Kidd not alright with Tabaracci's return
Mike Board, Calgary Herald
June 22, 1997
The Tabby Cat is back.
There's a new kid on the block.
The incumbent is confused. Very confused.
Suddenly, things are once again very crowded, and very interesting in the Calgary Flames' goal crease.
The Flames re-acquired goalie Rick Tabaracci from the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday at the National Hockey League Entry Draft in exchange for a pick in next year's draft.
The move, rumored since the world championships this spring when Tabaracci met with Flames general manager Al Coates in Europe, may not be the last goaltending deal of the off-season for the Flames.
Then, in the second round of the draft, the Flames drafted Prince George product Evan Lindsay with a view to the future.
Contacted at his off-season home on Lake of the Woods on the Ontario-Manitoba border, Trevor Kidd wasn't sure what to think.
"I wasn't watching the draft, but my agent phoned and said I'd never guess what happened. I thought I had been traded," said Kidd.
"I'm surprised. It's tough to say what is going on.
"This is the last thing I expected to happen."
Said Calgary general manager Al Coates: "I think the initial impression is 'Here we go again. What are we going to do with three goalies?' But as (head pro scout and player personnel director) Nick Polano just said to me, 'Let them fight for it until somebody emerges.' That may or may not materialize. It's a long time to go between now and when we play a game in September."
The Flames have put themselves in the same position they were in last season with three goaltenders -- all of whom need to be protected on the roster-- vying for two spots.
Tabaracci, Kidd and Dwayne Roloson entered last year's training camp competing for the two jobs. When the season started, all three remained in Calgary.
It proved to be an uneasy situation with the goaltenders often expressing frustration about not getting enough practice and playing time.
A month and a half into the season, after placing Tabaracci on waivers, the Flames dealt him to Tampa Bay for forward Aaron Gavey.
Tabaracci, filling in for the injured Daren Puppa, did an admirable job for the Lightning, appearing in 55 games and posting a 20-25-6 record and a 2.75 goals against average.
However, he became expendable for the Lightning with Puppa's recovery from back surgery and the emerging of youngster Corey Schwab as a solid backup.
The Lightning agreed to trade Tabaracci to the team of his choice -- Calgary -- although there was also speculation that he might be traded to Ottawa.
"I'm ecstatic to be coming back," said Tabaracci in a brief interview before driving from Maryland to Toronto yesterday.
Popular with fans and media, Tabaracci left Calgary on solid terms, praising the organization as the best he has ever been involved with in his nine NHL seasons.
Tabaracci was also popular with players in the dressing room, except for Kidd.
"He was an extremely popular player on our team when he was there," said Coates.
Essentially it was Tabaracci and Kidd battling for playing time and the No. 1 position -- and that led to animosity between the pair.
The question is, can they patch up their differences and play together again?
"Obviously we'll have to," said Kidd, a restricted free agent the Flames must make a qualifying offer to by July 1 to retain his rights.
Roloson a restricted free agent, currently involved in contract negotiations with the Flames, may be the odd man out.
Or will it be Kidd?
Coates did not rule out a goalie trade before the season begins.
"Potentially, I guess, anything can happen there.
"We have to look at all options," said Coates.
"We recognized that goaltending was the most important area of the team in terms of winning."
Added Kidd: "At the end of the season, there were some serious questions about what my future was in Calgary. Maybe they want to trade me. They have depth now. Now they have the flexibility to trade me if they want.
"It's frustrating because I have absolutely no idea what is going on."
The Flames also acquired goalies Tyler Moss (for defenceman Jamie Huscroft) from Tampa and Tyrone Garner (along with Marty McInnis for Robert Reichel) at the trade deadline. Moss finished the season in Saint John while Garner was in junior in Ontario.
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