The Interview: Roberto Luongo

Roberto Luongo
Age: 36 | Height: 6-3 | Weight: 217 lb.
Hardware: Jennings Trophy, 2011; Olympic gold medal, 2010 & ’14

Your playing style has evolved a lot over the years. How many versions of you have we seen in net?
I would say three or four. There are always new techniques coming out that can improve performance. I try to stay on top of that and if I find that something new might be helpful, I’ll try it out. Especially now that I’m a bit older, you can’t just rely on being athletic and sliding around all over the place. [Laughs.] You gotta save some energy, you know?

Wait—are you saying that now that you’re older, you’re not athletic?
No, I am. I just can’t be all the time. Only in desperate measures can you rely on that stuff.

You’re playing really well. Did you expect this at 36? Not that 36 is old…
[Laughs.] Yeah, exactly. I feel pretty good about my play. You always feel like you could be better. But you know what? The team is playing so well in front of me, it makes me look good. When that happens, the confidence grows and you feel like you play better. Numbers-wise it’s one of the best seasons I’ve had.

Did Jaromir Jagr teach you the secret to aging well?
Yeah, just looking at him makes me feel young. That’s a big advantage.

Do you chirp players a lot from your net?
In practice, yeah. I like to have fun with the guys. During games sometimes I like to mess around with other players but I usually don’t chirp them because I don’t want that to come back and bite me in the ass, you know?

Which teammates do you rip on the most?
I like to make fun of Brian Campbell’s shot. It’s not very hard. Or Jagr’s age. Those are my two favourites to go to, pretty much on a daily basis. I sit beside Jagr in the locker room, so it’s easy for me to just turn my head and give him a little chirp.

A lot has happened over the course of your career. How would you explain it all to someone who didn’t know you?
I wouldn’t know where to start. There have been a lot of ups and some downs that have been well-documented. All in all, I’d say I’ve had a successful career. But I’m still in search of the lord almighty, you know?

I’m trying to think of a way to bring up the diarrhea incident. [Editor’s note: Luongo missed the first three minutes of OT in game five of the 2007 Western Conference Final because of an untimely trip to the bathroom.]
[Laughs.] Well, you just did.

Yeah, sorry. Does that come up more than, say, your Olympic gold-medal performance in Vancouver?
Um, I think it’s a better story, maybe? [Laughs.] It comes up quite a bit.

How would you define your reputation off the ice?
Normal, for a goalie? Usually goalies are weird. I’m kind of a relaxed, chill guy. And maybe some people think I’m funny.

You are funny.
I try to be. Maybe funny-looking? I try not to take myself too seriously. Even in the bad times, it’s important to take the positive out of it and try to have fun.

You have the best Twitter account. Do you giggle while writing your tweets?
Thank you. No, but I always proofread about five times to make sure I’m not saying anything inappropriate or offending anybody. I like to [test] the line, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t like to cross it. Then, once it’s out, depending on the reaction from the people, I’ll have a laugh or not.

Do you have a favourite tweet?
I think the Kardashian one, where there was a photoshopped picture of my head on Kim’s body. [Laughs.] That one was pretty good.

Draft day must have been exciting, being the highest goalie selected to that point.
It was crazy. I wasn’t exactly sure where I was going to end up; there was a lot of talk. I remember sitting in the stands and, after the first few names, hearing my name called out. I don’t even remember the rest of the day. It was nice at that time to be the highest ever. The Islanders had the fourth and fifth picks, so it was nice of them to pick me with the first one so I could have the record.

You can eliminate any one player from the ice; you’d never have to see him on a breakaway again. Who is it?
Tyler Seguin. He’s got a good shot and he’s smart when he’s coming down on you. He’s a sniper.

I heard your mom cleared out the basement when you and your two brothers were little, preparing to rent it out. Then you made it unrentable.
That’s right, we trashed it. We played hockey down there every day. There were holes in the walls everywhere and the carpet was ruined. We had a lot of fun.

Martin Brodeur and Felix Potvin both came through the same midget team as you. At that point, did you figure you were NHL-bound?
Yeah, I think it was probably when I was about 16. Agents were starting to approach me. That’s when it dawned on me that maybe I had a chance.

Did you give up on school after that?
Not that year. [Laughs.] I did that when I went to play junior, when I had to move away from home. It gets difficult for some reason when Mom and Dad aren’t there to overlook you doing your homework every night.

Did you fail?
I didn’t fail. It was close. Usually I was always in the 90th percentile, and my last year of high school in Val-d’Or, I barely passed.

Lucky the goalie thing worked out.
Yeah, thank God.

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