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Credit Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman for his goalie do-over

General manager Steve Yzerman has gotten much credit, and deservedly so, for the moves that have helped the Lightning's dramatic turnaround from three dismal seasons.

Credit him now, though, with recognizing he miscalculated.

When Yzerman brought in goaltender Dwayne Roloson, he was trying to repair a situation he created by sticking with Mike Smith and signing Dan Ellis. He also decided to part with Antero Niittymaki, who signed with the Sharks for two years and $4 million, just $1 million more than Ellis, and whose 2.47 goals-against average and .903 save percentage entering Saturday were Vezina-like compared with what Tampa Bay has gotten.

So, with the Lightning not only headed for its first postseason in four years but with an opportunity to do some damage in it, especially if it holds on to the Southeast Division lead, Yzerman did what any good GM would do: He tried to fix the problem.

As Scotty Morrison, an analyst for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.'s Hockey Night in Canada, said, "He brought in Ellis and Smith, and they haven't been what they envisioned.

"But there are some guys who would refuse to admit that things weren't working as anticipated and might ride it out longer and wait too long. Whether it's admitting a mistake or admitting he needed an improvement, (Yzerman) went out and did it, so good for him."

Steady goaltending also will help Yzerman at the trade deadline, former NHL executive Craig Button said.

"Now, you can assess your team under stable conditions," the NHL Network analyst said. "You can see players playing in front of a goaltender that is not going to give up a weak goal, is not going to take them out of their game, is not going to get them racing around. Now, you can say, 'Can this guy help move us to the next level?' "

The bottom line is that no one is 100 percent. Even Yzerman, whose touch generally has been golden, needs a do-over now and then.

Credit Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman for his goalie do-over 01/08/11 [Last modified: Saturday, January 8, 2011 8:36pm]
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