BOSTON (CBS) — The NHL trade deadline is always crazy, but a move made late Tuesday afternoon may prove to be the craziest moment in the NHL in 2014.
The Vancouver Canucks have traded goaltender Roberto Luongo and F Steven Anthony to Florida. The news was first reported by Renaud Lavoie on Twitter, and the Panthers will send Jacob Markstrom and Shawn Matthias to Vancouver in the deal.
What’s crazy about the move, first and foremost, is Vancouver’s ability to rid itself of the albatross that is Luongo’s contract (12 years, $64 million, runs through 2022), which caused all sorts of roster issues and essentially forced Vancouver to part with Cory Schneider last year. (TSN’s Darren Dreger reported that the Canucks will retain 15 percent of Luongo’s contract.)
But the real wild part is this: Luongo will now be teammates with Tim Thomas, the man who opposed him in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final and famously elected to not “pump his tires” during the heated series between the Canucks and Bruins.
Thomas had some fun with that famous quote following Florida’s 4-1 loss to the Bruins.
“I did have one good line that probably somebody else has already thought of: It looked like [Panthers GM] Dale [Tallon] went kicking some tires and found one that needed pumping,” Thomas said with a chuckle.
“It’ll be interesting, but you know what, I don’t know how things are going to work out, but assuming I’m staying in Florida, it’ll be interesting,” said Thomas. “I’m looking forward to it. It’ll be fun.”
Thomas, 39, signed a one-year deal with Florida last offseason after he took a yearlong break from the NHL last season. Luongo, 34, spent five seasons with the Panthers from 2000-06, before becoming a member of the Vancouver Canucks.
The pair’s history goes back to June 2011, when Luongo criticized Thomas for his overly aggressive style of play.
“It’s not hard if you’re playing in the paint. It’s an easy save for me, but if you’re wandering out, that’s going to happen,” Luongo said of Thomas.
The next day, Luongo tried to explain himself, saying of Thomas, “I’ve been pumping his tires ever since the series started and I haven’t heard one nice thing he had to say about me.”
Thomas was told of these comments by the media and responded in a way that has become legend in Boston.
“I guess I didn’t realize it was my job to pump his tires,” Thomas said. “I guess I have to apologize for that.”
Now, Thomas can apologize in person, because he and Luongo stand to be spending some quality time together for the rest of the season.
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