We have some sad news to report regarding one of the National Hockey League's most beloved figures.
According to an official announcement from the Florida Panthers, veteran goaltender Roberto Luongo will be taking a leave of absence from the team due to what appears to be a family tragedy. At this time we can't say exactly what happened due to the sensitive and private nature of this topic but the Florida Panthers have been able to confirm that Luongo will be taking time off away from the team on bereavement leave.
It is a really tough break in what has already been a fairly tough season for the long time National Hockey League goaltender who has struggled to find consistency between the pipes this season. Through 30 games played for the Panthers this season Luongo has struggled recording a 3.14 goals against average and an .895 save percentage. Now on top of having to deal with whatever issues may stem from his poor performance Luongo has been hit with some additional concerns that have forced him to step away from the game entirely at this time.
The Florida Panthers have not provided a time table for Luongo's return but in cases of bereavement the player is usually not absent for more than just a few days. Granted that I must admit it could vary greatly depending on the person affected by the tragedy as well as how close they were to the person that has passed. Additionally you have to wonder if this has been an ongoing concern for Luongo this season, and if that is indeed the case you have to wonder how much of a role that could have played in his slumping performance this season.
What makes this announcement particularly sad is that it is happening to one of the truly good guys of the National Hockey League. Not only does Luongo nearly always have a smile on his face but he has a reputation for always making extra time for his fans as well as for his self deprecating humor on social media.
Whatever it is that has caused him to step away from the game, I hope he can bounce back soon and be healthy both mentally and physically and our thoughts go out to the Luongo family at this time.
Photo Credit: Charles Trainor Jr/Miami Herald