Tampa Bay Lightning notes: Goalie Dwayne Roloson accepts sitting behind Dustin Tokarski; GM Steve Yzerman favors reinstituting red line

TAMPA — G Dwayne Roloson said he was fully informed of the Lightning's intention to play Dustin Tokarski in net after Matheiu Garon was injured and it was not difficult to accept.

"As an athlete, you want to play," Roloson said Saturday. "But I knew what decisions (coach Guy Boucher) was making and the ideas that he had for me, so I knew exactly what was going on."

It has been a disappointing season for Roloson, 42. The league's oldest player lost his No. 1 job and continued as the backup the past two games after Garon tore his groin and Tokarski was called up from AHL Norfolk.

Part of the reason for the latter is the team wants to get a look at Tokarski, who could figure into its future plans. The other part: Roloson, who has not allowed fewer than three goals in a start since Nov. 17, has a 3.82 goals-against average and .878 save percentage that are last in the league among goalies with at least 20 starts.

Boucher said he owed it to Roloson, through "man-to-man conversations," to make sure the goalie understood his decision. "It's important that we talked, and both of us got a feeling of what the other is feeling and thinking," Boucher said. "He's been an absolute pro."

Did Boucher expect anything else? "No, but sometimes things get tough," he said. "I've seen really good people act in really bad ways. But he's been terrific, great attitude on ice, great attitude off ice."

Roloson backed that up with a commitment to help Tokarski. "It's part of being a teammate, working with the guys," he said. "It doesn't matter what situation you're in, it's always team first. Whether it's helping a guy or sitting on the bench or in the press box, you've got to do whatever it takes for your team to win."

PAY THE PRICE: RW Brett Connolly agreed the elbow to the face he took Thursday from Mike Green "wasn't the best of hits," but he does not think badly of the Capitals defenseman, suspended for three games for what appeared to be a targeted elbow.

"It's such a fine line between when to finish your check and when your opponent is in a vulnerable position," said Connolly, who sustained a bruise under his right eye. "The game is so fast that sometimes you make a split-second decision and it costs you a few games."

Green told Washington reporters he was disappointed in the suspension because he was "finishing my check, trying to separate (Connolly) from the puck."

"It's a hockey play," Connolly said, "that maybe went over the line a little bit."

STREAKING: RW Teddy Purcell went without a point against Carolina, ending his career-best 11-game point streak, one short of the league's longest this season. Purcell had seven goals and 15 assists in the streak that he said resulted from narrow focus. "You have to have a short-term memory," he said. "You want to work on consistency." As for being so close to a league-best streak, Purcell said, "I didn't even know."

ODDS AND ENDS: D Bruno Gervais (shoulder) missed his third game but was in the morning skate with a red no-contact jersey. … RW Brandon Segal and C Vinny Lecavalier (hand) also were scratched.

Yzerman favors bring back red line

TAMPA — If Steve Yzerman has his way, the NHL will reinstate the center red line next season in order to promote the playmaking he says the game is sorely lacking.

"I don't like the way the game is played anymore," the Lightning general manager said Saturday. "All the rule changes we made, we designed to increase the skill level, but it's become a slap shot from the far blue line and a guy chips it in and you go chase."

Reinstating the red line and, by consequence, the illegal two-line pass is one of the issues to be discussed at the GM meetings Monday through Wednesday in Boca Raton. It piques Yzerman's interest, even apart from the discussion about how reinstating the red line might reduce injuries caused by the speed of the game.

The red line was removed after the 2004-05 lockout to quicken the game and promote offense and skill. Instead, Yzerman said, it created more dump-and-chase play. Reinstating the red line, he said, would force defensemen to at least try to make a play or a pass "instead of just a slap shot around the boards."

A more controversial proposal, he said, is to add another line at the tops of the faceoff circles in the defensive zone "so the D coming out of the zones have to get to the line before they make a long pass." For more on the general managers meetings, go to tampabay.com/blogs/lightning.

Damian Cristodero, Times staff writer

Tampa Bay Lightning notes: Goalie Dwayne Roloson accepts sitting behind Dustin Tokarski; GM Steve Yzerman favors reinstituting red line 03/10/12 [Last modified: Saturday, March 10, 2012 11:28pm]

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