Dwayne Roloson

LaBarbera’s whirlwind day ends in first win as a Duck


Jason LaBarbera’s day began at 4:30 in the morning Sunday when he was told he was catching a flight from Norfolk, Virginia to Denver, Colorado to meet the Anaheim Ducks.

The 34-year-old was scheduled to back-up John Gibson as the Ducks were wrapping up a four-game road trip against the Avalanche. Frederik Andersen is day-to-day with leg stiffness.

However, during the team’s pre-game skate at the Pepsi Center, Gibson suffered a lower body injury paving the way for LaBarbera’s first start since December 2013 while he was a member of the Edmonton Oilers.

“That was a three-in-three for me. I’m pretty tired, but what an effort by the guys,” said LaBarbera of the 16 save, 3-2, victory. “I haven’t been around the team much, but that was a pretty impressive effort by everybody. I’ve been in a lot of tough situations in my career, but that was probably the hardest one I’ve been in.”

Added captain Ryan Getzlaf, “’Barbs’ came in on a plane today. He did a great job, ate a lot of pucks and slowed the game down for us.”

With the win, Anaheim is the first team to reach the 10 win mark.

Dennis Everberg opened the scoring just over two minutes into the first period and seemed it like the Ducks would be in for a long night.

However, Corey Perry tied it at 1-1 with his league-leading 11th of the season at 7:20 of the opening period.

After Nathan MacKinnon gave the Avalanche a 2-1 lead, Hampus Lindholm tied it 2-2 and Cam Fowler added the eventual game-winner in highlight-reel fashion as the Ducks won for the third time on the four-game trip.

“On that third goal, we were just lost,” said Avalanche head coach, Patrick Roy. “Jarome (Iginla) lost his position, lost his (defenseman) and it was an easy walk-in for Fowler.

“It’s too bad because we had a really good start and we scored that first goal and then we just stopped playing a bit there. We have to find ways to play 60 minutes, this is how we’re going to win hockey games.

With the loss, the Avalanche have picked up just a single point in four games.

Ducks’ Gibson injured during pre-game skate


Jason LaBarbera is making his first start as a member of the Anaheim Ducks tonight in Colorado after John Gibson was injured during the team’s pre-game skate.

LaBarbera was recalled Sunday from the American Hockey League’s Norfolk Admirals because goaltender Frederik Andersen is suffering from leg tightness.

LaBarbera’s last NHL start came Dec. 12, 2013 while a member of the Edmonton Oilers.

Retired NHL veteran Dwayne Roloson is backing up LaBarbera. Roloson, 45, is the Ducks’ goaltending consultant.

Roloson’s last NHL appearance came April 7, 2012 while he was a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler discussed adjusting to playing in front of LaBarbera and having Roloson on the bench during the first intermission:

Murky offseason awaits Bylsma, Penguins


PITTSBURGH – If tonight’s Game 7 loss by the Pittsburgh Penguins was the the final game for some in the organization, it’s one that will ultimately be capitalized by frustration.

The Penguins fell to the New York Rangers 2-1 to end their season at the hands of a lower-seeded team. In the five seasons since they won the Stanley Cup, they’ve lost to a team in the playoffs they were supposed to beat.

After five straight disappointing performances, coach Dan Bylsma may find his job in jeopardy. The same could also be said of Penguins General Manager Ray Shero. With the lack of a deft touch with the lineup both behind the bench and in the front office, owner Mario Lemieux may be forced to change things up.

“Our goal, our ultimate goal, is to win the Stanley Cup and we haven’t done that in five seasons,” Bylsma said. “I’m 20 minutes post battling for a Game 7 and right to the bitter end. I haven’t contemplated the price that it’s going to be or anything towards the future yet.”

The Penguins might be able to avoid thinking about the future tonight, but with the offseason suddenly upon the organization, change may be on the way.

“I think there’s always questions,” Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. “When the expectations are high and you don’t win I think that’s normal. I’m sure there’ll be a lot of questions.”

The reason why the Penguins have to face so many questions right away was Henrik Lundqvist.

All throughout the seven-game series, King Henrik was at his best as he put up a .940 save percentage and allowed three total goals in the final three games against the Penguins.

“Tonight was one of our better games,” Crosby said. “We worked hard and generated some good chances.”

POLL: Should the Penguins fire Dan Bylsma?

The chances were there, but Lundqvist saved some of his best for the end of the game making 13 saves in the third period en route to 35 saves overall.

“He made some big saves,” Crosby said. “We were pressing late and for a good five minutes late in the third, we had some great chances. It’s a game, but we put ourselves in that position.”

While Lundqvist was the road block this year, the continued disappointment of the offense is what has hurt Pittsburgh the most. Last season, Tuukka Rask and the Boston Bruins stifled the Penguins holding them to two goals in a four-game sweep.

“When you lose a game and you’re not able to generate enough to score, it’s always going to be the case [for why we lost],” Bylsma said. “We had enough to go up 3-1 in the series and win three games in a row. We weren’t able to get enough in [Games] 5, 6 and we weren’t able to get enough tonight to win the game in terms of getting goals.

“They’re tough to come by, it’s tougher around the cage – we saw that. We weren’t able to get the goals we needed to win the game.”

Finding a way to break through tough defense and all-world goaltending is the job of a coach and to drive that through to the players. After being stifled by Lundqvist, Rask, Jaroslav Halak and Dwayne Roloson in the past, Penguins brass may find their solution lies with new personnel on and off the ice.

Official: Roloson becomes Ducks goalie coach


It was just a rumor a couple days ago but it’s official now.

Anaheim has hired recently retired NHL veteran Dwayne Roloson to be the team’s new goalie consultant. Roloson has been with the Ducks since mid-February working with their minor league goalies in Norfolk. With former goalie coach Pete Peeters retiring from the position last week, it opened the door for Roloson’s arrival.

Roloson played 14 seasons in the NHL with six different teams and saw his greatest success with the Edmonton Oilers in 2006 helping them reach the Stanley Cup finals that season. He finished his career with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2012 and took them to within a game of the finals in 2011.

Now he’ll get to work with Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth on a daily basis and that must be a nice perk to have with two stellar netminders to coach.

A look back at Boucher’s roller coaster time with Tampa Bay


Now that Guy Boucher is out as the Tampa Bay Lightning head coach, looking back at his two-and-a-half years there shows the kind of wild roller coaster ride he had in Florida.

His first season as coach of the Bolts saw him lead the team to 46 wins and 103 points while finishing second in the Southeast Division to the Washington Capitals. In the playoffs, however, Boucher made his mark taking the Lightning to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals  against the Boston Bruins losing a 1-0 heartbreaker with 41 year-old goalie and mid-season acquisition Dwayne Roloson nearly taking them to the Stanley Cup finals.

Despite the work Boucher did in leading the Lightning that season, his first as a head coach in the NHL, he was not a finalist for the Jack Adams Award. Pittsburgh’s Dan Bylsma would take home the award that season only to see the Penguins ousted by Tampa Bay in the first round of the playoffs in seven games.

The following season saw the Lightning regress. Roloson aged another year and didn’t improve and Mathieu Garon wound up with the bulk of the starts. While Steven Stamkos poured in 60 goals, it wasn’t enough to get Tampa Bay back to the playoffs as the team finished with 38 wins and 84 points, good for third in the Southeast and tied with Winnipeg for 10th in the East.

This season, Boucher wasn’t able to lead the team out of the doldrums from last season thanks to more of the same problems. Poor goaltending, poor defense, and a lack of scoring depth saw him bringing aboard more players from the AHL to try and turn things around. After going 13-17-1 he’s now out of a job.