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July 31, 2013 | 9:37am ET
Bieksa ready to roll with Luongo
TheFourthPeriod.com

The Vancouver Canucks have undergone a few major changes this summer, and while a new face will lead them behind the bench, a familiar one will lead them between the pipes.

Bieksa was surprised to learn on June 30 that the Canucks traded young netminder Cory Schneider instead of veteran Roberto Luongo, after the team had feverishly tried to deal him.

Everyone within the hockey community was surprised to hear of the news, including both Schneider and Luongo.

"I'd probably be lying if I said I wasn't shocked. I think most people were," said Bieksa, before hitting the links at the 21st annual NHLPA Golf Classic in Oakville, Ontario, on Tuesday. "It was something that probably came out of the blue, and I don't think anyone had an idea.

"With contracts and the salary cap today, things like that are going to happen. It's a business, and at the end of the day, you put your head down and go to work."

Luongo wasn't informed of the Canucks' decision to keep him until after he heard the news of the Schneider trade on television, and he's yet to officially speak publicly since the deal.

Canucks GM Mike Gillis and team owner Francesco Aquilini flew down to meet with Luongo on two separate occasions since the trade, and the team expects him to attend training camp in September.

"I think he's doing okay," Bieksa said of Luongo. "Obviously, it's a pretty difficult situation. This has been going on for a year and a half now, he's had to have a thick skin through the whole process -- I think he's handled it extremely well and like a professional, but it is still tough.

"I haven't spoken to him recently, we did exchange texts a little bit after Cory was traded, but I'm assuming I'll see him soon and everything will be nice and peachy."

The move was equally difficult for Schneider, who was expected to take over at the Canucks' No. 1 goalie next season. Instead, he'll spend the 2013-14 campaign under Martin Brodeur, who is expected to be playing in his final NHL season.

"It was a difficult thing for (Schneider), as well," Bieksa said. "I don't think he had a lot of heads up."

Barring a dramatic change of events, Luongo will be the Canucks' starting goalie this coming season.

Bieksa can't wait for the new season to get underway, and is interested to see how things will be under new head coach John Tortorella.

"I'm looking forward to it," he said. "(Tortorella's) a proven winner; he's won a Stanley Cup before, he's very intense. I think he'll be good for our team and we're really excited to have a clean slate and to start the season."

The Canucks haven't made many roster moves this off-season, which has led to many questions about the club's ability to go deep in the playoffs after a quick first-round exit in May.

"We have high expectations for our group," Bieksa said. "We've had the same core guys there for a while, but that's the result of guys taking long-term deals at bargain rates because they want to be there. The guys that are there want to be there; they've left money on the table from other teams to stay. There is talk that we're getting older, but I think that we're as hungry as ever, though. We're kind of chomping at the bit to get going."

TFP Editor-in-Chief David Pagnotta contributed to this report.


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