When the Canes' Jiri Tlusty hit the post with a shot Saturday against the Atlanta Thrashers, he said he detected something of a smile from Thrashers goaltender Ondrej Pavelec.
No surprise, though. Tlusty and Pavelec both are native Czechs, and Tlusty said they had been close friends since they were six years old. Tlusty said they had dinner Friday night, noting he paid the check.
And then did Pavelec another favor by hitting the post. The Canes trailed 3-1 late in the second period when Tlusty came ever-so-close to scoring with 2:43 left in the period.
"I was kind of mad," Tlusty said. "He gave me a few looks when he was over near our bench. He was kissing his goal post.
"We once played against each other and I scored two goals on him. Now he has won."
The Canes face the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday night, and the Bolts have called up goaltender Dustin Tokarski from Norfolk (AHL) with Mike Smith still on the mend with a neck strain. It's the first recall for Tokarski, 20, who made his NHL debut Saturday against the Florida Panthers, relieving starter Antero Niittymaki in the third period.
As a junior, Tokarski helped the Spokane Chiefs win the 2008 Memorial Cup. One of his Chiefs teammates: forward Drayson Bowman, who was recalled Friday by the Canes and made his NHL debut Saturday against Atlanta.
"We played three years together at Spokane and won a Memorial Cup together, so he's one of my good buddies," Bowman said. "Definitely glad to see him up, too."
Bowman said he planned to text Tokarski and see if he wanted to have dinner Sunday night. No word on who might pick up that check.