Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher's method for choosing goalies a real bedtime story
So, Dwayne Roloson gets the start in goal tonight for the Tampa Bay Lightning against the Coyotes. I don't want to say coach Guy Boucher struggled with this but when it came down to the final decision, Boucher said the key was, well, that he turned over in his sleep on Tuesday night.
"I was sleeping on that side and then I woke up on the other side and I said, 'You know what, I'll just change,' " Boucher said.
Boucher was kidding, of course, but it tells you how tenuous the Lightning's goaltending situation still is when the coach is talking about it being a toss-up to pick a starter. But that is what happens when the player picked up to be the No. 1 has been off his game. Consider that Roloson is 1-3-1 in his past five starts with a 4.51 goals-against average and .854 save percentage.
Here was the question for Boucher:
Does he start Dan Ellis tonight against the Coyotes and put off Roloson's next start until Friday against the Devils? Ellis has been pretty strong in his past three starts, including a 3-2 shootout loss Saturday against the Panthers. In fact, he is 2-0-1 with a 1.85 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage.
Seems an easy call. right? But that would have set up Roloson to play his first game since Feb. 17 against the red-hot Devils who are on a 16-1-2 streak. Not that the Coyotes are an easy task right now, having won eight straight. Of course, Ellis could have played lights out against Phoenix and forced Boucher to play him again against New Jersey. On the other hand, you traded for Roloson to be your No. 1 guy, so you want him to play.
So, you see the 20 directions Boucher's mind probably was running. And he said he originally was going to go with Ellis against the Coyotes, which brings us back to Boucher's bedtime story. We'll see how it works out.
More stuff from the morning: Defenseman Mike Lundin, believed to have an abdominal injury, and wing Ryan Malone, believed to have a stomach muscle injury, both skated Wednesday morning on their own and without pads. All Malone would say is he feels good. Lundin went into a bit more detail. "We'll see how it feels tomorrow, if it acts up or anything," he said. There is no timetable for either to return, though it sounds as if Lundin is on a much quicker schedule than Malone, who it has been said could be out for the rest of the regular season. ... Boucher called Lundin the team's "most consistent" defenseman. Asked if he would characterize Lundin as a star player, Boucher said, "I always thought a star defenseman is one who has consistency. That's the hardest thing. He has that. So, I don't want to say he's a star because the way people describe stars is not exactly the way I see it. But, for me, the fact that he's got the consistency, it brings a lot of stability to our defensive corps." ... New defenseman Eric Brewer, who will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, said he hasn't thought much about possibly being a rental, and it won't change the way he approaches games. "It doesn't really matter at this point," he said. "It doesn't concern me. I've never been in this situation before. I've always been traded in the summer. I haven't played in the East for a long time. I'm just getting the feel for that again. I think they want to get an idea of my game and how it fits in here." ... Left wing Simon Gagne hasn't had a goal in eight games, though he has six assists. Still, Gagne has been really up and down with his goal scoring. He admits the past three games he has not played well -- "really average," he said -- but said much had to do with the birth of daughter Lily Rose. "The last three games it was really hard physically," Gagne said. "We have the new baby at home. Playing against Philly the next day was really hard. The last three games I was a little exhausted from it. But I still have a job to do. I have to battle through that." As for his goal drought, he added, "It's a little bit frustrating. It seems like it's been like that all year." ... Center Steven Stamkos is without a goal in five games. Marty St. Louis has one in 14. But Boucher said he doesn't see anything wrong with their game, and noted the line, that also includes Steve Downie, had 10 of Tampa Bay's 15 scoring chances against the Panthers. "They just have to keep it up. That's it for them," Boucher said. For what it's worth, Downie has four goals in his past eight games.