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Say it ain't so, Lou

CenturyvillageIt's not scheduled to happen anytime soon, but Roberto Luongo is getting his opinion out there early.

If the NHL plans to make the nets bigger to improve scoring, he's out. Finished. Gone fishin.

In a conference call with NHL writers, Luongo said goalies need more protection not less. And when asked what he thought about bigger nets, he predictably was against such change.

"If that day comes,'' he said, "I don't think you guys will be seeing me in the NHL."

Really Louie?

"I have no intentions of playing with bigger nets.''

So there you go.

At least South Florida would get him back.

Vinnylecav -- Tampa's Vinny Lecavalier was on one of these conference calls and was big on defending his conference. With two of the past three Cup champs coming from the Southeast, it's not like he needed to do much.

"I think from '98, where people thought it was a weak division, to now, I think it's a great division,'' Vinny the Cavalier said. "They get better every year. I think it's going to be a battle this year. Atlanta won it last year. But there are teams like Washington with Ovechkin, and Carolina we know is going to have a good year this year because they won the Cup and last year didn't go as well for them. We know they'll be ready. I think it's just a great rivalry. When you play teams eight times during the year, it definitely builds that rivalry and makes it tough to win the division. But I think it's a great division. It's getting better every year.

"For hockey in Tampa, I think obviously winning the Cup was pretty big. But it really started before that. When I first got in the league in '98, it was great, but there wasn't that many people at the games. Now it's pretty much sold out every single game and people are excited about the starting of the season. I think it really started the first time we played the playoffs, people really saw what type of team we were. They're very supportive. I think every year it's getting bigger in Tampa, for sure.''

Someone also asked him about playing the best defensemen every night. He brought up Jay Bouwmeester and Bryan Allen as examples.

"It's definitely tough. I mean, when you play against -- there's some pretty big defensemen out there. Pretty tall guys, 6-5, 6-6. You look in our division with Florida Panthers, when you have Allen and Bouwmeester, two really tall guys that can skate, they're very mobile, it's tough, it really is. You have to go through that.

"You have to be maybe more physical or play more simple, put the puck behind them instead of trying to deke them or something like that because it's probably not going to work. So play simple, try to do some two-on-ones against them.''