From the outset of camp defenseman prospect Gerard Dicaire
was expected to be one of a handful of Lightning defensemen fighting for the sixth defenseman spot in Tampa. [url=http://www.sptimes.com/2005/09/14/Lightning/Second_opinion_on_Dic.shtml]Expectations turned to disappointment for Gerard Dicaire when he struggled to make it through conditioning drills at the start of camp.[/url] However, after being checked out by doctors, disappointment has turned into concern as [url=http://www.sptimes.com/2005/09/16/Lightning/Prospect_s_condition_.shtml]the young defenseman has been diagnosed with neurocardiogenic syncope, a nuerological disorder which causes the body difficulty in regulating blood pressure, leading to fainting spells.[/url]
For Dicaire, who already has seen his development slowed by contract negotiation difficulties, a split affiliation agreement and surgery to remove boils from his back since being drafted by the Lightning in 2002, the disorder is just one more roadblock in a career which just two years ago seemed on the fast track to the NHL. Dicaire's health issues aren't considered season or career threatening, but one has to wonder which straw will break the camel's back?
Speaking of which, veteran Todd Rohloff is currently struggling with back spasms. With he and Dicaire sitting out much of camp thus far, no other defenseman has fully seized the sixth defenseman spot. As a consequence, [url=http://www.sptimes.com/2005/09/14/Lightning/Questions_abound__but.shtml]Tom Jones of the St. Pete Times speculates the team may fill the spot via the waiver wire or the signing of a free agent by opening night.[/url] If one had to handicap the field at this point, Timo Helbling and Doug O'Brien
likely have the lead on the rest of the field as camp moves towards exhibition games where hopes of making it to Tampa could be made or broken.