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Lightning Will Have Two Starting Goalies

Cooper_2013The Lightning will begin the year with two starting goalies.

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, hes starting that night, Cooper told the Tampa Bay Times, adding that hes perfectly fine with a season-long timeshare.

If thats our winning formula, Cooped explained, then thats how we do it.

Lindback, 25, was supposed to have taken the starting job last season. Bolts GM Steve Yzerman acquired the lanky Finn from Nashville and didnt 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 Ben 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).

Whats 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, theres no doubt about it. Whats important is to gain experience, said Tampa Bay goalie coach Frantz Jean. You cant teach experience, you have to live it, so its going to be to go through our season and manage the situation properly.

Source: Pro Hockey Talk


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