Commodore, 33, signed a deal with Montreal’s AHL Hamilton affiliate in November in the hopes of continuing his NHL career — he’s since appeared in 13games with the Bulldogs, registering one assist and 24 PIM.
The 33-year-old split last season between Detroit and Tampa Bay, notching two assists in 30 games while averaging just over 12 minutes per night.
The Lightning didn’t extend Commodore’s contract for 2012-13, making him an unrestricted free agent.
While the invite’s a positive step for Commodore, he’ll be in tough finding a spot on Montreal’s crowded blueline. Seven guys (Andrei Markov, Tomas Kaberle, Josh Gorges, Alexei Emelin, Francis Bouillon, Raphael Diaz, Yannick Weber) are currendly under contract and an eighth — PK Subban — will reportedly be signed soon.
The 2011-2012 season was an admitted let down for the Lightning after coming within one win of the Stanley Cup finals the year before. While Steve Stamkos was his usual dominant self scoring 60 goals and finishing with 97 points, the area where Tampa got killed was in goal.
Dwayne Roloson and Mathieu Garon had fits where they couldn’t stop a beach ball and the team finished dead last in goals against (281). Even in a Southeast Division that was rather craptacular, that’s not going to get you anywhere. That made it tough to watch as goaltending is what helped the Lightning get as far as they did the year before.
Things are shaping up to be interesting this season, however. Adding Anders Lindback as their new No. 1 goalie puts the focus on goaltending right away. Lindback played for two seasons in Nashville while not getting much work behind Pekka Rinne. Can he prove to be a legitimate No. 1 guy?
Bringing back Matt Carle to help shore up the defense was a sneaky strike from GM Steve Yzerman as the defensive unit needed help. Sami Salo should help the power play out quite a bit as well.
Taking a flier on Benoit Pouliot to add to their top six will give them more speed and occasional goals while adding B.J. Crombeen to solidify the bottom six forwards will give them a bit more grit. With the improvements Washington and Carolina made this offseason, the Lightning hope to hang in that race for the top.
Have your say
Vote in our poll and let us know what you think of the Lightning’s 2012-13 outlook in the comments section.
Lightning coach Boucher on injury-ravaged team: “I don’t know who’s going to play tonight”
To say Tampa Bay is a mixed bag at the moment is putting it lightly.
Yesterday, the team acquired defensemen Keith Aulie, Brian Lee and Mike Commodore at the deadline. Lee and Commodore made practice on Tuesday (Aulie was held up waiting for a visa) and were joined by recent waiver claim Tim Wallace, plus three call-ups from AHL Norfolk — Brandon Segal, Mike Angelidis and Trevor Smith — with a fourth, Evan Oberg, en route.
The reason for all the new faces? Well, Vincent Lecavalier (hand), Ryan Shannon (upper-body), Marc-Andre Bergeron (back) and Victor Hedman (upper-body) are out with injuries. Oh yeah, a stomach virus also hit the Lightning dressing room, forcing Teddy Purcell, Nate Thompson and Brendan Mikkelson home from practice.
As such, nobody’s quite sure who’ll suit up to face Montreal this evening. One thing’s for certain, though — head coach Guy Boucher’s never seen anything like it.
“I don’t know who’s going to play tonight,” Boucher told NHL.com. “We’ll just see what we put on the ice.”
Outside of his top forward line (Ryan Malone, Steve Stamkos, Martin St. Louis) and defensive pairing (Eric Brewer, Brett Clark), Boucher is basically guessing at the rest of his lineup. Seriously, guessing. Here’s his explanation for pairing Commodore and Lee.
“We’ll play Commodore and Lee together, since they both won’t know what’s happening,” Boucher said. “We’ll try to help them both at the same time.”
Speaking of Commodore, he’s not exactly well-rested heading into tonight’s game.
“I couldn’t sleep, so I got to bed around 3 a.m,” he explained of his trade deadline experience. “I was in Tampa by 11 p.m. but I couldn’t fall asleep. A lot happened yesterday. I had a couple of hours to get things packed and catch a flight.
“Hopefully, I’ll get a nap today and be ready to go.”