(October 17, 2006) - Widely regarded as one of the top three goaltenders in the league, Roberto Luongo finally can put up the numbers to show for it this season. An offseason trade to the Canucks after five seasons with the middling Panthers is sure to breathe new life into a career flavored by high hopes.
Luongo had been the highest drafted goalie (No. 4 overall in 1997 by the Islanders) until the Islanders decided to draft Rick DiPietro first overall in 2000 while trading Luongo to Florida. At 6-3, the Quebec native can be intimidating to shooters, and actually has recorded a respectable .919 career save percentage while facing endless blizzards of shots while a Panther. In fact, 2005-06 marked the first time Luongo recorded a winning record (35-30-9).
Now in a traditional hockey market, Luongo recently joined NBCSports.com to talk about his new life:
Q: How happy are you with the change of scenery in Vancouver and to be on a team that on paper might be better than teams you have played on?
A: I'm very happy. This is a great team, a great organization a great hockey city. I couldn't ask for anything more. It takes the pressure off my shoulders knowing that the team has a chance to win every night.
Q: Has the league done enough for goaltenders being that everything is being done to generate more scoring in the game?
A: I think the only issue is high traffic in the crease. There are times when it allows a player to bump into a goalie and be passed off as a push.
Q: Martin Brodeur just moved into third place all-time in wins by a goalie. Do you believe you're part of a generation of goalies who are ready to challenge that mark and his starting spot on Team Canada?
A: I don't know if I am because I haven't won that many games early in my NHL career. Who knows what will happen four years from now. If things continue to go well, I'd like to think the job might be mine.
Q: Which teammates have been most helpful in keeping you focused -- and/or loose, when need be -- through your career so far?
A: Jamie McLennan and Sean Hill
Q: As an Italian-Canadian who speaks the language, describe the holidays and the culture of your family and how hockey has been incorporated into your family life.
A: The biggest family holiday for me is Christmas Eve. I have the family over at my house and we eat a feast all night until the clock hits midnight.
Growing up, my mom was a big fan of hockey. My dad was more of a soccer fan but when he moved to Canada and hockey was on TV every night he became a fan as well. They supported me a lot.
1. Everybody should listen to ... U2
2. If I were commissioner, I'd ... Protect goalies more
3. NHL enforcer I want in my corner ... No answer
4. Last non-hockey sporting event you attended ... Marlins vs. Cardinals game this summer
5. Shooter you hate to face in a shootout ... Jaromir Jagr
6. Non-hockey athlete who could be a hockey player ... Terrell Owens
7. Is it music or meditation before a big game ... Music
8. Build a team starting with talent, guts or work ethic ... Work ethic
9. Cheesy song that I love ... Sexy Back by Justin Timberlake
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