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With D Matt Smaby out, Tampa Bay Lightning calls up Mike Vernace from Norfolk (updated)



The Tampa Bay Lightning called up defenseman Mike Vernace from AHL Norfolk. The move was made because Matt Smaby became ill overnight and will not play Tuesday against the Flyers.

"At 8:30 this morning he was still puking," coach Guy Boucher said of Smaby.

Here is the announcement from the team:

The Tampa Bay Lightning, NHL parent club of the Norfolk Admirals, have recalled defenseman Mike Vernace (vuhr-NAYS) from the Admirals today, Lightning Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced.

Vernace, 6-foot, 216 pounds, has played in eight games with Tampa Bay this season, averaging 8:33 in ice time per game. He last appeared for the Lightning on November 20 against the Buffalo Sabres, logging 4:41 of ice time and landing two hits. He made his debut with Tampa Bay on October 9 against Atlanta and played a season-high 16:33 in ice time October 16 at Florida. He has played in 20 career NHL games with the Lightning and Colorado Avalanche.

A native of Toronto, Ontario, Vernace has skated in 45 games with the Admirals this season, recording six goals and 20 points. He ranks second among team defensemen for goals and power-play goals (2) and is also first for points. In 281 career American Hockey League games between Norfolk, Hamilton, Lake Erie and Albany, Vernace has scored 15 goals and 91 points.

Vernace was signed by the Lightning as a free agent on July 29, 2010. He was originally drafted by the San Jose Sharks in the seventh round, 201st overall, of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

Other stuff from the morning skate: Dwayne Roloson is expected to get the start in net. ... Center Nate Thompson will miss his third straight game with what is believed to be at least a mild concussion. Sounds as if he will be ready for Thursday against the Red Wings. "If we had one more day he probably would be ready," Boucher said. "But we don't want to take a chance. He's too important to our team to get him in one game and then lose him for 20." Boucher said it is part of his philosophy to be cautious with injuries. "When I started my coaching career I didn't want to hear guys were hurt," he said. "As you move along, you eventually figure out for one game that you get, you lose a lot more. If you're i the playoffs it's different, where one game will mean the difference between life and death. We're not there yet, so we always try to be cautious with the players that are injured." ... Boucher said he has cautioned his team about being overconfident against the Flyers. Tampa Bay was overconfident against the Capitals after shutting out Washington in two straight games, and the Lightning got spanked. "The last time we played Washington here I don't think we had the normal fear," Boucher said. "You don't have to be scared of the other team but at least you have to respect what the other team can do." ... As to what he expects to see from Philadelphia, who just traded for forward Kris Versteeg, Boucher said, "The Flyers are coming in all jacked up with a new player. We're aware we've beaten them three time and they're coming here for business. We certainly don't expect a picnic."

[Last modified: Thursday, March 17, 2011 12:15am]


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