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Tampa timeshare: Bishop, Lindback will both start as No. 1s

Sep 13, 2013, 3:12 PM EDT


The Lightning will begin the year with two starting goalies: Ben Bishop and Anders Lindback.

And, according to head coach Jon Cooper, they might just stick with it.

“People are going to say whoever gets the opening-game start must be their starting goalie. Well, he’s starting that night,” Cooper told the Tampa Bay Times, adding that he’s perfectly fine with a season-long timeshare.

“If that’s our winning formula,” Cooped explained, “then that’s how we do it.”

Lindback, 25, was supposed to have taken the starting job last season. Bolts GM Steve Yzerman acquired the lanky Swede from Nashville and didn’t provide him with much competition, save veteran journeyman Mathieu Garon.

Despite that, Lindback faltered and finished with pedestrian numbers: 10-10-1, 2.90 GAA and a .902 save percentage.

That played a part in Yzerman dealing Cory Conacher to Ottawa at the deadline in exchange for Bishop.

The 6-foot-7 netminder came boasting talent and was outstanding in relief of Sens starter Craig Anderson, but he too struggled in Tampa, finishing with a decent 9-3-4 record but a bloated GAA (2.99).

What’s more, Bishop played poorly for Team USA at the World Hockey Championships and lost his starting gig to 19-year-old John Gibson, who has yet to make his NHL debut.

As such, the Bolts are going to employ a “whoever plays best” strategy in deciding a starter for this season, and are encouraging competition in the crease.

“Their physical ability and their overall skill is at … an NHL level, there’s no doubt about it. What’s important is to gain experience,” said Tampa Bay goalie coach Frantz Jean. “You can’t teach experience, you have to live it, so it’s going to be to go through our season and manage the situation properly.”

  1. jb8588 - Sep 13, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    So in other words, as usual…the Bolts don’t trust either guy enough to be the #1. Great job Stevie Y…keep bringing in the goaltending projects and just hope one of them pans out just enough while giving up future studs like Conacher in the meantime.

    • dustinstauffer - Sep 13, 2013 at 4:04 PM

      A future stud? Bit early to be making that judgement isn’t is? You are aware Tampa has a butt load of Fw’s within their system right? Just off the top of my head they have Panik, Drouin, Johnson (won AHL MVP, better skater and better shot), Connolly. These are guys that can play wing that are scratching for an NHL spot. Conacher cooled way off in the 2nd half of the season and was surpassed by Johnson after he was called up. That is what lead to the eventual trade for a goaltender. When Conacher was with the Sens he was relegated to the 3rd line, didn’t produce a whole lot and was a healthy scratch a handful of times if I recall correctly. Not saying I do not like Cory, but its not the end of the world he is gone. The bottom line is TBL have plenty of forward prospects within the system that can fill in his role. The second wave of forwards is going to making a jump to Syracuse this coming season. The player with the most upside out of the new crop is Kucherov who was the only other player in the CHL to be averaging 2pts a game with the Huskies in QMJHL (Drouin was the other player if you were wondering) The second point is they traded for Bishop because Tampa has never been able to produce/develop a goalie within their own system. Sure there is potential coming up with Wilcox and Vasilevskiy, but that is a few years away. The free agent market isn’t exactly teeming with stud goalies that can be that can be your star goalie for many years to come. At best you’d end up with another stop gap goalie (which TBL has had many of since Nikolai Khabibulin left).

      • ibieiniid - Sep 13, 2013 at 4:08 PM

        for the record, Conacher won AHL MVP in their Calder season.

      • ibieiniid - Sep 13, 2013 at 4:10 PM

        and calling Johnson a better skater than Conacher is simply naive.

      • jb8588 - Sep 13, 2013 at 4:13 PM

        I could be making early judgements, but it goes both ways since it’s too early to judge that he won’t be stud because he cooled off a bit in the second half of his rookie season. He was a rookie last season, so you can’t write off a guy who won the AHL Rookie of the Year & MVP to go with the Calder Cup just the season before. I watched Cory many times during their Calder Cup season, and I was convinced then that he is going to be a special talent. May not be a true superstar type talent like Marty St. Louis, but he will be a very good player IMO. Even with the depth at forward, it just irritates me as a Lightning fan that Yzerman just doesn’t go out and get a true #1 or somebody much more proven than guys like Dan Ellis, Anders Lindback, Ben Bishop, etc.

      • dustinstauffer - Sep 13, 2013 at 4:13 PM

        lol Naive? You clearly have never seen the two skate. I am aware what Conacher won. Doesn’t mean he is a stud already in the league or that he is a future stud. The only thing naive here is not grasping organizational depth.

      • dustinstauffer - Sep 13, 2013 at 4:16 PM

        For the record I have nothing against Cory Conacher. He is a nice kid, with a great underdog story. He still could be a good player in the league, but when you have depth at a position (which is forwards in this case) you trade from a position of strength to address a position of weakness. Not saying Bishop or Lindback will be the answer in net, but it still is to early to tell much like Mr. Conacher.

      • ibieiniid - Sep 13, 2013 at 4:18 PM

        lol I live in Norfolk, VA bud. seen a few games during Conacher’s AHL MVP, ROTY, Calder cup season…… in fact I saw about 40 of them.

      • dustinstauffer - Sep 13, 2013 at 4:24 PM

        Good for you buddy, do you want a medal because you live in Virginia and you watched some hockey games? I’ve watched games on AHL live, doesn’t really matter. I also watched conacher skate in Tampa the whole time he played for them. Skating isn’t his strongest strength. Drive, compete level, etc are where he excels.

  2. ibieiniid - Sep 13, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    i said this the other day on the story about Fleury/Vokoun: “this gave me a visual of a double-wide net with two goalies playing at once, i’m not sure why.”

    well….. it’s happened again.

  3. ibieiniid - Sep 13, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    New coach Jon Cooper on game day: “What, we can’t do that?”

  4. janiesmom - Sep 13, 2013 at 6:31 PM

    Lindback’s not Finnish. He is lanky, though.

    • Mike Halford - Sep 14, 2013 at 1:17 PM

      Gack. Yeah, got that one. Thanks for the heads up.

  5. mathieug79 - Sep 13, 2013 at 8:50 PM

    I like the tandem of Bishop and Lindback. They should both have strong seasons, I expect the defense to tighten up under Jon Cooper, Brewer should be able to bounce back. Having Radko Gudas for a full season, barberio should play as well. Should help get the puck out of the zone quicker, Also NOT having Brian Lee play a shift in the NHL should only help both goaltending gain enough confidence to help them thrive as #1A, #1B.

  6. joey4id - Sep 14, 2013 at 9:40 AM

    Look! This may not be as bad as it sounds. Having 2 goalies alternate is an old tactic to see who will push more and eventually become number one. Time will tell who deserves the net more than the other.

  7. georgejarkko - Sep 14, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    When I went to Journalism School, 50 points were deducted from our scores for misspelling any names.

    Just sayin’

  8. allday420ap - Sep 14, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    why the red goalie pads on the lightning

    • ibieiniid - Sep 16, 2013 at 8:13 AM

      he just came over from the Sens last season.

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