Roberto Luongo is winning starts. He’s winning games. And he’s winning plaudits for his poise amid the never-ending trade-watch marathon. He also picked the Baltimore Ravens to win the Super Bowl.

“Of course, you should know that,” he chuckled Monday following the game-day skate.

That wasn’t the only one-liner the Vancouver Canucks goaltender delivered. And whatever line you choose to believe with general manager Mike Gillis and assistant Laurence Gilman sighted Sunday in Washington — where the struggling Capitals again proved their goaltending is in peril with the tandem of Michal Neuvirth and Braden Holtby — the drama will continue to play out. Gillis did reach out to Caps GM George McPhee and said his appearance wasn’t meant to cause a distraction, but it did just that.

Let’s be honest. It created an instant buzz and wide-spread speculation. Centre Marcus Johnasson and prospect winger Filip Forsberg were quickly considered the right package for Luongo, even if nine full years left on his contract after this season isn’t a fit for McPhee. The $5.3-million-US salary cap hit is attractive, but not the $6.7 million Luongo will be paid the next five years. At least that’s what McPhee was saying.

“I really don’t have any comment about it,” shrugged Luongo, who took the league’s second best goals-against average (1.46) and saves percentage (.944) into Monday night’s meeting with the Oilers. “Mike hasn’t approached me with anything in regards to that. I’m not going to speculate and I don’t want it to be a distraction. There’s no point in worrying about it and it would only hurt my game and my teammates.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen down the road. I don’t like to think it out, I just like to play. I tried to figure it out for seventh months and I couldn’t and I’m still here. I stopped doing that a while ago.”

Luongo’s career numbers speak for themselves, but his fourth-straight start and being named NHL third star of the week will quicken the pulse of impulsive owners and desperate GMs looking to save their jobs. That probably has a lot to do with Luongo’s laid-back demeanour and Schneider’s realization that he’s got to allow the process to play out. The Florida Panthers also have a goaltending problem with Jose Theordore and Scott Clemmensen and rank 29th in goals allowed per game. The Capitals are 27th.



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