The Vancouver Canucks have, arguably, the best goaltender in the NHL in Roberto Luongo, and they now have just under three weeks to sign him to a long-term contract extension or they risk losing him. Luongo is set to become a free agent following the season, and while the two teams have had talks, a deal has yet to be reached. According to the Globe and Mail, Luongo has set a deadline for September 13 for a new contract to be signed as he will not negotiate once training camp begins.
From Matthew Sekeres and Erik Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail:
"We're trying to get it done before camp," Luongo said in Calgary yesterday. "If it doesn't happen before camp, I will not be negotiating during the season. I don't want to have that distraction." Yesterday, Canucks general manager Mike Gillis said a contract extension is not finished, but he is confident the sides will arrive at terms over the next 18 days. "I'd prefer that we have it wrapped up [by camp]," Gillis said. "We're all confident that we're moving in the right direction."The 30-year-old Luongo is coming off a 2008-09 campaign that saw him post a .920 save percentage in goal for the Canucks, despite missing several weeks with a groin injury. While Luongo's intention here is to avoid a distraction, Sean Zandberg of Nucks Misconduct sees the deadline as a double-edged sword:
On one side, I can appreciate that Lou wants to completely focus on this season and he wants the team to succeed plus be the starting goalie for Canada in at the Olympics. Unfortunately, if a deal does not get worked out you know what's going to happen: many of the media and the fans are going to hound him for answers regardless and the "trade Luongo" freaks are going to come back out in full force. Distraction is imminent if a deal doesn't get done. Especially in a hockey-mad, hungry and even cruel-as-hell market like Vancouver. I would really prefer the extension to get done soon given those circumstances.Nashville Might Have Some Interest In Chris Chelios
Even at the age of 47, Chris Chelios is still drawing interest from teams around the NHL, including the Nashville Predators. The money line from Thursday's John Glennon article in the Tennessean discussing the possibility: "I said, 'Chris, are you sure you'd have the interest of playing in Nashville, because you're not exactly well-liked here?' '' Trotz said. "He said, 'Trotzy, trust me, I'm not well-liked anywhere.' I said 'Yeah, I guess you're right.' '' [The Tennessean]
... Mike Sillinger announced his retirement on Wednesday, ending a career that saw the 17-year veteran play with 12 different teams, or, 40 percent of the league. Impressive. [TSN]
... Senators head coach Cory Clouston responds to Dany Heatley's claim that a diminished role is the reason for his trade demands. [Ottawa Citizen]
... Randy Youngman tries to explain where that random Patrick Marleau rumor from Tuesday came from. [OC Register]