Erik Erlendsson covers the Tampa Bay Lightning for The Tampa Tribune.
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Training camp roster change
Posted Sep 12, 2007 by Erik Erlendsson
Updated Sep 12, 2007 at 09:56 PM
Tampa Bay will be bringing defenseman David Schneider to training camp on Thursday to replace 2005 first-round pick Vladimir Mihalik, who will report directly to camp for Norfolk next week. Schneider, a 5-foot-9 offensive style defenseman, played the past four seasons in Finland before Tampa Bay signed him as a free agent this summer.
UPDATE I spoke with Jay Feaster and to paraphrase him, basically they feel that it became obvious that Mihalik just isn’t ready to make the jump to the NHL. While he made great strides last year in Prince George, jumping to the NHL this year is too great of a leap. It’s partly due, Feaster admitted, to over-inflated expectations. Sometimes you get caught up with in his size (6-foot-7) and his skating ability and think he is ready. But the fact is he is still a young player who needs playing time in the AHL, which he should get plenty of in Norfolk. Feaster also said that Mihalik’s groin muscles were a bit tender and there was no need to put him through the rigors of training camp in Brandon.
Here are some of Feaster’s thoughts on Mihalik and some other comments on Traverse City:
On Mihalik: “It was a case where we were able to see enough of Vlad at this camp to know that he’s not going to make our team, that’s simply not going to happen right now. And his groins have been bothering him to the point where he didn’t practice on Sunday when we practiced. So we talked about it and rather than having him go in there and struggle and have it be an issue, it was decided that we are better off bringing in the 28-year old who really signed with us in the belief that he would make our hockey team. So this gives him the opportunity and starts Vlady out where he ought to be. We’re kidding ourselves if we thought he was going to step up and make our hockey club. It was wishful thinking and we’ve all seen enough [in Traverse City] to believe that we are not advancing his cause or our own by bringing him right now.’‘
On over inflated expectations for the 6-foot-7 Slovak: “He played well last year in junior and we had real good reports on him. With a man that size who skates that well, you would like to think that he’s ready when the fact is he is still just a kid. And as we always talk, it’s such a difficult position to play so we decided that it’s better to go this direction.’‘
On the play of center Chris Lawrence: “Lawrence to me was the same as he has been, there were times he was a world beater and other times you didn’t notice him, so there was that consistency factor.’‘
Praise for Radek Smolenak, who had seven points: ” If he can continue to do what he did there I think he could elevate himself into a legitimate prospect.’‘
I have some other comments from Feaster on goaltender Riku Helenius and defenseman Mike Lundin, but look for those in the paper on Friday or Saturday.