All Roster Questions Revealed?

According to Erik Erlendsson's blog the fourth line at today's practice included center Craig MacDonald while the third pairing at the practice featured defensemen Doug Janik and Mike Lundin. Given that Torts has been adament that his lineup Saturday night will be his opening night lineup barring injuries and that the team will only carry 20 players into the regular season this may be a tip off that veteran forwards Kyle Wanvig, Mathieu Darche, Bryce Lampman and prospect Matt Smaby will be the odd men out.

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erik updated his blog, says

erik updated his blog, says that janik is number 7 right now at that smaby and lumdin will be 5 and 6.

More revealed on defense

EE has tomorrow article up tonight and says nothing is in stone, but also says "only Lundin has secured a spot for opening night."

Cristodero's blog states he (DC) is somewhat shocked that Smaby would be kept around as apparently Torts said he's struggling with NHL speed. IMO, his physicality should override some of that.

With Ranger out tonight in Dallas, Lundin got 20 minutes, second most to Kuba. Janik didn't see much ice, so it does appear that Janik is the No.7. Smaby got decent time.

In EE's article, Torts says the D is a work in progress and they're not going to say "this is our 6." They're going to see how they do against NHL players in games and work from there (or something like that).

Double Standard

I just wonder why you're seeing virtual ink being shed in Crisdotero's last two blog posts about Smaby "fumbling pucks" and "not handling game speed" while you haven't heard a peep about any of Lundin's coverage breakdowns that have led to goals or the fact that in four preseason games he has recorded exactly ZERO hits (look it up) in a pretty sizable amount of ice time?

It just seems to me there's a double standard at play here. I understand that Lundin makes a compelling story as a mid level prospect coming out of nowhere to claim a roster spot. However, lets not lose sight of the fact that both Lundin and Smaby are going through rookie growing pains. It's the nature of the beast with young players, and it's something the Lightning are going to have to learn to cope with and be patient about. And they know that, which is why both kids are probably sticking around.

I mean, criminey, am I the only one who remembers the time and patience it took for Cory Sarich to develop into a player? Why is Crisdotero so eager to pan Smaby when there are precedents within the past 5-6 years that show sometimes with a defenseman you just have to have the guts as an organization to give them the game experience necessary to mature? Seemless transitions like Paul Ranger's two years ago are the exception, not the rule.

Also, regarding Janik, isn't it obvious Tortorella and the coaching staff don't trust the guy to always make good decisions or to be strong on the puck with a forechecker bearing down on him? Even Ray Charles can see that and he's dead and blind. In fact, Tortorella pretty much said point blank that was Janik's MO on the second day of camp when he said, to paraphrase, being in good enough shape to motor around the rink and do laps doesn't prove you won't cough up the puck under pressure.

None of these three guys is a perfect solution which is why I believe Torts made the right move tonight dressing 7 d-men. Had Paul Ranger been able to go longer than 4:54 without getting hurt my suspicion is it probably would've had a much more successful outcome and it's something I think John Tortorella should definitely try again for the next week or two.

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