Panthers' Montoya: 'I'm not just there to give Roberto [Luongo] a night off'
The Florida Panthers signed goalie Al Montoya to a two-year, $2.1 million deal on July 1, and while he knows he's the backup to starter Roberto Luongo, he's not taking his role lightly.
“The coach and the team knows what I’m capable of and when I’m called, I’m going out there to win games,” Montoya told the Miami Herald on Monday.
The veteran netminder understands his role, and is more than willing to support Luongo while giving the team a chance to win when called upon.
“I’m not just there to give Roberto a night off, I’m there to help the team move forward. I’m looking forward to the challenge. I think things are headed in the right direction. I haven’t seen my best yet."
Montoya is also the NHL's first Cuban-American born player, and he's looking forward to helping grow the game in a community with a large Cuban population.
“I’m not only able to further my career, but do so with a team that wants to bring a winning franchise to South Florida," Montoya said.
The 29-year-old was born in Chicago, and he hopes to show the people a bit further south that hockey can be enjoyed and played by everyone.
“I was blessed with a gift and the Cuban people are a motivated bunch, a passionate bunch,” he said.
“I’m just lucky enough to where I have an arena to show off my American dream. It doesn’t matter where you come from or where you’ve been. Everyone can play hockey. Like I said, the Cuban people are very passionate. Once they figure out what the game is like, it’s tough to let go.”