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Sport Roberto Luongo, 39, to return for 19th NHL season: 'I'm not going anywhere'

04:30  11 april  2018
04:30  11 april  2018 Source:   latimes.com

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  Panthers spoil Bruins' bid for top seed in East Roberto Luongo came off the bench to shut down Boston in the third period, and the Florida Panthers dashed the Bruins' hopes of getting the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs with a 4-2 win Sunday night.Roberto Luongo came off the bench to shut down Boston in the third period, and the Florida Panthers dashed the Bruins' hopes of getting the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs with a 4-2 win.

Lu should be good for 4 more seasons - easy, in great shape, mind, body soul and lets be real, the fans, media and local beat writers are pretty chill in Florida.

- Roberto Luongo isn't done just yet.The 39 -year-old goaltender announced during Thursday's locker cleanout at " I ' m not going anywhere ," said Luongo , chuckling as if it was even a question. With Florida's season hanging in the balance, Luongo was spectacular down the stretch, going 3-0-0 with

a hockey game in the snow: Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo stops the puck against the Winnipeg Jets at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., on January 4, 2017.© David Santiago/El Nuevo Herald/TNS Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo stops the puck against the Winnipeg Jets at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., on January 4, 2017.

SUNRISE, Fla. - Roberto Luongo left no doubt. He's coming back next season.

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"Oh yeah, for sure," he said Tuesday morning after the Florida Panthers cleaned out their lockers. "I'm not going anywhere."

The 39-year-old goaltender will play his 19th NHL season when October rolls around, after a season in which he missed significant time due to injuries. Luongo missed time because of injuries to his hand (six games), groin (27 games) and ribs (one game).

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Panthers goalie Luongo ' not going anywhere '. Roberto Luongo said Tuesday he'll return for a 19 th NHL season in 2018-19. Luongo , 39 , has four years remaining on a 12-year contract he signed with the Vancouver Canucks in 2009.

- Roberto Luongo is back and better than ever.After a recurring hip issue cut his 2016-17 campaign short, the 39 -year-old netminder returned with a vengeance this season , posting an 18-11-2 record with three shutouts, a 2.47 goals-against average and a " I ' m not going anywhere ," Luongo said.

Last week, Luongo became just the third goaltender ever to play in 1,000 NHL games and could move into third place on the all-time wins list next season. He has four more years on a contract that ends after the 2021-22 season.

When he was healthy this season, Luongo was incredible. He posted a .929 save percentage (his best since 2003-04) to go with a 2.47 goals against average. When the team needed wins during a busy stretch run, coach Bob Boughner turned to Luongo to lead them.

"With the run we had and falling short, it's tough to reflect on it and feel good about yourself," Luongo said. "I think it's going to take a couple weeks to get over the fact that we just fell short. Right now, just trying to deal with the disappointment of not making the playoffs."

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Roberto Luongo , 39 , to return for 19 th NHL season : ' I ’ m not going anywhere '.

Roberto Luongo (/luˈɒŋɡoʊ/; born April 4, 1979) is a Canadian professional ice hockey goaltender for the Florida Panthers of the National Hockey League ( NHL ). Born in Montreal, Quebec, he is of Italian and Irish ancestry.

Boughner added: "When he was at his best, he could still be one of the better goalies in the league. The key for him is his health."

Luongo only played in 35 games this season, the second consecutive year his playing time has dropped. For the second year in a row, backup James Reimer led the Panthers in games played.

As Luongo's age climbs, the questions about his age and health swell. In an ideal world, Luongo said, he'd like to play between 50 and 60 games, "hopefully if everything goes well." He played at least 50 games in 13 of 14 seasons prior to the last two campaigns, when he combined to play 75 games, including 72 starts.

"At the beginning of the year, I always start off with a goal of 82," Luongo joked. "I want to play all of them. But then it dwindles down."

Last season, Luongo missed the final five weeks with a hip injury. In the offseason, he incorporated a new routine to keep his hip aligned and himself healthy. Heading into this summer, Luongo said he would discuss how to best prepare for next season.

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| Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo discusses reaching the milestone of 1,000 career NHL games ahead of Florida's "It's been a long run, and I ' m going to try to keep it going as long as possible," Luongo said. This season , he's battled a handful of injuries to return to the Panthers lineup.

FOX Sports GO FAQ. Roberto Luongo News. NHL Awards: Behind the Scenes. NHL Tonight: Barkov and Luongo . Roberto Luongo Awards. William M . Jennings Trophy. Season .

"Whether it's injuries or age or what not," Luongo said, "once we let a few weeks go by, once I sit down with the training staff here and my trainer in the summer and we set up a good program where I get strong and in shape, but at the same time, I'm fresh and stay healthy."

Luongo often cites a passion for the game of hockey that keeps him playing.

He wants to keep playing while he still can at a high level. He wants another crack at the Stanley Cup that has eluded him throughout his career, that is the missing line from an otherwise Hall of Fame resume.

"When you're not playing, you feel it because you see the guys playing and you want to be part of it," Luongo said. "Now, when you're going to be out of the playoffs and you see it on TV and you want to be part of it, that's when you know you still have that desire. I think when you miss playing when you're not, that's an indication that you want to keep going."

Luongo has a modified no-trade clause and has said he wants to live in Parkland after he retires. When he does retire has an impact on the Panthers' future at the position. Reimer is signed for three more seasons and 21-year-old Sam Montembeualt is concluding his first year of professional hockey.

Luongo's salary is almost halved next season to about $3.4 million next season, and then drops to $1.6 million the year after that. The final two seasons are both worth $1 million. Reimer has never been a full-time starter in the NHL, but his .913 save percentage was higher than the league average .908.

Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said he was pleased with the goaltenders this season, especially in front of a young defense, but cautioned that Florida would need more goalies.

"We have to make sure that we have a lot of depth in that position," Tallon said. "That's something we'll address moving forward."

Visit the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) at www.sun-sentinel.com

Parkland survivors rally in Colo. on eve of Columbine massacre .
School shooting survivors from Parkland, Fla. rallied in Colorado on Thursday — the night before the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting — to push for stronger national gun control.  Headlined as “Vote for Our Lives,” the rally, adjacent to the site of the 1999 massacre, pushed for gun-control legislation to protect students in schools. Part of the effort involves getting high school students registered to vote if they’ll be 18 by the next election. Thousands of students across the country are also expected to walk out of classes Friday to protest ongoing gun violence.

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