Luongo's Goal Is Beat Isles
By PETER BOTTE
Daily News Sports Writer
ormer Islanders mega-prospect Roberto Luongo admitted the game he
will play tonight was "one of the first things I checked on the
schedule" when he arrived in South Florida.
Players get traded all the time in sports, but the goalie heralded by
The Hockey News for two consecutive years as the sport's top prospect
never figured the summer would be his time.
Luongo, 21, is expected to be in nets when the Islanders visit the
Panthers tonight in Sunrise, Fla.
He said Monday that his initial anger over the draft-day deal â" which
landed him and forward Olli Jokinen in Florida for forwards Mark
Parrish and Oleg Kvasha â" has subsided. Somewhat.
"To this day I don't understand it. But that's part of hockey,"
Luongo said. "I don't think I have to show (GM Mike Milbury)
anything. I know what I'm capable of, and if he doesn't there's
something wrong (with him).
"Every year they're rebuilding," Luongo said of the Isles. "They've
traded away five or six first-round picks. I don't know when they'll
actually stick together."
Luongo, the fourth overall selection in the 1997 draft, has played
extremely well despite the Panthers' 1-3-3-3 start. He owns a 2.13
goals-against average and a .921 save percentage despite an 0-3-2
Milbury's new goaltending flavor of the month, 19-year-old Rick
DiPietro, is 2-3 with a 4.09 goals-against for IHL Chicago.