By JOANNE KORTH, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 10, 2002
TAMPA -- Center Brian Holzinger had surgery Wednesday to repair what turned out to be a completely torn left rotator cuff. He will miss the rest of the season.
Holzinger, 29, tried to battle the injury for more than a month. He was hurt Nov. 17 against Carolina but stayed in the game and played in three more before aggravating the injury Nov. 23 against New Jersey. The initial diagnosis was a partial tear.
Holzinger missed 17 of 21 games, twice trying to come back after rest, but the shoulder did not respond. Rehabilitation will take 3-4 months.
"We admire the fact that Brian tried to play through this, but ultimately the pain became too much," general manager Rick Dudley said. "He's had the injury for quite some time."
Holzinger had one goal and two assists in 23 games.
He was placed on injured reserved late Tuesday, but the Lightning likely will not call up anyone from the minor leagues to fill the roster spot. Coach John Tortorella prefers a 22-man roster to the maximum 23.
HARD LESSON: Forward Ben Clymer did not sleep the nights before or after the game last week at Chicago.
Why the restless nights? Clymer did not play.
Tortorella benched Clymer and forward Zdeno Ciger against the Blackhawks, hoping to inspire them to play better. Clymer plans never to be benched again.
"Sitting out and watching, you realize there is a big price to be paid not only to play but to be successful," said Clymer, who has eight goals but just one in his past 18 games. "It was extremely clear that I wanted to go out and make sure he never had the opportunity to do that to me again.
"It was a very humbling experience."
Since returning to the lineup Clymer has worked hard. He skated 20 shifts in Sunday's 3-0 win at Phoenix and 15 in Tuesday's 2-1 loss to Dallas. Against the Stars he had a scoring chance on a rebound in front of the net but shot high over the goal.
"I just want to be a positive factor, to make sure I play so hard that when he's filling out the lineup sheet he can't take Ben Clymer's name off it," Clymer, 23, said. "I tried to take it for what it's worth and learn from it."
IN KUBINA'S DEFENSE: Defenseman Pavel Kubina's recent poor play is hurting the team, but he is too valuable to take out of the lineup, Tortorella said. Tortorella's postgame interview Tuesday opened with an aggressive line of questions from local radio talk-show host Steve Duemig, who accused Tortorella of having different standards for different players.
"Do you know how much respect Kubina has in that room from his players because he tries to make a difference?" Tortorella said. "Yes, he is struggling right now. But you can't take him out of the lineup. He does too many other good things for this club."