It was a bittersweet departure for Islanders goaltender Dwayne Roloson, who was traded Saturday to Tampa Bay in exchange for defensive prospect Ty Wishart.
But at 41 years old, Roloson is excited he'll get the chance to make another playoff push at this stage of his career. Roloson, who split starts this year with fellow netminder Rick DiPietro, was instrumental in leading the Edmonton Oilers to the Stanley Cup finals in 2006.
"It was a bit of an oxymoron. I was sad but at the same time I was elated," Roloson told Newsday Saturday after learning he was shipped to the Lightning. "I'm going to a team that is in a playoff spot at this point of time, and thats the biggest element."
After last night's 2-1 overtime win over the Rangers at home, the Lightning are only one spot and two points behind the Eastern Conference-leading Pittsburgh Penguins.
"For me personally, it would great to play in the playoffs. Everyone always writes how old I am, but no matter what age you are it means a lot to play in the playoffs. You have a chance to do something you've always dreamed of-- to win the Stanley Cup."
When asked why he thought he was moved, almost two months before the trade deadline and with his steady performance a large part of why the Islanders have won 5 of their last six, Roloson said:
"That's something I can't answer, something I can't control. It's a business and you have to do what you have to do to get better. Obviously they want to develop and now Rick is healthy and playing well. They thought it was a good time to do it."
A steadying veteran presence both on and off the ice for a struggling Islanders group, Roloson said he will miss his teammates and think fondly of the place where he experienced a renaissance of sorts at this juncture of his career.
"Obviously there were a lot of ups and downs, but it was a great team with great players and they have a great young nucleus. It's been good to see guys grow over the past year and a half," he said. "I respect the opportunity I had. I had a lot of fun and I think in the end ,it made me a better person and a better player."