Canucks would welcome Roberto Luongo at training camp
‘He is a big part of this team and is a great teammate,’ Henrik Sedin says of deposed No. 1 goalie who may be on his way to the Toronto Maple Leafs
VANCOUVER — His Vancouver Canucks teammates will have his back if Roberto Luongo ends up attending the team's training camp.
Luongo is expected to remain in Florida until the end of the week, but if a trade is not completed by then he will head west to Vancouver and join the Canucks.
That could lead to a somewhat awkward situation, given that the team indicated at the end of last season that Cory Schneider would be the new No. 1 goalie.
But the Canucks players who skated Monday at UBC insisted it won't be a problem for them.
"It's not awkward for me," said defenceman Kevin Bieksa. "I think Roberto is a professional. It's obviously a difficult situation that he is in right now, but he has been a professional about it the whole time and if he needs to come to camp and start the season here I am sure he will and it won't be a problem here."
Bieksa's comments were echoed by team captain Henrik Sedin.
"I haven't talked to him, but as a player we are going to treat him as normal," Henrik said. "He is a big part of this team and is a great teammate. So it's no problem at all for us to have him here."
Luongo skated Monday at the Florida Panthers' facility, where he was met by a number of Canadian reporters.
Luongo was asked about speculation that he could be headed to Toronto to join the Maple Leafs.
“I have a lot of respect for Toronto, Brian Burke and the Leafs,” Luongo told reporters. “They are obviously part of the equation, there’s no denying that. But there are a lot of things that can happen. I want to make sure I’m aware of the possibilities.”
Luongo also said he has spoken recently to Canucks general manager Mike Gillis.
"It’s a process,” Luongo said. "I told Mike I gave him the green light to do whatever he needs to do what’s best for the team. Whatever that is, how much time that will be, I don’t know.
"I’m open to a lot of ideas right now. I don’t want to corner myself, especially since I might have to start the season in Vancouver or play the whole season there. Who knows?”
Bieksa said he has been impressed by the way Luongo has dealt with his situation.
"It's not an easy situation," Bieksa said. "It's too bad some of the unfair attention he has got in the media, but he's doing a good job of taking care of his business and not putting himself ahead of the team. He still has the team in the back of his mind so that's nice."
Luongo had his Canuck teammates chuckling about a tweet he sent out this past weekend on his "unofficial" Strombone1 Twitter account.
"I have a confession I have been keeping from you guys for far too long," the tweet read. Attached to it was a photo of Luongo sporting a huge tattoo on his forearm of Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault in a Ryan Kesler jersey.
That tweet followed publication of a New York Daily News photo that revealed New York Jets coach Rex Ryan has a tattoo on his arm of his wife wearing a Mark Sanchez jersey.
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