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Roberto Luongo, thank you. For being honest, fun, enjoyable to talk to … and having the best non-verified athlete Twitter handle in the NHL.
Seriously, if you don’t follow @strombone1, you should, because it’s amazing.
Anyway, we won’t bore you with a lead-in on Luongo’s distinguished career, his gold medal, his time in Vancouver playing for the Canucks.
Here is our interview with one of the top personalities in hockey, which was all done wile Luongo was wearing designer shoes at the Florida Panthers team hotel in Nashville.
What an impeccable sense of style that man has.
Q: That Strombone Twitter guy seems to know a TON about you. How does he gets the goods?
LUONGO: It’s something that was done to show a little bit about myself without having to be on the record. So far it has worked out well, but you have to be careful a little bit. You don’t want to cross any lines.
You came close to crossing a few with that Kim Kardashian photo …
I thought about it before sending it. You always have to think before you act. I thought it was OK. It wasn’t making fun of anyone in particular. Maybe myself, but that’s the point of the account. If you make fun of yourself, people can’t get on you for that.
But you helped Kim Kardashian break the Internet … not cool!
I forgot the hashtag …
Did you ever think of what could have been with the Islanders if all that young talent didn’t get traded away?
It crosses my mind once in a while. So many guys went through that system. Then you realize a lot of the guys got traded for one another, so even though they were all in the same system, we weren’t all necessarily there at the same time. It’s one of those things. It happens, but it led me to where I am, so I have no regrets.
So you’ve played for Mike Milbury, Mike Keenan and John Tortorella. How are you still alive with your sanity intact?
I’m still here and stronger than ever! (raises arms in victory) Those are the things that make you strong!
But those are the three of the strongest personalities in hockey, and you’re in a position where the results are so black and white. What was it like on your psyche playing for those three guys?
Mike Milbury was the GM of the Islanders, so I wouldn’t have to deal with him on a personal level, on a day-to-day basis. When I was in Florida with ‘Iron Mike’ I was just starting and was young. I didn’t have as much experience and I just wanted to play. As I got older I got to deal with that kind of stuff. Once I got to play for Torts last year, I didn’t mind Torts at all. I thought he was a pretty good coach, and we had a couple of battles. But other than that I think I was mature enough to handle them well.
I always admired that press conference when you said ‘my contract sucks’ because that was one of the more raw, candid things I can remember an athlete saying in a press conference setting. What brought you to saying that?
It was just minutes after the deadline where I thought I was getting traded and I didn’t. It was pretty emotional at the moment. Obviously I’m very blessed from the financial aspect, and I did not take that for granted. I did mean what I said at that time and I don’t regret what I said at all. It was in the moment, and that’s the way I felt and even after that moment I felt the same way. It’s something that’s going to be talked about for a long time, but I don’t regret saying it.
It was true though.
They couldn’t move my contract. That was one of the toughest days … I got pulled off the ice a few minutes before the deadline and rushed to the GMs office and pretty much saying I was traded and it just fell through at the last second. So, it was tough to go from that high to that low in a matter of seconds, and then have to do a press conference minutes later…
Shifting gears completely, are you going to be a competitive poker player after you retire?
Yeah, right now we’re having some issues playing poker, I can’t play in the states. I can’t play as much as I used to when I was in Canada, but it is something I definitely have a passion for. It is something I’ll be going for it if I have a chance once I retire.
What did Pat Quinn call you during the 2004 World Cup? This question comes from Joe Thornton. Sidenote – Quinn died late Sunday night. This interview was conducted the Friday before his passing without knowledge of his issues.
Carlo … he was coaching the Maple Leafs at the time and he had Carlo Colaicovo on his team. I’m Italian, he was Italian, we got mixed up … Roberto, Carlo …
I think he knew who I was, you know sometime you have a brain cramp. After that he called me by my right name but at that moment …
So it wasn’t the whole World Cup?
No, it was after the first game, I was starting the second game. So he walked in front of the locker and said ‘Carlo, you’re going next tomorrow’ and I’m like, ‘OK, is it me or who are you talking about?’
Which has the best seafood, Vancouver or South Florida?
I think probably Vancouver. I like the Pacific salmon better than the Atlantic salmon.
Why Pacific salmon?
It’s a little bit darker, and a little bit nicer taste.
Speaking of food, you had some great sushi places in Vancouver, find anywhere comparable in Florida?
There’s a few sushi places I go to with my family. But in Vancouver it was like on every street corner, but you can’t go wrong with either.
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