Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Roberto Luongo Jersey Card

Today, a change of the guard occurs: Martin Brodeur will watch from the bench while Team Canada relies on Roberto Luongo to lead them to an Olympic medal.

Despite appearances (like, say, unmerited Vezina trophies for career achievements when it should be awarded to the season's best), Luongo has been the best Canadian goalie for the past 5 years. We're talking about a guy who was on possibly the worst team in the league yet managed to lead it in save percentage, breaking records for most shots against and most saves made in a single season.

He was made to carry teams; from his junior years, where he led two different teams to the Memorial Cup, two World Junior Championships (no medal as Mathieu Garon's back-up, silver as a starter), to appearing in 3 World Championships two gold medals, one silver), to being the highest-drafted goalie at the time (4th overall, since surpassed by both Rick DiPietro and fellow Canadian netminder Marc-André Fleury).

He still has a lot of playing left to do, both in these Olympic Games and in the NHL, so I'll leave it at that for now.

This card (#52) is from Pacific's 2000-01 Private Stock set and Authentic Game-Used Gear sub-set, and includes a swatch of a game-worn white jersey from his New York Islanders jersey, although the card lists him as a member of the Florida Panthers - he was traded on draft day by 'Crazy' Mike Milbury right after announcing their picking DiPietro; Luongo was sent to the Panthers along with the team's eventual captain Olli Jokinen in exchange for second-rate sniper Mark Parrish and Oleg Kvasha.

Luongo was quoted as saying:
"I didn't expect it at all. One day they're telling me I'm the goalie of the future, and the next day I'm gone. I didn't really appreciate that. The good side is that [the Panthers] wanted me."

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