With the Canucks visiting the Islanders, Roberto Luongo returns to Long Island tonight, the home of his first NHL season and the franchise that has sought a long-term answer in goal ever since it sent him away.
The Vancouver Sun has a surprisingly entertaining article talking to Luongo about his first NHL team and the, ahem, misadventure that saw him leave against his own will after one season (including a 42-save NHL debut).
On how he found out about the infamous draft day trade on June 24, 2000, that sent him and Olli Jokinen to the Florida Panthers for Mark Parrish and the undead winger Oleg Kvasha:
"They traded me right before the draft, " Luongo says. "I got the call just before the draft started. I actually got a call about an hour before that to tell me they had traded Kevin Weekes who was the other (Islander) goalie, so I thought, 'Oh, good, I'll have a chance to start this year.'"
Heh. He wasn't alone in that brief misunderstanding. For a second there it looked like the Isles had simply practiced some asset management by cashing in their lesser young goalie for a high draft pick. (The Isles would select Raffi Torres at 5th overall.)
But no, that's not really what was going on at all:
Asked why he thinks things didn't work out with the Islanders, Luongo smiles and says: "I could throw a name out there."
Yeah. That one. That name. As Luongo says in the article, he hasn't seen Mike Milbury since then ... except on TV.
Luongo also goes further into his brief time on Long Island, with some nice things to say about the franchise history and such.
It's all ancient history, yes -- tired history for many Isles fans. But as the distance grows ever longer from that time and the Isles and Luongo's fortunes have shifted, it almost gets more tolerable to revisit.
Well, for this fan anyway.
More from Lighthouse Hockey:
- New York Islanders vs. Vancouver Canucks: 4 Questions with Nucks Misconduct
- Retro Live Blog: Roberto Luongo's 42 Saves in NHL Debut Nov. 28, 1999
- [Gameday Bits] No Visnovsky, No Grabner, No Hamrlik, No Roger, No Re-Run, No Rent.
- Shanabanned: Grabner Suspended Two Games by NHL for Gerbe Hit
- Lubomir Visnovsky Injury: Concussion puts key Islanders defenseman on IR