The right stuff?
It's in him, isn't it? Johan Holmqvist certainly has the stuff to be a legitimate No. 1. He proved that Thursday with a scintillating effort in the victory over the Hurricanes. The key for him is just to do it more consistently. But there is no denying Holmqvist is better than he was last season, and what I like about him is his ability to put bad games behind him. Every now and then, he plays a game that makes it seem his best days are ahead of him.
Anyway, it will be interesting to see what happens after Karri Ramo rounds himself back into shape. The goalie for AHL Norfolk is playing again after finally recovering from a high ankle sprain sustained Oct. 5. Ramo played Saturday and stopped 17 of 18 first-period shots before tiring and allowing seven goals on 33. He also tweaked his back, according to Norfolk GM Claude Loiselle, bad enough that he sat out Sunday's game. But Loiselle said the ankle is "100 percent'' and the back is "nothing'' and Ramo will play Friday against Philadelphia.
Tampa Bay has indicated Ramo is almost NHL ready. Considering its lack of use for Marc Denis and that the Lightning believes Ramo is its goalie of the future, it's not a stretch to believe Ramo could have a quick ticket to the NHL. That, however, will require some real commitment from the Lightning brass to perhaps send Denis and his $2.8-million contract to Norfolk.
Certainly no one will pick up Denis on waivers but perhaps, if there is an injury around the league, he could be claimed at half price on recall waivers. A trip to the minors seems the only option if Denis can't be traded, and certainly his value right now is nil.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves, Ramo just got back on his feet and has a ways to go before such an evaluation can be made.
In other news, the Lightning sent defenseman Andy Rogers from Norfolk to ECHL Mississippi. Rogers has played in just 11 of the Admirals 24 games. The 2004 first-round draft pick played in just 69 the previous two seasons because of ankle and hip injuries. So Loiselle said he believes it is best to send Rogers to Mississippi where he will play 25 to 30 minutes a night and gain some confidence.
Speaking of confidence, the Lightning's players certainly gained some in Holmqvist Thursday night.