One would think if an NHL player was being mentioned with one of the all-time greats, he would at least take some notice.
But Lightning goaltender Dwayne Roloson said he doesn't read the sports section and doesn't turn on the television much, either.
"So, to be honest with you," he said Monday, "I have no inkling what you're talking about."
Did he want to know?
"No," he said, "I don't want to hear it."
But it is worth mentioning.
Roloson's eight straight playoff victories tie him with Hall of Famer Jacques Plante, who did it in 1969 with the Blues, for most by a goalie 40 or older. Roloson needs two more wins, not necessarily in a row, to tie former Red Wings goalie Dominik Hasek for most in a playoff season by those goalies of a certain age.
Roloson, 41, can pass Plante tonight against the Bruins in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final at TD Garden.
If he plays anything like he has in the postseason - he leads the playoffs with nine wins, a 2.01 goals-against average and .941 save percentage - or in Game 1 against Boston, when he stopped 31 shots in a 5-2 win, Tampa Bay has to like its chances.
But more than his ability to gobble up shots, suppress rebounds and deftly deflect shots into corners and away from danger, it is how Roloson blocks out distractions and focuses on his task that most impresses coaches and teammates.
"I've rarely seen an athlete focus that high on what he needs to do to perform," goaltenders coach Frantz Jean said.
That is why coach Guy Boucher said he buys that Roloson doesn't realize the historic company he is keeping.
"He's very good at blocking things out," Boucher said. "At his age and with the experience he's got, that's what he's got more than the younger guys. He knows what affects him and doesn't affect him."
Questions about his age, for example.
Even if Roloson doesn't read the stories or see the reports, he is asked the questions and knows the narrative. So, when he was asked how his body would handle back-to-back games with the Capitals in the East semifinal, the implication was clear.
"I have no satisfaction," he said of disproving the ageists with two series-clinching victories. "I know what I can do. I can care less about what other people think or say or how they feel. For me, I've got to go out and do what I've got to do and give our guys a chance to win. As cliche as it is, that's what I try to do."
What the Bruins need to do to beat him is get more traffic in front of the net, right wing Nathan Horton said:
"If he sees it, he's going to stop it. That's what you get when you have a great goalie. We have to get in front of him. We just weren't in that spot (in Game 1)."
Roloson said he has no set pregame routine, and he isn't one of those goalies who shuts down conversation with teammates.
Still, center Steven Stamkos said, "For the most part, we try to let Roli do his thing. When he's focused, he's focused on the task at hand, that's stopping pucks and he's been phenomenal at it."
"He knows he's good," defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron said. "He just doesn't need to read about it."
Damian Cristodero can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* * *
Games 3 and 4 and a potential Game 6 at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa are sold out except for tickets being withheld for new season-ticket holders. (Go to lightning.nhl.com for season-ticket details.) Unused tickets will be released on day of games. Check with Ticketmaster (outlets, ticketmaster.com, toll-free 1-800-745-3000).