More on the trade, Desjardins and, oh yeah, the game
It was quite a crazy night here at the St. Pete Times Forum, from rookie goalie Cedrick Desjardins performance, to the overtime win and the trade for veteran goalie Dwayne Roloson (a move that was announced around 11 p.m.).
Since it all happened at once, I wanted to give more details on all that went on tonight, so nothing got lost in the shuffle.
*First the trade, with Tampa Bay acquiring Roloson for minor league defenseman Ty Wishart. Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said the move has been debated for a while, and it seems as though the team felt this was the best opportunity to get him.
“Either you make your decision for a lot of reasons, or things can change,” Yzerman said. “You make the decision because the opportunity might not be there in a day, a week, or who knows?”
Yzerman said Roloson, who was in Calgary tonight with the Islanders, will fly to this area tommorrow by Sunday night and be ready for practice on Monday. (Damian covered the potentially tough decision the Lightning will have by carrying three goalies in a previous post on here).
*Then, of course, there's Desjardins. The rookie has been extremely impressive in his first two NHL games, winning both starts in saving 61 of 63 shots. Desjardins said he was a little nervous, like his debut Thursday against the Canadiens, but felt more in control, and is even more confident than before he can play at this level.
Coach Guy Boucher, who coached Desjardins for three seasons in juniors, said that looked more like himself. "That was the boy I know," he said.
Center Nate Thompson put it best: "Unbelievable. I'm speecheless. For him to make the saves he did tonight at key moments. I can't say enough about him, he was awesome tonight.
"He's seizing the opportunity. He's coming in and getting the opportunity to play and making big stop after big stop like a veteran goaltender."
Boucher said Desjardins was actually more impressive Saturday than Thursday's debut against the Canadiens, an organization he played in for four years without a callup.
"For me, that was the more important game than last game, because when the adrenaline is down and the player knows the day before he’s playing and he has to manage it like an NHL goaltender, go through all the the normal scenarios of how to get prepare for a game, have to reload for this game. To me, that was the bigger test for him. That's the one where you see him in his normal state. I think it was even better than last game."
Even Yzerman said Desjardins did great, and reaffirmed what Boucher had said about him. But that being said, it was never the short-term plan for Desjardins to stay up here. He wasn't even supposed to play (at least, until G Mike Smith got hurt), rather work with goalie coach Frantz Jean during Norfolk's break.
Yzerman said they see Desjardins as part of their future, but just not their present.
"Our plan was to bring Cedrick up while Smitty was hurt and send him back down when Smitty was healthy," Yzerman said. "He got a chance to play in two games. We had hoped to see him at the NHL level and assess him. It's mostly for the future."
"We're very pleased with how Cedric played. "Having said that, he's played two games in the NHL. We're not going to rush anybody into something. And this opportunity (trade) might not have been there had we waited longer. SO we feel like we have the best of both worlds. We still have Cedric Desjardins in our organization and available to us. And we have Dwayne Roloson."
*And, there was the game, a 2-1 overtime thriller. Like it has all season, the Lightning bounced back from adversity (a tying goal in the final minute by the Rangers). And, like it has all season, it got scoring production from its third and fourth lines, with Dana Tyrell and Nate Thompson combining for both goals.
Tyrell scored his goal in the first period, with some Thompson hustle getting the puck to Tyrell on the right side for a 2-on-1. He tried to deke, but the puck rolled off his stick and slipped through Henrik Lundqvist, who also had a spectacular game.
"It wasn't what I was trying to do, but I'll take it," Tyrell said.
Tyrell and Thompson's line had done well all game against Rangers scorers Brandon Dubinsky and Marian Gaborik, and that's partly why Boucher put them out there to start overtime (also because of their speed). And that paid off 19 seconds in with Thompson's winner. Tyrell skated around the left side and looked to circle the net, but threw a pass in front to a streaking Thompson, and the puck trickled through just enough to get to Thompson's stick.
"Dana was flying and I just made sure I went to the far post and hopefully that pass squeaked through, and it did,' Thompson said. "And I just tried to hit it as hard as I could into the net."
*By the way, Steven Stamkos played in his 200th game.
I'll hopefully have more updates tommorrow on Roloson, and Damian will be back with the team - and on the blog - Monday. Happy New Year to all.
-- JOE SMITH