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SportsCentre Year In Review: The Roberto Luongo saga

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Danny Celia, TSN.ca Staff
12/19/2013 10:25:42 AM
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Leading up to SportsCentre's Year In Review on Christmas Eve, TSN and TSN.ca look back at each of the Top 10 stories of 2013.

Today, we look back at the Roberto Luongo saga.

One thought he was on the way out. The other thought he was staying.

Two summers ago, Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo was ready and willing to accept a trade out of town. What transpired afterwards was a lengthy whirlwind of speculation on when and where he would go.

And it's not like the Canucks didn't try. The team spent a full year attempting to deal the Luongo - and the nine years remaining on his $64 million contract. But nothing came of it, and the franchise goaltender's showed his frustration after the Apr. 3 trade deadline passed without a new address.

"My contract sucks," said Luongo. "That's what the problem is...unfortunately it is a big (factor) in trading for me. I'd scrap it right now if I could."

The offseason brought speculation once more that the Canucks would have another shot at getting Luongo out. But after months of failed attempts, the Canucks surprised pretty much everyone in the hockey world and traded Schneider instead.

Even Luongo was shocked by the decision, after accepting the idea that he was the one that was on the move.

"I had moved on from Vancouver and I was ready to start a fresh new chapter of my career somewhere else," the three-time NHL All-Star told TSN's James Duthie. "It felt like a divorce, I accepted it and I had moved on personally.

"The only problem was she wanted me back."

And Luongo was even more surprised that the team would make such a decision without talking to him.

"Out of all the situations that I envisioned, that wasn't one of them," he said. "That's a pretty big move, I thought, to make without having input from the guy you're going to put your trust in."

Schneider also described the trade as shocking, adding that after several seasons of expecting to be moved out of Vancouver, he had finally begun to believe he would stay. Schneider, who spent years developing as the Canucks' No. 1 prospect, felt he earned the starting job.

"It was pretty stunning," Schneider told Duthie. "In this business you know you are always in the mix, you are always fair game. I really felt that having spent my entire career there, having been in the organization a long time, I was hoping to spend the rest of my career in Vancouver. But circumstances changed. It's one of those things where unfortunately it came down to this."

And after weeks of more speculation about whether or not he would return to Vancouver, Luongo confirmed he would report to the Canucks' training camp in September as the team's starting goalie.

"I have a contract. I plan to honour it," Luongo told Duthie. There's a lot at stake for me this year."

Luongo and Schneider (Photo: Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)
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