Dwayne Roloson

Yzerman on Roloson: “He’s having a tough time”


Last year, Tampa GM Steve Yzerman’s shrewd deal-making was a key factor in getting the Lightning to within a game of the Stanley Cup Finals.

This year, he might need to make an even shrewder deal — just to get the Lightning into the playoffs.

Yzerman’s key acquisition from a year ago, goalie Dwayne Roloson, is suffering through a nightmarish campaign:

— 3.67 GAA (68th in the NHL)

— .882 save percentage (65th)

— 6-9-1 record

— .525 goals-against average over his last five starts (all losses)

And while the organization has been steadfast in its backing of Roloson, the Lightning have lost seven of eight and are just three points out of the Eastern Conference cellar. As such, patience appears to have worn thin.

“In regards to Roli, he’s having a tough time,” Yzerman told the St. Petersburg Times. “He’s working at it. He’s trying to get back into form. If he sticks with it he can get back on track. In the meantime, myself and the coach, we need to do anything we can to help our team win games, so it’s a tough spot for him.”

Yzerman fixed a similar goaltending issue last year…by acquiring Roloson. Now that trade seems like a patchwork solution at best; Roloson’s 42 years old, struggling mightily and the current trade market isn’t exactly flush with No. 1 netminders ready to start for a team with (high) playoff aspirations.

Yzerman is doing all he can to correct the problem. Dustin Tokarski’s rumored to be recalled from AHL Norfolk (where he posted a 9-5-0 record with a 1.94 GAA and .918 save percentage) and Yzerman’s rumored to still be working the phones for a goaltending upgrade. But the names that keep popping up — Evgeni Nabokov, Scott Clemmensen — aren’t exactly enthralling and the prized young backups (Cory Schneider, Jonathan Bernier, Tuukka Rask, Anders Lindback) would cost a fortune.

In the end, he might simply have to hope Roloson finds his form — something head coach Guy Boucher has faith in.

“We know his game can be (better) and I think it will, he just needs to make sure his attitude remains a positive one, and it has been,” he told the Tampa Tribune. “There are not many issues. He’s just having a tough time. I still have confidence that he will find his way back. He’s very professional and he can’t care more than that.”

Goalie nods: Prized Jets prospect Hellebuyck makes NHL debut

Joshua Morrissey, Jason Pominville, Connor Hellebuyck
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The future of Winnipeg’s goaltending will be on display tonight in Minnesota.

Connor Hellebuyck, the highly-touted prospect that starred for Team USA at the 2015 World Hockey Championships, will make his NHL debut today when the Jets take on the Wild at Xcel.

Hellebuyck is up with the Jets following an injury to No. 1 (or, “No. 1”) netminder Ondrej Pavelec, who’s out until January with a lower-body injury. An AHL All-Star a year ago, Hellebuyck arrived in Winnipeg with great fanfare and it’ll be interesting to see how he responds to the hype and pressure that come along with his first-ever big league start.

For the Wild, Devan Dubnyk‘s in goal.


Corey Crawford goes for Chicago in Anaheim. No word yet on who the Ducks will have in goal.

Braden Holtby starts again for Washington, as the Caps host the Bolts. Tampa Bay has yet to name a starter, much like the Ducks.

Marc-Andre Fleury takes on Sergei Bobrovsky in Columbus tonight, as the Blue Jackets host the Penguins.

Mike Condon is back in the starter’s role for Montreal with Carey Price sidelined, and his first order of business is a road date against Cory Schneider and the Devils in New Jersey.

Cam Ward faces Chad Johnson as Buffalo welcomes the ‘Canes.

— The Isles will start Jaroslav Halak in Florida. The Panthers will counter with Roberto Luongo.

Cam Talbot finally gets back into the starter’s role tonight in Detroit. Jimmy Howard will go for the Wings.

— It’s Ryan Miller versus Antti Niemi as the Canucks take on the Stars in Dallas.

— Even though Jonas Hiller is healthy and Joni Ortio‘s in the minors, Calgary will stick with Karri Ramo in Arizona. The Coyotes are going with their No. 1, Mike Smith.

‘We’re still right in the hunt for everything’ — Parise will play tonight versus Jets

Zach Parise
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For the first time since Nov. 5, Zach Parise will suit up for the Minnesota Wild.

The team confirmed today that Parise will be in the lineup tonight at home versus Winnipeg. The 31-year-old forward has missed the last eight contests with a sprained MCL.

The Wild were 7-2-2 before Parise got hurt. They lost the game against Nashville in which he suffered the injury, then went 4-3-1 without him.

“I’m just hoping to get back to form as quick as possible and go from there,” Parise told the Star Tribune. “I’m not thinking I need to score right out of the gate, I just want to play. … We’re still right in the hunt for everything. We’ll be fine.”

After ’embarrassing’ loss to Sens, Stars motivated for Canucks

Milan Michalek, Antti Niemi
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The Vancouver Canucks will face a pretty motivated Dallas Stars team tonight at American Airlines Center.

Blame the Ottawa Senators. They were the ones who smoked the Stars, 7-4, on Tuesday.

“It brings you back down to earth,” captain Jamie Benn told the Stars’ website. “You learn that any team can come in here and whip your butt. It was embarrassing for us, especially in our home rink and in front of our home fans. We don’t want that to happen again.”

The Stars have had their way with the Canucks in recent years. The last time Vancouver won in Dallas was Feb. 21, 2013. Since then, victories have included scorelines like 5-1, 4-1, 6-1, and 6-3.

The Stars have already hosted the Canucks once in Dallas this season. On Oct. 29, they fought back from a 3-1 third-period deficit to win, 4-3, in overtime.

Dallas (17-5-0) has yet to lose consecutive games this season.

Video: Beleskey rocks Stepan, fights McIlrath (Update: Stepan won’t return)


Well, Matt Beleskey sure made his presence felt in the Thanksgiving Showdown.

With the Rangers leading the Bruins 2-1 midway through the second period, Beleskey delivered a huge hit on Rangers forward Derek Stepan, then had to answer the bell as he was immediately confronted by towering Blueshirts d-man Dylan McIlrath.

Needless to say, it had a pretty profound effect on the game.

McIlrath got the instigator penalty for the fight, which sent the B’s to the power play. Not long after, Brett Connolly scored his fifth of the year to even the score at 2-2.

Then, later in the period, Stepan was spotted going down the Rangers’ tunnel.

We’ll keep tabs on Stepan’s condition moving forward, and if the comes out for the third period.

There’s a pretty good chance New York bench boss Alain Vigneault will be asked for his thoughts on the hit, too, so stay tuned.

Update: The Rangers have ruled out Stepan for the remainder of the contest.