Roberto Luongo crossed a significant milestone when he suited up on Thursday night against the Boston Bruins. The game marked the 1,000th of Luongo’s career, making him just the third goaltender in NHL history to reach that plateau.
Did the Florida Panthers celebrate the occasion? Nope. But that’s because Luongo requested that any celebrations wait until a more appropriate time when his team wasn’t in the middle of a tight playoff race.
— Jameson Olive (@JamesonCoop) April 5, 2018
If you can’t make out Luongo’s full quote above, it can be summarized by saying that he recognizes the Panthers are pushing for the playoffs and that he doesn’t feel a ceremony or celebration honoring his individual accomplishment would be appropriate at this time.
Luongo had some additional thoughts for the Sun-Sentinel.
“It’s a nice milestone, it’s all fine and dandy. Like I said, I think right now the most important thing is we have three games left. They’re all crucial. We know that and it starts with tonight.
I got to tell you, 100 percent of my focus is on that right now. It’s all that matters to me. Milestones are great. They’re nice to reflect on during the offseason.”
Those last two sentences would make a great motivational poster.
You’ve got to respect Luongo’s approach as he nears the final stages of his career. At this point, one more shot at a Stanley Cup is worth way more than any celebration honoring his 1,000th game. That many games is an immense accomplishment for a goalie at the NHL level, but we think Luongo has his priorities in order.
For what it’s worth, the Panthers picked up a big 3-2 win over the Bruins on Wednesday, helped by Luongo’s 26-save effort.