Newspaper article The Canadian Press

With Canucks Drama over, Roberto Luongo Is Eager to Think about Hockey

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

With Canucks Drama over, Roberto Luongo Is Eager to Think about Hockey

Article excerpt

As Canucks' starter, Luongo ready for hockey

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CALGARY - Mike Babcock likes that Roberto Luongo wins "every time" when representing Canada. The Detroit Red Wings coach also appreciates how the veteran dealt with the Vancouver Canucks' goaltending situation.

"He's been through a tumultuous time and I thought handled it with extreme class and professionalism," Babcock said. "That's got to make him feel good about who he is, and I'm actually proud of him the way he's handled himself."

Luongo only recently broke his silence and talked about the latest twist in the saga: the Canucks trading Cory Schneider to the New Jersey Devils at the NHL draft, making him the No. 1 goaltender again. Before Canada's Olympic orientation camp began, the 34-year-old was eager to move past the drama and focus on hockey again.

"You go through stuff throughout your life and your career, and you try to learn from them, you try to get stronger from them, and I think over the course of the last year I've been through a few things, and hopefully got some experience out of it, made me a better player, a better person," he said. "So, right now, I just want to play hockey, doesn't matter where it is."

After sending Schneider to the Devils for the ninth pick in the draft, general manager Mike Gillis expressed confidence that Luongo would return to the Canucks even after requesting a trade a year ago.

"It's not that I wanted out of Vancouver so bad," Luongo said. "We all saw what happened, for the last few years, and I just felt it was time to move on. That's it."

But Luongo wasn't afforded the chance to move on and a fresh start. Instead, he's a candidate to be Canada's starter in Sochi, Russia, and is without a doubt the starter for the Canucks.

Asked if he would be happy going back to Vancouver, Luongo said it didn't matter.

"I'm happy to be playing and being a starter, that's what matters for now, and that's what I'm focused on," he said. "At the end of the day, that's all you really need, right?"

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NHL players weigh in on Russia's anti-gay laws

Sidney Crosby, Dan Boyle and Braden Holtby are among the NHL players invited to Olympic orientation camp who don't agree with Russia's new anti-gay laws.

The legislation, passed in June, bans "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations" and imposes fines on those holding gay pride rallies.

The move ignited a debate over how gay athletes and their friends and families will be treated in Sochi at the Winter Games in February.

"It's hard to go into a country that supports something like that," Holtby said upon arrival in Calgary.

But the Washington Capitals goalie from Lloydminster, Sask., believes athletes can do more to protest homophobic attitudes in that country by going to the Games than staying away.

"I don't think that would do any good," he said of a boycott. …

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