Flyers' Paul Holmgren denies interest in goalie Roberto Luongo
SINCE LONG BEFORE the NHL lockout began, Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo has been on his way out of Vancouver.
He was largely beaten out for Vancouver's starting job by up-and-comer Cory Schneider, solidified in the Canucks' first-round loss to Los Angeles last spring.
First, it was supposed to be Luongo to the Florida Panthers, where he once played and now spends the majority of his time in the offseason. It made sense. The Panthers, coming off their first Southeast Division title in team history, need an upgrade for Jose Theodore and Scott Clemmensen.
Then, Luongo was supposedly off to Toronto, where he was expected to help guide the Maple Leafs back to the playoffs for the first time since before the last lockout. New Leafs GM Dave Nonis, who replaced the fired Brian Burke on Wednesday, was the one who acquired Luongo from Florida in Vancouver.
On Wednesday, the hot rumor was Luongo to . . . the Flyers?
It all started with a report from former player-turned-analyst Enrico Ciccone, who tweeted that the Flyers have interest in Luongo. His report was seconded by TSN analyst James Duthie, who is believed to be a close friend of Luongo.
When contacted, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren quickly shot down the rumors.
"That made me chuckle," Holmgren told the Daily News. "It's safe to say those rumors aren't true. They have no basis or merit."
On many levels, the Flyers trading for another goaltender doesn't seem to make sense. Though he has a better track record, Luongo, 33, is 1 year older than Ilya Bryzgalov, and has more years (10) and money remaining on his contract ($47 million). Bryzgalov is due $41 million over the next eight seasons.
Even if the Flyers were to buy out Bryzgalov next summer with the CBA's new "compliance buyout," there are questions about whether they could afford Luongo and Bryzgalov's buyout cap hit on a $64.3 million ceiling.
The NHL's Board of Governors unanimously voted to ratify the CBA's recently completed "memorandum of understanding," paving the way for training camps to officially open on Sunday. All that is needed is a majority vote from 740 players, who will begin that process electronically either Thursday or Friday, for 48 hours.
A schedule has yet to be released, but it is very likely the Flyers will open their season with back-to-back afternoon contests. The first will be at home against the Penguins on Jan. 19, with a 3 o'clock puck drop, according to NBC 10's John Clark. The Flyers are likely to be on the road on Sunday. It was first reported that second game might be against Pittsburgh, but it's looking more like Buffalo . . . Forwards Tom Sestito and Wayne Simmonds are the only players who are not back at the Flyers' practice facility. Sestito, who played in England during the lockout, has a case of the mumps, according to the team.
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