D Evan Oberg has been called up 5 times by the Tampa Bay Lightning; will he ever get in a game?
The Tampa Bay Lightning called up defenseman Evan Oberg from AHL Norfolk for the fifth time on Thursday, each time as an insurance policy because an injury has cut the NHL team's depth. But Oberg has yet to get into a game and, big picture, that is just fine with him because of what he's getting out of being with an NHL club.
And we're not just talking about frequent flier miles or the NHL paycheck.
"I think I've gained a lot of experience," Oberg said Friday in Dallas, where he will again be a healthy scratch. "I know what to expect up here. I've learned a lot from the coaching staff and players. I think I've taken a lot out of it."
"When you're more comfortable, you're not going to think too much out there, you're just going to go out there and play your game," Oberg said. "Confidence goes a long way when you're at this level. A lot of guys have the same skill set, but if you're confident with yourself and don't question your abilities, it makes the game a lot easier."
Oberg, 23, has two goals and six points in 13 games for Norfolk since being acquired in December from the Panthers organization.
Asked what he thought Oberg was getting out of this experience, Lightning coach Guy Boucher joked, "The first thing he can take is a different paycheck, eh?"
But seriously, "Anytime you can get an opportunity to practice and watch games played by (Marty) St. Louis, (Steven) Stamkos, (Vinny) Lecavalier and defensemen like (Eric) Brewer, you can watch so much by watching guys do their thing and see how professional they are," Boucher said. "I would have given anything back in the day to practice with those guys. He's getting many."
"I'm happy," Oberg said. "I want to be up here. Every time I come up I'm expecting I'm going to play. If I get that call, I'm more than ready to show what I've got."
Other stuff from the morning skate: As expected, Mathieu Garon gets the start in net tonight against the Stars. Dwayne Roloson, who hasn't won since Nov. 17 (0-6-1 in 11 games) gets the start Saturday in Phoenix. ... Forward Tom Pyatt, who left Thursday's practice limping, will not play Friday and is day-to-day with a lower-body injury believed to be of his left leg. Pyatt said he does not expect to be out a significant amount of time. ... Forward Dana Tyrell (lower body), who missed one game, is expected to play. ... Wing Ryan Shannon (knee) participated in the morning skate with a red no-contact jersey. ... Forwards J.T. Wyman (pinkie) and Adam Hall (forearm) skated after the morning skate. ... Hall, hurt Jan. 5, was supposed to be out up to eight weeks, but Boucher said that timetable has quickened. "It's a lot ahead of schedule," he said. "He's been doing everything the doctors have been asking him to do. He's extremely professional, so it's going a lot faster than we thought."