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Roberto Luongo shouldn’t regret his Tim Thomas critique

TORONTO — During the Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins, Roberto Luongo(notes) made two statements about Tim Thomas(notes) that, in hindsight, will go down in hockey infamy.

The first was a comment about Thomas's goaltending style after Max Lapierre's game-winning goal in Game 5: "It's an easy save for me, but if you're wandering out, that's going to happen."

The second was a lament about Thomas not reciprocating what Luongo felt was his public praise of the Bruins goalie: "I've been pumping his tires ever since the series started and I haven't heard one nice thing he had to say about me, so that's the way it is."

Thomas ended up winning the Stanley Cup, the Conn Smythe and then the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goaltender.

So, in hindsight, does Luongo regret his candor about Thomas? Here's Bobby Lu in an interview with Radio-Canada.ca, as translated by Stuart St. Amant for Canucks Army:

"Yeah, for sure. If I could do it again, I wouldn't say it. I didn't want to create the buzz that it did. After the fifth game, I had never been so emotional and I got carried away."

Now, there's no question that Luongo's remarks fired up Thomas and created some extra motivation for the Bruins, who chased him in Game 6 back in Boston. After Luongo's remarks, Thomas stopped 73 of 75 shots in winning Games 6 and 7 of the Final, winning the Cup on Luongo's home ice.

There's also no question that the "tire pump" line was a petty moment for Luongo in which he revealed how much the adulation for Thomas during the playoffs irked him.

But the initial criticism of Thomas after Game 5 deserves no apology. It remains a criminally misunderstood moment:

As we said at the time: This was analysis. This was Luongo believing his more traditional style of goalie kung fu was better that Thomas's unorthodox style. Taken at face value, it's one professional criticizing another professional's approach. Nothing more.

Alas, Luongo had to bring it down to a personal level with the "tire pump" line, which the media sank its teeth into like a starving great white shark during beach week. That was the regrettable moment. We still don't think his initial critique needs any apology.

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