Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 9/8/13
Roberto Luongo returned to the city he thought he'd left for good Friday pulling on a Vancouver Canucks practice sweater for the first time since the team shocked everyone -- especially Luongo -- by instead trading Cory Schneider to the New Jersey Devils at the NHL Draft. Almost two months later Luongo said it still seemed strange to come back. "It was a bit odd flying here" Luongo said after an informal hour-long skate with more than a dozen teammates. "But now that I am here I am just focused on getting training camp started and making sure I am where I want to be physically." As for where he is mentally Luongo insisted it's a good place. "I have been focused on getting ready for training camp the last month or so trying to eliminate every distraction possible" he said. "And at this point in time that's all I really want to be focused on just playing the game and making sure I get back to where I was two years ago and re-establish myself as one of the best in the League." It was a consistent theme throughout Luongo's 10-minute chat with local reporters a large gathering he helped create by announcing his return on a no-longer secret Twitter account (@Strombone1) the night before. Luongo ended his tweet with "#divatour2013" a reference to a "Ya Done Being A Diva" headline that ran in the Vancouver Province in late August along with a story suggesting he dragged things out by not talking soon after the trade and played a role in being the one who wasn't dealt. Luongo said Friday he wants to finally end a saga that started almost two years ago when Schneider took over as the starting goalie two games into the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs leading Luongo to say it "was time to move on." But when asked directly if he wanted to be back in Vancouver now Luongo who has nine seasons left on a 12-year $64 million contract didn't provide the kind of definitive response that might have put a stop to any lingering questions about his long-term future. "I've said all along I want to play and right now I have that opportunity so I want to take advantage of that and go as far as we can and hopefully try to win a Stanley Cup" Luongo replied. "This is a big year for me. I have been sitting on the bench for a while and I want to show everybody what I can do. We all know it's an Olympic year so I just want to make the best of it." As for that long-term future Luongo said he has stopped worrying about it. And if Friday was any indication he will soon stop talking about it which was one of the reasons he took to Twitter to announce his return to Vancouver.
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