Hockey fans have been waiting for Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo to be traded ever since backup goalie Corey Schneider took over the starting role last season and inked a long-term contract with the club over the summer. But in an exclusive interview with Real Hockey News, Luongo says he is relishing every moment of watching Canucks GM Mike Gillis attempt to make a trade within the confines of the star goalie’s no trade clause.
“It’s friggin’ hilarious,” Luongo said. “It’s like watching somebody try to put a square peg in a round hole, but, like, funny.”
Luongo said he has taken advantage of his no-trade clause by telling Gillis he would accept a trade to certain teams, but only if certain conditions were met.
“I told Gillis I’d wave the clause to go to Florida if he sent a truckload of striped men’s socks to my door,” Luongo said. “And then when he actually did it, I told him I wanted vertical stripes, not horizontal stripes, so I won’t waive the clause.”
Truckloads of striped socks was not the only demand Luongo made. The gold medal winner for ice hockey at the 2010 Olympics also told Gillis that he would waive his clause to go to the New York Islanders if the Canucks GM danced a tango with Islanders owner Charles Wang.
“They actually did it!” Luongo said, laughing. “Gillis and Wang danced a tango as I ate a nice, Argentinian steak with a smooth glass of malbec. They did a good job, too. But I told Gillis he looked like he stumbled when Wang dipped him, so I refused to waive the clause.”
Despite the unorthodox demands made upon him, Gillis remains committed to pleasing Luongo enough to be able to trade him for a decent return.
“I’ll do whatever it takes,” Gillis said in a phone interview from Singapore, where he was because Luongo told him to urinate on the sidewalk in broad daylight just to see how the local police would react.
“I saw what happened in the Rick Nash trade and I don’t wan’t to…” Gillis said before the interview was cut short by Singaporean police who apprehended and then whipped Gillis several times.
Luongo, who was having caviar and champagne with Dany Heatley while Gillis was being whipped, said that the idea of the “no trade clause” should not be looked at as a hindrance to doing business in the NHL, but a benefit.
“Hockey players are people, too,” Luongo said. “So although we get paid millions of dollars, we can’t be expected to move wherever our company wants us to go. We have families, we have mansions – just like other people. And extreme wealth is not a substitute for having to pack-up your wife’s jewelry closet every few years.”
“I agree,” said Heatley, after washing down some caviar with champagne. “No trade clauses are totally awesome.”