Adam Wilcox on his 'special' first callup to Lightning
Goalie Adam Wilcox misses a lot of calls as he leaves his phone on silent.
But Wilcox, 24, was glad he checked his phone Wednesday before heading to the AHL Syracuse charity poker tournament. He had a missed call from Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman.
"It's either good or bad," Wilcox said, smiling.
Oh it was a good. Great actually. Wilcox called back and found out he was receiving his first NHL callup, and will back up starter Andrei Vasilevskiy tonight against the Predators.
"I almost blacked out, I was so excited," Wilcox said. "I started shaking. It's kind of one of those once in a lifetime feelings. Your first callup. It was special."
Whether Wilcox plays for the Lightning this time remains to be seen. Coach Jon Cooper pointed out a key reason for the callup was so Kristers Gudlevskis could get some playing time with the Crunch. Gudlevskis hasn't started a game since his recall Jan. 21, backing up Vasilevskiy. But Wilcox has certainly earned his promotion with a strong second pro season with Syracuse (13-5-2, 2.55 goals against average).
"Everything about my game has really gotten better," Wilcox said. "I had to have a good summer and kind of establish myself. It's a contract year. It's been a huge jump from being calm, in control, playing the puck, depth. Everything had to get better."
The past couple weeks couldn't have been much better for Wilcox, who got engaged to girlfriend Jayna Anderson Dec. 23. But this callup made it more special. It also means all six Lightning draft picks from 2011 class have been called up (Vladislav Namestnikov, Nikita Kucherov, Nikita Nesterov, Ondrej Palat, Matthew Peca, Wilcox). Wilcox recalled watching a Lightning game recently and seeing a graphic with the 2011 class, and Wilcox was the only one not on the roster.
"I'm like, "I've got to be up there or I'll be the anchor of the draft class," Wilcox joked. "It was a special draft class. I still remember that day, getting drafted and meeting (Yzerman). All those emotions and memories came back to me (Wednesday) when I got the call."
More from skate: G Andrei Vasilevskiy will make his seventh straight start... C Cedric Paquette will return to the lineup after missing the last six with a lower body injury.... "I wasn't expecting to miss so many games but felt good today and ready for tonight," Paquette said... Rookies Adam Erne and Matthew Peca will be in the lineup after strong games Tuesday. "They don't give you a reason to pull them out," Cooper said.... C Brian Boyle didn't skate again and will miss another game with a lower body injury..