Musical Backups

Due to a knee injury to Mike Smith, you might've noticed Jonathan Boutin was an emergency callup for tonight's game against the Panthers. According to Erik Erlendsson's blog, Boutin will be sent back to Norfolk after the game once Marc Denis clears re-entry waivers and Denis will be back with the club. Don't spend that game check all in one place, Jonathan.

Erlendsson also quotes John Tortorella from the morning press conference claiming both Karri Ramo and Mike Lundin should start next season in the minor leagues; Ramo to get more starts and Lundin to gain more strength. He also, apparently, demanded more physical play from Matt Smaby.

Regarding Ramo: Coach is wrong. Period. This organization blew making the correct hockey decision at the start of this season not keeping Karri in Tampa even though it was obvious in camp he was already Holmqvist and Denis' equal. Compounding it by starting Ramo in Norfolk next season would be an equally foolish mistake. Mike Smith has proven nothing as a starter in the NHL. Heck, he was still considered a prospect by this website's criteria just a few weeks ago. Better to have a young lion like Ramo nipping at his heels keeping him honest than to have some old nag like Denis giving Smith no reason to look over his shoulder and push himself. Not only should Ramo not be in Norfolk to start next season, he should be getting 40% of the starts in Tampa and by season's end I wouldn't be surprised at all if he has Smith's #1 job.

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O.K., let me get this straight. We started off the year with Holmqvist and Denis in Tampa. 4 games after he comes off an injury, Ramo is recalled and Denis is sent down. Ramo has not and will not return to Norfolk this year.

And now, Coach wants Ramo to go back to Norfolk so he can get an entire season workload in as the number one. Then why in the hell didn't you keep him in Norfolk in the first place? Ramo would have certainly have gotten the number 1 workload here for the whole season. Therefore he would then be on schedule to be the number 2 in Tampa next season. Heck the backup will wind up making more money than the starter. And this is not a good year for free agent goalies.

And for this scheme to work, Tampa now has to go out this Summer in the free agent market or worse give up draft picks to rent a backup for a season. Maybe I was mistaken, but I thought the most pressing needs here in the offseason was to acquire by draft (hopefully Stamkos) and free agency a 1st line winger and to populate a producing second line and to increase depth in the forward lines. Richards was traded to obtain depth players like Halpern and Jokinen and free up money to go out and obtain these other players. And now you want to allocate 1-2 million dollars of that money to obtain a 1 year backup?

And you had Lundin in Tampa all year. He didn't play badly. But he's on an entry level contract where he could be safely sent down if Coach thought he needed some extra work and to build up. Well, I don't think with the pace players either in Tampa or Norfolk have during a season, you are going to bulk up much. Bulking up is best accomplished in the offseason. And sending him back for the whole year next year means that in additon to the aforementioned backup goalie, you now dip into that same pool of money to get another dman. Because right now, Smaby is the only NHL ready dman you have in Norfolk.

Someone smarter than me please explain it to me, I just don't get it.

That Stench

That stench is the smell of an organization trying to justify Denis being the backup to start next season because they don't have the good sense to just buy him out.


so true Pete, someone is trying to help save a friends job and this is not the way to do that, by hurting the organization. I am not convinced yet that Smith should be our starter, but really think Ramo deserves the chance to be No. 1, in particular after his performance last night against the panturds. If they had brought Ramo up at the start of the year traded a 6th for Brzygalov, and sent Denis packing we would still have Richie and would be looking for a forward in the free agent market not a center and a forward. OH well.


OH GREAT, WE WOULD STILL HAVE A CENTER WHO CANT CHECK AND NEEDS FIRST CLASS WINGS IN ORDER TO PRODUCE. Trading Richards was the best thing for this organization. Richards supposed AHL caliber wings have had no problem producing since they have a C who goes into the corners and uses his body like a hockey player not a ballerina. And you guys are way to high on your boy Ramo. I didn't like what Torts said either but I wouldn't be upset with more seasoning. Maybe a quarter/half of the year, something like that. He's still so young, there is no point in having him take his lumps with the Bolts when there is zero reason he can't still take them with Norfolk.

There's only the reason that

There's only the reason that we don't have ANY options clearly better than him at this point. Smith could be but he has proved ZERO. Denis has proved he ISN'T. And to go grab a CAPABLE back-up will cost this team MONEY it desperately needs to fill other positions in the front lines and possibly on D. And youre telling me there is zero reason? Crazy.

What has Ramo proved?

Yakacack, you make an interesting comment on Smith having proved" zero" yet you never mention Ramo having proved even less. He needs more seasoning, plain and simple. So, the Bolts "may" have to go get a back-up goalie. I really doubt they would spend more on the backup than what the starter is making, but you never know if Feaster is still here. I'd say that is better than Ramo possibly not getting the proper experience and playing time that he deserves, and needs now, while he's still very young. Smith has almost 100 more AHL games and about 25 more NHL games under his belt than Ramo. So while you are right in he really hasn't proven himself to be an elite #1 goalie, he is still a much better option than Ramo at this point. I know you guys are biased because Ramo came through Norfolk but give Smith a chance before anointing Ramo as the next "great" thing.

And aabolt, if that is your only argument for Richards is that he won the Conn Smyth at a young age, very well. I didn't say he sucked, I was pointing out that the same linemates(minus Hvalac) have produced a ton since he has been gone and they have a new Center. With the first line being what it is on this team, the 2nd and 3rd lines need to be grinding, go get it, type of scorers. I think we've seen the last few years what happens when you have the top 2 lines play like the same type of semi-passive hockey. And seriously, if Richards made players around him better, why did Torts have to move a million different guys on his line the last 3 years? Go back and look at who played on Richards lines when he was putting up good numbers and also see how many of those points were on the power play. Than come back and tell me he made players better around him. Because if he was making people better, would the Bolts even be in this situation? If Feaster hadn't given him the highest possible contract at the time-while he was still a "RESTRICTED" FA-it defiantly would have affected the franchise differently. But 7.8 million dollars need to net the team at the least a 40 goal scorer or a 100 point guy, which Richards has been neither since signing that contract.

Can you name me a back-up

Can you name me a back-up right now that is a free agent that would sign for the less than 950k Smith is making that would be better suited to play here than Ramo? There are very few goalies out there and most will want to be starters (ala Huet assuming he doesnt sign back with Washington). Ramo has been solid at times, crap at times. Smith has been solid at times, crap at times despite that extra 125 games youve mentioned. Smith is as unproven as Ramo has been and has been only slightly better to this point. He still gets himself out of position at times and his puck-handling is an adventure all in its own. I do believe he is a capable 1A just as Ramo playing here and getting games would be a capable 1B without spending extra money at the position when we have other needs. The extra spending when not necessary is the key, not that Ramo is a better goalie than Smith or anything of that sort.

What we do know is Denis has proved he should not be here and right now based on mere conjecture there wont be an available back-up out there that would be worth our spending money on when we have so many holes up front that management refuses to fill from the minors (aka giving no one a chance this season) and the D is quite porous as well and that extra money could be used there.

Here's a list of names of potential free agent goalies:

I honestly dont see anyone there more proven than Ramo that would sign for less than 950k to play a back-up role to a guy like Smith.


Excuse me Matts but how many players earn a Conn-Smythe at Richards age? Plus you look at his numbers and career here and he consistently produced. Not only that but given good wingers he produced at an even higher level. Not to take anything away from Halpern who is a good center and does go into the corners, going into the corners was not Richies game, although he did do that from time to time. Richie makes everyone around him better also and his passing is exceptional as well as his defensive play. He is a much better player at his age than many and will only get better.

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