Gillis travelled to Luongo’s home in south Florida early last week to meet with him.
“I have full confidence in Roberto and I have full confidence that he’ll be here and that is how we are operating,” he said after a promotional event with season-ticket holders at Rogers Arena on Tuesday night.
“It was fine, it was good,” Gillis said of the meeting. “It was fun. It was amiable. It wasn’t stressful. We talked about the team and we talked about the coaching change. We talked pretty well about everything we could possibly talk about. I told Roberto how I felt about him and how we felt about him as an organization.
“We talked about a variety of different things. All-in-all, we spent about 3½ hours together. I’m not sure how to describe it. It was just a normal conversation with a guy that I have known for a while. I didn’t leave with any sense of trepidation.”
Asked where he felt Luongo was emotionally, Gillis declined to answer: “I’m not going to talk about that,. There are some things that will remain private.”
In an email last week, Luongo said he had been asked by the team not to comment on his meeting with Gillis.
New Canucks coach John Tortorella also told reporters Tuesday night that he was confident Luongo would be back.
“I think he is a hell of a goalie and we are going to jump on his back,” Tortorella said. “You don’t go where you need to go if you don’t have goaltending. Everybody I have talked to, and I have only spoken to him once and never face to face, everybody says he is an absolute pro and a great guy. So I have tried to leave him alone, let him think this out and get his head wrapped around it. I think he’s going to be fine.
“He’s our guy, he’s our guy, we will not have any sniff at all if we don’t have him as our goalie. I have full confidence that he is going to respond and that he is going to handle it and will be fine.”
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