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Roberto Luongo wins Defensive Player of the Week award


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Luongo wins defensive honor


By Brian Biggane


Palm Beach Post Staff Writer


Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Ten days after hockey analyst Gary Green told The Palm Beach Post that Roberto Luongo needed to earn NHL Defensive Player of the Week honors to help his case for the the Canadian Olympic team, the Florida Panthers' goalie did just that Monday.


With the honor, Luongo is right back in the mix when Hockey Canada names its team at 5 p.m. today, Green said.


"Now it becomes a real, real close race," Green said Tuesday.


Though Green listed five candidates for the three goaltending spots ? New Jersey's Martin Brodeur, Luongo, Dallas' Marty Turco, Phoenix' Curtis Joseph and Buffalo's Martin Biron ? four are eligible. Biron, who has won his past 13 starts and likely will play for the Sabres against Florida on Thursday, was not on Canada's original 81-man roster.


Green said he had fun with Luongo's honor Monday night on Canada's NHL Network.


"I gave Roberto the big thumbs up," he said.


Luongo went 3-1 last week with a 2.25 goals-against average and 94.2 save percentage.


Experts around Canada have expressed the opinion that Luongo should, and will, be picked.


Sports Illustrated's Michael Farber and Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette both said Luongo should be the backup to Brodeur.


"If you'd asked me 10 days ago, I would say Luongo had played his way off the team," Farber said. "But having said that, with Canada, it's who's got the track record, and Roberto has that."


Fisher said Canada's goalies should be Brodeur, Luongo and Turco. But, he said, "it shouldn't surprise anyone if Curtis Joseph made the trip."


Hockey Canada coaches and executives will hold a conference call today to determine the 23-man roster and three-man taxi squad. Panthers coach Jacques Martin, an assistant coach, will participate.



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