Wyman making strong impression
When rookie wing JT Wyman was called up just before Christmas, it didn't register a huge blip on many people's radar.
But Wyman, 25, has made a sizable impact in his two weeks with Tampa Bay, watching his role - and confidence - grow. Wyman was put on a line with captain Vinny Lecavalier and Dominic Moore, a unit that was one of the team's best. His minutes have more than doubled since his debut (6 minute 1 second), and he's getting some opportunities on the power play, racking up three points and a plus-3 in five games.
"You don't want to just come up here and get the experience and take off," Wyman said. "You want to establish yourself and showcase your ability and the more oppportunities you get, the better it is for yourself as an individual. That's everyone's goal is to become a full-time NHL player. It doesn't come unless you get opportunities like this."
Lightning coach Guy Boucher, who had Wyman while with AHL Hamilton in 2009-2010, said the rookie's play has only confirmed what he knew. Boucher pointed out Wyman is a big guy (6-foot-2, 199) with speed, a combination Tampa Bay lacks, and he works really well with Lecavalier's line because he can get the puck deep into the offensive zone and dig it out of the boards, allowing Lecavalier to get into areas to shoot.
"Right now, the last five games, (Wyman) has been terrific," Boucher said. "He hasn't been good, he's been terrific. Sometimes, one game - okay, two games, three games, and usually guys fade away. WIth him, it's the opposite, every game he's getting better and better. Hopefully he can continue to give us that because he's exactly something that we need."
Other stuff from the morning skate: RW Ryan Malone (lower body injury) had expected to skate this morning, but Boucher said he was told not to as they didn't want to push it. Boucher said Malone will skate in practice Friday, with hopes he can return against Montreal. "We want him in the lineup, he's an integral part of this team, and we want him to come back," Boucher said. "But, at the same time, if we're going to make him come back too fast and lose him for 10 games, we're no better off." .. Boucher expects good things from veteran G Dwayne Roloson, who makes his first start in weeks tonight against the Senators. "He wants it real bad, and I think probably he wanted it so much, maybe too much at some points that he got down on himself when he didn't get the result that he wanted," Boucher said. "He's a very emotional guy and the team, we had a lot of injuries and a lot of circumstances that made it extremely tough for us. He just really wanted it too much. I think he's calmed down and he's relaxed and he's back on track in his mind."
-- JOE SMITH