WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 26: Dan Ellis #33 replaces Mike Smith #41 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skate in the second period of the game against the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center on November 26 2010 in Washington DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
If you head over to Tampa Bay.com's Lightning page, you'll see a headline about Mike SMith expressing disappointment in the acquisition of Dwayne Roloson.
While it's easy to jump on an athlete for things like that (highlighted word of "disappointment" ).... Well, the truth is there have to be many levels of disappointment to deal with for Smith. And many ways it can be interpreted.
As for the acquisition, it had to be done.
"Both Ellie and I felt like we were getting back to the way we were used to playing," Smith said. "The last three weeks we played some great games, and we were doing well as a team, so it's kind of one of those things."
Things had been getting better, but at the same time -- there was a comfort zone with Ellis and Smith. They were a tandem and they are friends. It's not competition. This was highlighted several times through the first half of the season. They are friends first.
But, while Dwayne is a threat, he also raises the competitive bar that friendship-first wasn't doing. Cedrick Desjardins wouldn't have accomplished that, as the Lightning brain trust made it clear he was only in Tampa Bay for the holidays. He was up and coming. Roloson is already established.
And now, Smith and Ellis are pushed to establish themselves after a mediocre first half. The comfort zone, which Guy Boucher disapproves of, is gone, it's time to work.