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Lightning’s first post-deadline day practice, who was missing and where is Gary Roberts?

Posted Mar 5, 2009 by Erik Erlendsson

Updated Mar 5, 2009 at 04:01 PM

BRANDON - Just look out on the ice this morning at practice, you would have thought it was trade deadline day rather than the day after because of all the absent bodies.

Missing were left wing Ryan Malone, who is out with the flu, defenseman Lukas Krajicek, also feeling the effects of being sick, as well as center Paul Szczechura, who started practice but left early with a bruised wrist. None of the three have been ruled out for Friday’s game against St. Louis.

The most intersting absence was that of Gary Roberts. Not only was Roberts not on the ice, he didn’t have his equipment in Brandon nor a locker stall. Seems a bit odd, considering the circumstances surrounding Roberts, who was placed on waivers Tuesday and cleared on Wednesday. Lightning general manager Brian Lawton said on Wednesday that without being able to move Roberts, that the organization would treat him with the proper respect and not do anything like send him to the minors. But you have to wonder if we’ve seen the last of Roberts, who spoke an awful lot like he had played his last game when we caught up with him after Tuesday’s game, even stating that he took a stick and signed it for Steven Stamkos. Perhaps Roberts knew that if he didn’t get picked up on waivers, that he was done playing.

All Rick Tocchet said about Roberts today was that he was given the day off. But judging from the way information is distributed around the team these days, I take that to mean Tocchet just can’t talk about it. I’m still waiting to hear from Lawton today regarding, not only Roberts, but also the 20-game suspension for Steve Downie in the AHL.

New winger Martins Karsams was at practice, working on a line with Vinny Prospal and Vinny Lecavalier. The first thing that struck me about Karsams is how much his build looks almost identical to Mark Recchi, especially from a distance. I had to do a double-take the first time I looked out to make sure it wasn’t Recchi.

Noah Welch was also on the ice and he will be in the lineup against St. Louis. We spoke to him briefly after practice and after being out of the lineup so often in Florida this year, he’s just happy to have the chance to play in a few games.

Reader Comments

Por (Geografer) on March 05, 2009 (Suggest removal)

If I was Roberts I would be done too. After what he has seen this organiztion do and then the slap in the face of not hearing from your own team you’d been waived I can’t blame him. One more burnt bridge for OK Hockey. You just don’t treat a future hall of famer that way.

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Por (Mario Crociat) on March 05, 2009 (Suggest removal)

I see a lot of saddness and apathy about the Lightning from “EE” and the other comments. I remember in high school and college always hearing a good team or organization is built from the bottom up. In that case, check out the Mississippi Riverkings and their position in the standings and for the CHL playoffs. I believe this team is part of the Lightning organization. This is a great club to watch and follow. Give them some coverage “EE” and check out their website. The organization is doing right, just not where we can see it yet! This club shows lots of skill and grit.

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Por (Rich) on March 05, 2009 (Suggest removal)

Roberts is a washed up hasbeen who has been forunate to be able to steal a few more paychecks from the Bolts and the Panthers. Seeya.

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Por (Niki) on March 05, 2009 (Suggest removal)

Thanks for your hard work and updates yesterday Erik - wouldn’t have wanted to go through it without you!

In time the moves made yesterday by Lawton may make sense and help the team. However, here and now they are overshadowed by his terrible communication skills. Time and again he comes across as arrogant and clueless about people management. Some examples: the whole circus caused by his ‘never say never’ statement about trading V4; Recchi hearing about his trade from Len Barrie; Roberts hearing he’d been placed on waivers from his brother. Lawton’s lack of ability to communicate effectively with his staff, the fans and the media, is feeding a perception of organizational incompetence amongst those of us looking in from the outside.

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Por (hockeyWa) on March 05, 2009 (Suggest removal)

one statement needed…

rich, St. Pete

you’re a complete idiot. If you are a season ticket holder, which i doubt, please turn them in and do not attend another game.  You have NO clue about hockey.

That is all.

damon smile

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Por (Tim Halstead) on March 06, 2009 (Suggest removal)

Just to let you know geografer, About roberts hearing from his brother before the orginazation on being on waivers. Is starting to become common like scottie upshall said in an interview someone from cbc told him he was traded 2 hours before the gm of the flyers told him. Tsn has so many in depth reporters they do find out before the gm’s are able to tell their players.

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Por (Bolt Fan) on March 06, 2009 (Suggest removal)

Wait a minute.  The GM put Roberts on waivers, so he had to know that he was going to waive him.  Common courtesy, particularly for a future Hall of Famer, would have said that Lawton should sit down with Roberts and tell him what he was going to do before he did it.  Roberts should not have to find out is such a cold hearted manner.

That wasn’t a business decision - not to talk with Roberts - but a cowardice decision because he couldn’t face the man and tell him.

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Por (NotSoFastMyFriend) on March 06, 2009 (Suggest removal)

Roberts a future HOF’er? I’ll take that bet.

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Por (Justin) on March 06, 2009 (Suggest removal)

What’s the problem with Recchi hearing about his trade from Barrie, I think that’s been the most noble thing Barries done since he’s had his foot in his mouth with his gaurantee. And Roberts hearing from family he was beeing waived…Pascal LeClaire found out he was traded from watching TSN.ca.

I don’t see a problem with Lawton’s character, I see a problem in his ability to be a GM.

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