It's been six days since the Tampa Bay Lightning parted ways with LW Cory Conacher, sending him to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for goalie Ben Bishop. In that time, Conacher has scored a goal and is plus-3 while averaging 15:12 in ice time over those two games.
Ben Bishop, on the other hand, has started three games since his acquisition by the Bolts, the shutout effort in Raleigh last Thursday against the Hurricanes and a pair of 4-2 losses to the Isles and Capitals over the weekend, giving him a 2.03 GAA and a .936 save percentage over that span.
It's way too early to judge this trade, though people have liked what they have seen in both cases. As I've felt for most of the season, though, how well the goalie plays seems to be dependent on how well the Lightning plays in front of him. That's not writing off Bishop In the least (as his 45 save debut effort shows what he is capable of on the best of nights) as so much charging the Lightning with the need to have a stronger game form it's skaters.
As for Cory Conacher, he comes back to Tampa tonight in an Ottawa Senators uniform. The shock that he's out of the organization comes to the forefront again... And now we get the opportunity to say goodbye to him.
So... During introductions, when they announce #89 Cory Conacher, pay your respects by standing up and cheer loud and cheer long. And when you're done cheering, when you've paid ample respects to Chaos and one of the constants in this world (along with death and taxes... Well, take your seat and put your emotions in your back pocket. It's time to get down to business and the truth is Cory Conacher plays for a very formidable (if not banged up) Ottawa team, and he (along with Kyle Turris, Daniel Alfredsson, and the rest of the Senators cast of characters won't be out to earn cheers form the crowd - they're out to get two points in the standings.
While we're on the subject of a former Calder Cup champion playing in Tampa, the Bolts will have another prospect make his NHL debut tonight (the seventh prospect of the season behind Conacher, Alex Killorn, Richard Panik, Ondrej Palat, Radko Gudas and Tyler Johnson) in defenseman Mark Barberio. Barberio has been a mainstay on in the Lightning's AHL defense (be it in Norfolk or Syracuse) the past three seasons. To some, the recall is long past due, but with the depth in Tampa over the past two seasons, Barberio has been given more than ample time to hone his game at the AHL level. For more on Mark and what to expect from him, head over to Bolt Prospects where Chad has a full write up ready for your reading.
If you haven't noted from the very top of this post, this is another game that will be broadcast on Fox Sports Florida, Sun Sports sister station. Please don't make the mistake of looking for the Lightning on Sun Sports tonight - you'll get baseball instead.
On a more personal note, this will formally be Cassie McClellan's last game with Raw Charge. I'm not sure she'll be around for the game thread tonight (which starts 30 minutes before game time) but you may want to stop by simply to tell her safe travels and farewell.
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