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Bridging the gap

(3/9/97 - Calgary at Tampa)
Mark Miller - Calgary Sun
TAMPA BAY, Fla - The bitterness of their rivalry is just below the surface.
Rick Tabaracci and Trevor Kidd never got along as teammates in Calgary.
Their battle for starting goaltender eventually came down to an untenable situation where one had to go.
That was Tabaracci, who left bitter and confident he would prove Calgary made the wrong move.
Tabaracci has assumed the starting role in Tampa that he so coveted in Calgary. He's hailed as the savior and, today, he'll be out to send a message to the fans who made him their favorite in Calgary.
In the absence of injured starter Daren Puppa, Tabby's play to date with the Lightning has provided a convincing argument he's a fighter who belongs.
So it wasn't really surprising that he levelled some serious accusations of poor leadership against Kidd during a recent interview with the Sun.
"It was fairly evident the day I left and read the quotes from Kidder that things could have been better," he said last month.
"I've never had a partner who created animosity the way he did.
"I get along great with Corey Schwab here even though I've taken away his playing time. There's no reason a relationship shouldn't always be like that.
"Dwayne Roloson is the same type of character guy as Schwab and the other good guys I've played with. Those are the kind of guys you want in your organization. It was a different situation with Trevor. That's unfortunate but that's the way it went."
Tabaracci stumbled badly in blowing a 4-1 lead against Boston yesterday afternoon. But one thing his departure from Calgary has shown is that Kidd is not to blame solely for the animosity that dominated their Flames relationship.
Kidd and Roloson have proven they can provide the kind of solid goaltending this offensively-challenged team needs to win.
More importantly, Kidd and Roloson -- a good friend of Tabby's -- have developed a positive relationship devoid of the in-fighting and ego wars of the Tabaracci era. "Rollie and I get along very well. It's unfortunate me and Tabby couldn't get things going," says Kidd, who will serve as back up for this morning's game.
"It had a lot to do with the situation Tabby and I played in where both of us wanted to play but, with the rotation of staying in until you'd lose, you'd be cheering for the team to win ... but you realized that meant you wouldn't be playing.
"I hope maybe one day Tabby and I can sit down and have a pop and maybe talk things over."
Although Roloson is now on a roll, it is not with the same reluctance that Kidd watches.
"It's the same playing situation but I had a great opportunity to play in 14 straight. Me and Rollie talk a lot on the ice about the games, whether he or I are in," says Kidd.
"It's a different relationship.
"No question it was a learning experience with Tabby.
"We went through a lot and I learned a lot about dealing with that situation and the media. He's a great goaltender and now we're both trying to get our respective clubs into the playoffs."
Roloson, who has won four of his last five starts, will play today although Tabaracci may not because of his performance yesterday against the Bruins.
"I hope he plays because we're friends and it will be a good rivalry with all the guys," said Roloson, who has impressed coaches with his confident play of the past week.
It will be the playoffs where this goaltending duo faces its toughest challenge.
But in the high pressure of the race for the post season -they've proven capable of filling the void left by Tabaracci.
Tabaracci will be out to prove different.

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