Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

'Blunder' not the way to assess Tampa Bay Lightning goalie situation

A recent article in the Hockey News stated Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman made a "management blunder" signing goaltender Dwayne Roloson last summer and letting Mike Smith leave via free agency.

And Smith — with a 33-18-9 record, 2.36 goals-against average and .925 save percentage with the Coyotes entering Saturday — certainly has Tampa Bay fans thinking what might have been.

But a blunder? Too harsh.

Rather, it was a confluence of circumstances that pushed Yzerman into what at the time seemed a good decision that ultimately produced a bad result.

First, no one predicted Roloson's game would drop off as it has, especially after he played so well last season. Yes, he is 42 and needed a one-game breather near the end of last season's playoffs, but Tampa Bay without him would not have gone as far.

Second, Smith was bad enough at times last season that he briefly was demoted to AHL Norfolk. And the Lightning did offer him a contract, though you can bet it was for less than the $4 million the Coyotes committed. Keep in mind Mathieu Garon got $2.6 million for two years to be a backup.

Plus, Smith wanted to be a No. 1, something the Coyotes immediately offered.

Finally, the idea Smith would have recreated his Phoenix numbers for Tampa Bay is not a given. There are too many variables.

Knowing the competitor in Smith, his motivation to tweak the Lightning is probably through the roof, an impulse he would not have had with Tampa Bay. He is getting more defensive help, too.

Smith also found a mentor/kindred spirit in Coyotes goaltenders coach Sean Burke, whom Smith credits with helping him, above all else, get the mental part of his game in order.

"He's just such a calming influence," Smith told Yahoo Sports.

The bottom line is that a blunder is a mistake made through stupidity. Yzerman and the Lightning were done in by circumstance.

'Blunder' not the way to assess Tampa Bay Lightning goalie situation 03/24/12 [Last modified: Sunday, March 25, 2012 12:06am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rick and Tom podcast: Bucs' Gerald McCoy frustrated with disrespectful fans

    Bucs

    Rick Stroud and Tom Jones discuss Gerald McCoy's latest comments on disrespectful fans who attack his teammates, Donald Trump, protests by DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans, and his respect for the …

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) warms up before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017.
  2. NFL owners' unity with players might be short-lived

    Bucs

    The image was striking — several owners of NFL teams locking arms with their players on the sidelines Sunday, and the Cowboys' Jerry Jones on Monday night, in a dramatic statement of defiance to a president who ridiculed their sport and condemned players for refusing to stand during the national anthem as a …

    Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, currently without a team, has cited racial injustice and police brutality among the reasons for not standing during the national anthem. [Associated Press]
  3. Anthem protest, the latest: Jerry Jones joins Cowboys on field in show of solidarity

    Bucs

    As President Donald Trump continued tweeting Monday about his displeasure with NFL players for staging demonstrations during the national anthem, the Cowboys took a knee on the field just before the anthem was performed on Monday Night Football. Dallas players were joined by owner Jerry Jones, and they quickly …

    Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, center, joins the team in taking a knee before the national anthem Monday night. They stood and linked arms for the anthem.
  4. Bucs journal: Gerald McCoy says players who kneel have team's support

    Sports

    TAMPA — Receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson were the only Bucs players kneeling during the national anthem before Sunday's game against the Vikings, but DT Gerald McCoy said the team supports their protest "100 percent."

    Bucs tight end Cameron Brate pulls in a touchdown catch as Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo (34) hits him in the back of the head.
  5. Rays at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, New York

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Yankees

    7:05, Yankee Stadium, New York

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays' Blake Snell poses for a picture during the team's photo day at baseball spring training in Port Charlotte, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)