Posting a shutout in his first appearance after being traded to Tampa Bay, Dwayne Roloson made a quick impression. In the following ten games, he added three more.
Since being shipped to the Lightning by the Islanders January 1 in exchange for defensive prospect Ty Wishart, Roloson has made the most on his new team in a New Year.
Entering tonight's match with a 20-22-5 record, 2.59 GAA and .913 save percentage, Roloson will face his former team tonight for the first time since being moved.
"For us as a team, it's important we come out and play. They're playing great hockey right now and we aren't playing our best hockey. We need to start playing our best hockey. We have ten games left in the season and we need to get ready to put a postseason push together."
More focused than nostalgic? Sure, but he said he still thinks fondly of the year-and-a-half spent with the Islanders.
"Lot of great memories," Roloson said. "Team-wise it's a great young team who has a big future ahead of them. Unfortunately, this year we had some key injuries. It's a great organization top to bottom. They're great to all the guys, and they were great to my family."
Roloson admitted that the transition was difficult at first, but made easier by the tremendous potential he has seen with his new Lightning team.
"When you leave an organization it's tough and sad at the same time, but when you come into a new one that's great it brings up your spirits. One of those ups and downs emotionally. For me it was a good change and it's been great so far."
Guy Boucher was effusive in his praise for Roloson's work ethic. Boucher said that he was forced to limit his practice time at one point of the season when Roloson was on the ice 45 minutes early before each practice.
"He's a guy you have to hold back, not push."
Another former Islander Guy Boucher raved about? Nate Thompson.
"Nate represents exactly the type of culture we're trying to create here," he said.
Boucher said Thompson has earned the nickname "Textbook" for his dilligence in heeding instruction and applying it to his game.
Thompson's play has not only earned him a contract extension--he signed a 2-year, $1.8 million deal in January--but also a hike in playing time.
The 26-year-old center played a season-high 20:36 Saturday against Ottawa.
Al Montoya in tonight for the Islanders.
When asked who he elected to start, Capuano deadpanned:
Regardless, Capuano said he wanted to give DiPietro some rest and rotate Montoya in instead.
Capuano said he did feel DiPietro was physically capable of handling a game, but didn't want to push it.
"I think he could handle a game but the more we thought about it--we don't play again until Thursday after tonight-- it made no sense. Probably could've, but we thought we'd give Al another game."