Roberto Luongo

Roberto Luongo

Infobox Ice Hockey Player

image_size = 285px
team = Vancouver Canucks
former_teams = Florida Panthers
New York Islanders
league = NHL
position = Goaltender
catches = Left
height_ft = 6
height_in = 3
weight_lb = 206
draft = 4th overall
draft_year = 1997
draft_team = New York Islanders
nationality = CAN
birth_date = birth date and age|1979|4|4
birth_place = Montreal, QC, CAN
career_start = 1998

Roberto Luongo (born April 4, 1979) is a Canadian professional ice hockey goaltender and team captain of the Vancouver Canucks of the National Hockey League. He is the first NHL goaltender to be named team captain since Bill Durnan in 1947–48. Luongo has previously played for the New York Islanders and the Florida Panthers.

Playing major junior in the QMJHL for the Val-d'Or Foreurs and the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, Luongo was drafted fourth overall by the Islanders in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, making him, at the time, the highest drafted goalie in NHL history. He was a Vezina Trophy nominee with Florida in 2004, and once more in his first season with Vancouver in 2007. Both years he was the first runner-up to Martin Brodeur. In 2007, he was also nominated for the Lester B. Pearson Award and the Hart Memorial Trophy, but was first runner-up to Sidney Crosby for both awards.

Playing career

Amateur career

Roberto Luongo began his junior ice hockey career in the 1995-96 season with the Val-d'Or Foreurs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). In his first season with the team, he posted only six wins in 23 games played. As the team's starting goaltender the following season, he improved to 32 wins and was awarded the Mike Bossy Trophy as the league's best professional prospect. [citeweb|title=Les honneurs individuels / Individual Awards|url=| accessdate=2008-08-24| publisher=CHL] In 1997-98, Luongo won 14 of 17 playoff starts to lead the Foreurs to the QMJHL championship and a Memorial Cup appearance. Although he was traded to the Acadie-Bathurst Titan for the 1998-99 season, he was able to repeat the feat and made his second straight Memorial Cup appearance.citeweb|title=Meet Roberto Luongo, playoff rookie| url=| accessdate=2008-08-24| date=2007-04-09| last=Sinclair| first=Rob|publisher=CBC Sports]

New York Islanders

At the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, Luongo was drafted in the first round, fourth overall, by the New York Islanders. The pick originally belonged to the Toronto Maple Leafs but was later traded to the Islanders in exchange for Wendel Clark, Mathieu Schneider and D. J. Smith. [citeweb| title=Oilers' recent success adds more intrigue to Draftgate| url=| last=Cox| first=Damien| publisher=ESPN| date=2008-03-20| accessdate=2008-08-23] [citeweb| title=Isles create trade deficit| url=| publisher=NY Daily News| accessdate=2008-08-23| date=1999-01-14|last=Ross|first=Sherry] At the time of the draft, Luongo was the highest picked goaltender in NHL history. [citeweb| title=Isles: Puck stops here pick up top goalie with their 1st pick | url=| accessdate=2008-08-23|last=Stephenson| first=Colin | publisher=NY Daily News| date=1997-06-22] citeweb|last=Amber|first=David|title=Q&A with Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo|url=|publisher=ESPN|accessdate=2008-06-05|date=2006-03-24]

Although the Islanders planned to have Luongo play in the NHL for the 1998-99 season, an inconsistent performance at training camp and the failure to negotiate a contract led to Luongo's return to the QMJHL that season.citeweb|title=Hockey; A Goalie Is in the Islanders' Future| url=|date=1999-01-10|accessdate=2008-08-24| publisher=New York Times | last= El-Bashir| first=Tarik ] In 1999-00, Luongo made his professional debut with the Lowell Lock Monsters, the Islanders' AHL affiliate. Early in the season, Luongo was called up by the Islanders and made his NHL debut on November 28, 1999, stopping 43 shots in a 2-1 win against the Boston Bruins. [citeweb|title=Isles Rookie Stifles Bruins|url=|publisher=CBS News|year=1999|accessdate=2008-04-20]

That same season, on the day of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, General Manager Mike Milbury traded Luongo to the Florida Panthers along with Olli Jokinen for Mark Parrish and Oleg Kvasha. As both Jokinen and Luongo would eventually develop into star players with the Panthers, the trade would earn Milbury widespread criticism. [citeweb|title=Islanders' GM Milbury Follows Coach Stirling Out the Door| url=| last=Greenstein| first=Kevin |accessdate=2008-08-30| date=2006-01-13| publisher= New York Sun] In Luongo's only season with New York, he played a mere 24 games and ended his career as an Islander with a 3.25 GAA and a .904 save percentage.

Florida Panthers

In Luongo's first few seasons with Florida, he posted impressive numbers, featuring a consistently high save percentage. However, on a struggling Panthers team, he would not record more than 20 wins in a season until 2003-04 — somewhat of a breakout campaign for Luongo.

In 2003-04, he placed second in voting for the Vezina Trophy after facing the most shots in a single season by an NHL goaltender (2,475), a mark previously held by Félix Potvin. [citeweb|title=As Sens gear up for playoffs, Luongo sets shot mark|url=|publisher=USA Today|year=2004|accessdate=2008-04-21] Despite facing an unprecedented amount of shots, Luongo posted a 2.43 GAA and a .931 save percentage, which was first among goalies with 50-plus starts (Luongo had 72). Not surprisingly, Luongo also set an NHL record for most saves in a single season with 2,303 while picking up 7 shutouts, good enough for fifth in the league. Ultimately, Luongo lost out to fellow Montrealer Martin Brodeur for the league's top goalie.

When the NHL resumed in 2005-06 following the 2004–05 NHL lockout, Luongo posted 35 wins and a career-high 8 shutouts for the Panthers.

Vancouver Canucks

Prior to the start of the 2006-07 season, Luongo was in the midst of contract negotiations with Florida, and expected to sign [citeweb|title=New Canuck Luongo surprised by trade|url=|publisher=CBC Sports|year=2008|accessdate=2008-04-17] when GM Mike Keenan traded him to the Vancouver Canucks. In a blockbuster deal, Luongo was packaged with defenceman Lukas Krajicek and a sixth round draft pick in exchange for forward Todd Bertuzzi, defenceman Bryan Allen and goaltender Alex Auld. Immediately following the deal, Vancouver signed Luongo to a four-year, $27-million deal.

Midway through the campaign he made his first All-Star Game appearance as a starter — his second appearance overall — and was named the Skills Competition's top goalie. He led the Canucks to a Northwest Division title, seeding third in the Western Conference, after they failed to make the playoffs the previous season. Luongo would also shatter Kirk McLean's franchise record of 38 wins in a season with 47. That same mark would also tie Bernie Parent's thirty-three-year NHL record of wins in a season, although Martin Brodeur would also reach and succeed that mark that same year (Luongo and Brodeur's achievements are, however, considered to be somewhat skewed, given that it was the first season the NHL made ties obsolete with shootouts, generating more wins than in the past). It was assumed that Luongo would achieve better statistics than in the past, backstopping a more successful team compared to the Panthers, who had never made the playoffs in Luongo's tenure with them. He would, in fact, set career highs in wins and goals-against-average, as well as the second highest save percentage of his career.

Incidentally, the 2007 postseason was Luongo's first playoffs of his career; in his first game, he almost set an NHL record for most saves in a game with 72, en route to a 5-4 quadruple overtime victory over the Dallas Stars. He was just one save shy of tying the mark set by Ron Tugnutt and Kelly Hrudey of 73. Luongo would go on to win his first playoff series in seven games, but would lose to the eventual Stanley Cup champions, the Anaheim Ducks in the second round. Game 5 of the series with Anaheim saw Luongo come close to his previous 72-save performance, stopping 60 of 62 in a losing effort, in which Vancouver was eliminated. Oddly, Luongo had missed the first three minutes of the first overtime, to what was first believed to be an equipment malfunction. However, after the series had ended, it was revealed that Luongo, instead, had an untimely case of diarrhea.cite news|title=MIA Lou reveals he was ... in the loo|url=|author=Ziemer, Brad|publisher=Vancouver Sun|date=2007-05-07|accessdate=2007-11-20]

Shortly after the end of the post-season, Luongo was up for three major NHL awards, the Vezina, Pearson and Hart. However, Luongo finished second in voting for all three awards, behind Brodeur for the Vezina and Sidney Crosby for the Hart and Pearson.cite news|title=Award hat trick anoints Crosby|url=|author=Canadian Press|publisher=Sporting News|date=2007-06-15|accessdate=2008-02-18]

After a season of great accomplishments, 2007-08 paled somewhat in comparison. For the most part of his second campaign with the Canucks, Luongo kept pace with his previous season's work and continued to set impressive statistics, most significantly, a three-game shutout streak spanning 210:34 (a Canucks franchise record). [citeweb|title=Luongo's shutout streak ends in loss to Wild|url=|publisher=Globe and Mail|year=2008|accessdate=2008-04-18] Also, although he did not attend in order to be with his pregnant wife, he was voted in as the 2008 NHL All-Star Game's Western Conference starting goalie for the second consecutive season. However, in Luongo's last eight games, crucial to the Canucks' playoff hopes, he went 1-7 and allowed an uncharacteristic 25 goals in that span. The Canucks, who at several points in the season had the division lead, would end up missing the playoffs.

On September 30, 2008, prior to the start of the 2008–09 season, Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis and coach Alain Vigneault announced that Luongo was named team captain. Replacing the departed Markus Naslund, Luongo became the 12th captain in team history and the first goaltender in NHL history to be appointed captaincy (sixth overall) since Bill Durnan captained the Montreal Canadiens in 1947–48. Due to league policy, he will not, however, be physically wearing the "C" on his jersey, instead opting to "wear" it on the front of his mask. [cite web|url=|title=Canucks name goaltender Luongo captain|publisher=TSN|date=2008-09-30|accessdate=2008-09-30] Canucks defenseman Willie Mitchell will handle communications with on-ice officials, and defenseman Mattias Ohlund will handle ceremonial faceoffs and other such formalities that come with being captain.

Personal life

Roberto Luongo was born to Pasqualina and Antonio in Montreal, Canada. His father is an Italian immigrant, and his mother is of Irish descent. Luongo grew up in St. Leonard, Quebec, a borough of Montreal known as Little Italy. Luongo speaks fluent English, French and Italian. Luongo began playing hockey at the age of eight, first as a forward before switching to goaltender. He also played soccer before committing to hockey full time. His younger brothers, Leo and Fabio, are also goaltenders. Hall of Famer, Grant Fuhr has been cited as his inspiration growing up. [citeweb|url=| title=Luongo has reached goal. Fuhr inspired Isles' rookie to pursue career in the net| accessdate=2008-08-24| date=1999-12-26| publisheNY Daily News]

Luongo lives with his wife, Gina, and his daughter, Gabriella, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, during the off-season. [citeweb|title=Luongo skipping All-Star Game to be with his pregnant wife|url=|publisher=USA Today|date=2008-01-09|accessdate=2008-06-05] Although he was chosen as the starting goaltender for the 2008 NHL All-Star Game, he chose not to attend in order to be with his pregnant wife. Gabriella was born a couple months later, on March 27, 2008. [citeweb|last=MacIntyre|first=Iain|title=Daddy Luongo rejoins Canucks|url=|publisher=Canwest Publishing|accessdate=2008-06-05|date=2008-03-28]

International career

Internationally, Luongo has represented Canada on numerous occasions. During his major junior career, Luongo played for Team Canada at the 1998 and 1999 World Junior Championships, winning silver, as well as Best Goaltender and All-Star Team honours in 1999. At the senior level, he has played in four World Championships, winning two gold medals and one silver. In 2004, Luongo competed for Team Canada in the World Cup of Hockey as Martin Brodeur's backup, earning gold. Two years later, at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, he again played behind Brodeur. However, unlike the previous time, the team failed to win any medals and finished seventh.


*Val-d'Or Foreurs' franchise record for most wins in a season - 32 (1996-97)
*QMJHL league record for most shutouts in a season - 7 (1997-98)NHL
*NHL league record for most shots faced in a single season - 2,475 (2003-04)
*NHL league record for most saves in a single season - 2,303 (2003-04)Florida Panthers
*Florida Panthers' franchise record for most shutouts in a season - 7 (2003-04)
*Florida Panthers' franchise record for most wins in a season - 35 (2005-06) [citeweb|title=Panthers Individual Season Stats| url=| publisher= Florida Panthers| accessdate=2008-08-30]
*Florida Panthers' franchise leader in all-time games played - 318
*Florida Panthers' franchise leader in all-time wins - 108
*Florida Panthers' franchise leader in all-time shutouts - 26 [citeweb| title=Panthers Individual Career Stats| url=| accessdate=2008-08-30| publisher=Florida Panthers] Vancouver Canucks
*Vancouver Canucks' franchise record for most wins in a season - 47 (2006-07)
*Vancouver Canucks' franchise record for save percentage in a season - .921 (2006-07)
*Vancouver Canucks' franchise record for saves in a single game - 72 (April 11, 2007)
*Vancouver Canucks' franchise record for longest shutout streak - 210:34 (2007-08)

Awards and achievements


Vancouver Canucks

International statistics


External links

* [ Photos of various goalie masks Luongo has worn]

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