BOSTON — It was hard to tell this morning if Tampa Bay head coach is getting ready to lead his team into Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Bruins or run a Boy Scouts troop.
The way he threw around the word “prepared” you’d think it was the latter.
Asked today after his team’s morning skate at the TD Garden if Dwayne Roloson would be his starting goaltender, Boucher said:
“We’re preparing like usual. He’s preparing like he prepared for all the other games. So we’re prepared,” said the sly Boucher.
Boucher opted to pull Roloson from Game 2 and 4, which Tampa Bay lost and won, respectively. In relief, Mike Smith has stopped 29 of 29 shots. So it’s completely valid to wonder if Boucher would go back to the man who led the NHL in goals-against average and save percentage through the first two rounds of the playoffs or give Smith, who spent a chunk of this season in the AHL, his first start of the postseason.
“He’s prepared,” Boucher repeated about Roloson. “He got out. He’s done his morning skate like usual. He prepared yesterday. We had a good talk. And he knows what’s coming up.”
So every team says that it’s ready to face any goaltender, regardless of identity, and that the approach is always the same — get traffic to the net and get shots through. Yet those same teams are coached by guys that are coy about their starting goaltender.
Oh, the mind games of hockey. I’ll only be shocked if Daren Puppa makes the start for the Lightning.