Roberto Luongo

Did you end up in goal because you weren’t a good skater? No. As a kid I always wanted to play goal even though my parents didn’t want me to. I like it because it’s the key position, like a quarterback in football or a pitcher in baseball. There’s no feeling like making a big save, the crowd noise and everything, with the game on the line.

Canada’s probable Olympic goalies in 2010—you and Martin Brodeur—grew up a couple of blocks from one another in Montreal. What are the odds? I don’t know why so many goalies come out of Quebec. Maybe it’s because kids there grew up idolizing Patrick Roy. I played with Marty at the Torino Olympics in 2006, which was nice. It would be great playing together again if it works out that way.

Do you lose weight during the course of a season? I remember Ken Dryden saying he’d lose at least 15 pounds. Maybe he wasn’t in great shape when he came to training camp! Seriously, though, it’s different now—we’ve got recovery drinks and stuff, and our strength and conditioning coach is good with nutrition. I used to lose weight when I was younger, but not anymore.

Do you work out all year? Yes, six times a week in the summer, with a personal trainer. I try to arrive at camp in the best condition possible.

Are you superstitious? In the sense of having the same routine on game days. For lunch I make a little pasta and chicken. Then I have a nap. Get up, shower, grab a snack, and get to the rink at least two hours before game time.

Have you got a favourite place to eat in Vancouver? I like sushi—Tojo’s is my choice for that. There’s three or four spots near me in Yaletown where they know me and there’s some privacy. Cioppino’s has great food. Blue Water Cafe.

How does playing here compare to playing in Florida? Does it bother you that privacy is hard to come by? It’s night and day compared to Florida. Here people are so passionate about their team; the rink’s always sold-out. Being in public is something you have to get used to, but it goes with the territory, and they’re always positive encounters.

Do you become quiet and withdrawn before a game, like some goalies? Depends. The guys’ll be talking, and I’ll usually add my thoughts. I talk more than I used to. I usually watch film of the other team before a game.

What music do you like in the dressing room? Something to get me pumped up just before we go out. My favourite band is U2.

If you could add one player from another team to the Canucks, who would it be? Who’s the best player in the NHL right now? There’s great young talent these days. Malkin, Toews, Crosby, Phaneuf, Kovalchuk. Ovechkin’s a great sniper. But I’d have to say Sid. He’s a passer as well as a scorer. A playmaker. He’s really strong. He’s got all the tools.

Are you the best poker player on the team? I’d go along with that. But don’t tell Kevin Bieksa I said so.