The Augusta Lynx are working furiously to get Judd Lambert back, but the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks of the American Hockey League seem unwilling to cooperate.
Mighty Ducks coach Mike Babcock said Monday he expects Lambert to remain with his club until the end of the National Hockey League regular season, when one of his team's regular goalies returns from a stint with the parent Anaheim Mighty Ducks.
"Unfortunately, that's the nature of the business," Babcock said by phone Monday, when asked if he was sympathetic for the Lynx and their goaltending dilemma. "No one was worried about us when our goalie was called up (to Anaheim)."
Lambert, who signed a 25-game AHL professional tryout contract with Cincinnati on March 12, did not play in the Ducks' two games last weekend. Babcock added that he had no plans to start Lambert anytime soon unless his current No. 1 goalie, Scott Langkow, falters.
"I'm a one-goalie coach, so I'm going to go with the hot hand," said Babcock, who has never seen Lambert play in a game. "But if there was a situation where I wanted to change things, I'd have no problem starting Lambert. He's looked good in practice, and I've heard very good things about him from other people."
Lynx general manager Paul Gamsby said Monday evening he still hopes to work out an arrangement to allow Lambert to return to Augusta.
"Judd called me (Monday morning) and indicated he would be interested in coming back to Augusta," Gamsby said. "The only thing stopping him is some details that need to be worked out with his agent. If Judd's not happy there or if it's not working out for him, then we need to get him back."
Gamsby said he already has worked out an arrangement to have an NHL-contracted goalie assigned to the Lynx for the rest of the season, and he will move forward with that deal if the Lambert situation is not resolved by today.
Center Paul Vincent returned to practice Monday for the first time in more than a week and will be in the lineup tonight against Greenville.
Vincent suffered a strained medial collateral ligament March 10 in a win at Greensboro and could not return to the ice until he was fitted for a special brace, which he tried out for the first time Monday morning.
"Vinny was flying around out there," Lynx coach Jim Burton said. "We missed not having him, especially the last game."
Vincent will center his regular line with Jonas Soling and Scott Morrow, while center Lars Pettersen will return to the Alberta Connection line with wingers Dean Tiltgen and Louis Dumont. Vincent, Pettersen and Tiltgen will alternate centering a third line with Dorian Anneck and Sandy Lamarre.
Reach Rob Mueller at (706) 823-3425 or firstname.lastname@example.org.