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Newest player hopes to spark listless offense

By JOANNE KORTH, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 9, 2002

TAMPA -- Dan Boyle did not have much time to meet his new teammates, or find a pair of gloves that fit, before playing his first game with the Lightning.

Boyle, a defenseman acquired Monday from the Panthers, played Tuesday against Dallas.

"My agent told me this is a young team looking for offense from the blue line. That's my job," said Boyle, 25. "If I'm not doing that, I feel like I'm not doing my job."

Boyle had 10 goals and 29 assists in 129 games with Florida. But at 5 feet 11, 190 pounds, he did not fit into new coach Mike Keenan's system. Boyle was a healthy scratch for nine of 10 games before the trade.

"I knew it was coming," Boyle said. "I was fed up. I had reached the point where I was going to have a talk with him. And that same day, they came and told me about the trade.

"I heard from a couple of sources that (Keenan) doesn't like smaller defensemen. But I've been successful. This is my fourth year. The offensive part of the game is what I bring. This is a new life for me, a new chance."

The Lightning, second-to-last in goals entering Tuesday, hopes Boyle will jump-start its struggling offense. "He's a guy who can get you out of your zone, and that's something we really need," coach John Tortorella said.

"The key to getting out of your end is the first pass."

NO EXCUSE: The theory that Tampa Bay's offense suffers because it puts too much emphasis on defense is "a crock," Tortorella said.

"The club is not stressing too much defense," he said. "We have to play defense, and that's something we didn't do last year. To say we beat it into their heads every day, we don't.

"Our offensive people need to put pressure on themselves to score and continue to play defense. That's part of being a complete player."

HOLZINGER SURGERY: Center Brian Holzinger will have surgery today on the partially torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder. Holzinger has missed 17 of 21 games since Nov.25, but the injury did not respond to rest.

The surgery will be performed by team physician Richard Lehman in St. Louis. ONE-TIMERS: Brad Richards will sign autographs from 6-7 tonight at Busch's Family Sports Bar & Grill, 2920 E. Busch Blvd., Tampa. ... Center Tim Taylor (groin), Holzinger and defenseman Grant Ledyard (healthy) were scratched. ... Stars wing Pat Verbeek became the 19th player to reach 1,400 games.

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