Before I begin, I’d like to thank Bolts by the Bay and Fansided for giving me the opportunity to be a staff writer. It is a great pleasure to be on board, along side the other passionate hockey fans who write about the best sport in the world. Now onto Lightning hockey and specifically, goalie Dwayne Roloson.
There has been no shortage of speculation this week from a wide variety of hockey pundits regarding the status of goaltender Dwayne Roloson. As I type, there are rumors being circulated via twitter (which appear to be emanating from ESPN, although I can neither confirm nor deny that) hinting that Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman may be about to make a move in efforts to address the goaltending “issue” many feel the Bolts face this season. Rumor has it that Yzerman will either bring DustinTokarski up from Norfolk to have a go at presiding over the blue paint or a trade is in the works.
Here’s the thing, if one pays attention to what is being sent out to the media from those inside the organization, I have very strong doubts that the Tampa Bay Lightning themselves feel as though net minding is their most glaring problem. Nor do I get the sense that Roloson or Couch Guy Boucher are lacking confidence that things will be better. In this article by Damian Cristodero from TampaBay.com, there is evidence suggesting that Roloson is taking the best attitude in working hard to find his game and minimize his struggles. And again, in this piece by Erik Erelndsson from TBO.com, there is even more evidence pointing toward the positive. Take a listen to Guy Boucher addressing the press prior to tonight’s game and perhaps the rest of my post will make more sense.
Something I certainly understand are those who defend the net. I was a goalie for many years, in a few different sports and competed at high levels with men and women. The other thing I understand is adversity. Having the perspective I have, gives me far more confidence in the goaltending “issue” than most of you. For one thing, the entire team mantra is facing adversity with a good, no quit attitude. That philosophy hasn’t changed much since last year has it? Another thing is the simple fact that no matter how many times I tweet about it or blog about it in my personal blog, those of you who watch the net minders do what they do, but who aren’t actually doing it, have a great deal of difficulty fully grasping the fact that goalies are not out there to score goals or prevent turnovers. Have you ever asked yourself, “How did the puck get down into the D-zone so the other team could score in the first place?”
It bares no real consequence why we fans of hockey think the Tampa Bay Lightning have been struggling this year. Many fans would probably agree that at any point during any NHL season, any team always has the option to bring an AHL net minder up to take a gander at NHL blue paint. This is not a revelation of any kind. I think many fans can also agree that general managers have to make the best decisions they can with what they have available at the time decision needs to be made. If bringing a brand new piece of the puzzle in from outside the organization to replace Roloson seems wise to you right now, perhaps you know better than Steve Yzerman. I feel it utterly unwise to me personally, unless Roloson or Garon become injured and expected to be on IR.
Mathieu Garon has been solid plenty enough to keep a team that has taken it on the chin time and time again this season in the game all things considered. Roloson is a hard working professional who is looking only to improve. We’ll all have to just keep cheering for our boys in blue and kindly ask the hockey gods to let our shots go into the net and keep the opposing team’s shots out of ours. Isn’t that what our team’s philosophy is all about? I think after reading this column from Martin Fennelly of TBO.com, it may be a little easier to let go of a slight amount of frustrastion with Dwayne Roloson and see the big picture. Many aspects of the current scene in Bolts world are hard times. Pinning everything on just one cause, or simply believing that the guys simply don’t have it in them just doesn’t seem to be the “Lightning way.” The numbers will vary and all goalie statistics are essentially based on how the team performs aren’t they? Again, “How did the puck get into the defensive end in the first place?”
I suppose we’ll all have to buckle up and see how this all turns out, but for now, it’s a Tampa Bay Lightning game day. Our boys face off against the Calgary Flames this evening at 7:30 Eastern. For a look at how the Flames match-up, here’s Flame for Thought with their perspective. Go Bolts!
Follow and contact me on Twitter @creasesinger and be sure to follow @BoltsByTheBay to keep up with all the Tampa Bay Lightning fan thoughts.