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It was overshadowed in Vancouver, as you might have heard that something kind of incredible happened at Rogers Arena on Thursday night. But across the continent, down in the deep throes of Florida, former Vancouver Canuck goaltender Roberto Luongo was making history.
Luongo became just the third goalie in NHL history to play 1,000 games in a 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins, joining Hall of Famers (and consensus top three ‘tenders of all time) Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy.
Luongo played eight seasons for the Canucks. Though his tenure in Vancouver ended in infamy when he was traded shortly after being stapled to the bench during the NHL’s Heritage Classic at BC Place by then-coach John Tortorella, his legacy in Vancouver is still treated with respect. He’s widely (and rightly) regarded as the best goaltender in Canucks history.
Yes, he’s spent more seasons in Florida as a Panther, but he was in his prime in Vancouver and has never come nearly as close to a Stanley Cup as he did with the Canucks during the ill-fated 2011 run.
He hasn't lifted the cup yet (and it's hard to see that happening at this point in his career), but he did win an Olympic gold medal at Rogers Arena, something many of his detractors love to ignore.
When he retires, Luongo will likely be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and he’ll be up near the top of many goaltending records. He already holds a few Canucks records, including all-time wins in a Vancouver jersey.
He’ll also probably retire as a Panther, which may irk some fans. But Luongo remembers Vancouver fondly, even as there were some tough times between the organization and player.
Let no one ever accuse us of not pumping his tires. He’s one of the best-ever goalies to grace the NHL, and Vancouver was lucky to have him in the pipes for eight seasons.
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