Dustin Tokarski will join the Tampa Bay Lightning in Washington DC upon arrival (photo courtesy MTBoltsFan)
Everyone winced when Mathieu Garon went lame during the early minutes of last night's contest with the Ottawa Senators. Garon made a save and something unclear in the moment went wrong with the goaltender. He fell to the ice in obvious pain, though, and his night was over just before the four-minute mark into the game.
Garon has a slight tear in his groin and will miss 3-4 weeks with the injury (which all but ends his season, unless the Lightning makes the playoffs). and certainly marks him as out for Thursday's game at Verizon Center against the Washington Capitals.
So.... now what?
Now begins an organizational shuffling to deal with the issues in Tampa Bay, one that's been avoided for the sake of preserving the successes and stability in the Tampa Bay Lightning system. In years past, raiding AHL Norfolk, or Springfield, or Detroit Vipers, or Atlanta Knights was no big deal. The needs of the big club outweigh a minor league hockey team's, right? That mentality has been jettisoned by general manager Steve Yzerman and hockey operations department in Tampa Bay for the most part.
...At least, until circumstances beyond their control force their hand.
It was reported via Twitter by Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune early this morning that the Bolts will be met in Washington by Norfolk Admirals goaltender Dustin Tokarski.
But it goes further than this: Jaroslav Janus becomes the de-facto #1 goalie for the Admirals. Baring a free-agent signing by the Ads (...or the Lightning, for that matter), expect Florida Everblades goaltender Pat Nagle to be promoted from the ECHL to the Norfolk Admirals roster immediately. The Ads have a road-stretch this weekend that takes them through New York and Connecticut (Adirondack Phantoms, Connecticut Whale, and Bridgeport Sound Tigers).
"But what about claiming Marty Turco?" may immediately come to mind as another option. That was one thought repeated multiple times last night by pundits on Twitter. Turco, currently on waivers after signing with the Boston Bruins, would not be eligible to play if claimed by the Lightning. Blame an obscure NHL by-laws for that one.