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Lightning affiliate interviews McSorley for coaching job

By DAMIAN CRISTODERO and Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 7, 2002

DETROIT -- Marty McSorley could return to pro hockey.

The former Bruins enforcer, banned from the NHL two years ago for a stick attack on former Canucks enforcer Donald Brashear, has interviewed for the head-coaching job of the Lightning's minor-league affiliate in Springfield, Mass.

Tampa Bay shares the AHL Falcons with the Coyotes, who will do the hiring. The Lightning hires assistants.

Coyotes general manager Mike Barnett and Lightning general manager Jay Feaster declined comment.

The Falcons referred questions to Phoenix.

It is no surprise McSorley, 39, could partner with the Coyotes. Barnett was McSorley's agent, and McSorley is a longtime friend of Coyotes co-owner Wayne Gretzky from their days with the Kings and Oilers.

"Marty knows the game very well," said ESPN studio analyst Barry Melrose, who coached McSorley with the Kings from 1992-95.

"He's always been a leader on any team he's been to, and a coach should be a leader."

McSorley, a native of Hamilton, Ontario, had 108 goals and 3,381 penalty minutes in 961 NHL games.

MORE LIGHTNING: Tampa Bay picked up the option on minor-league left wing Ryan Tobler. ... Head medical trainer Dave Boyer left to take a similar position with the Panthers. Former Florida trainer Stan Wong has interviewed for the Lightning job. ... Richard Lehman, out as Tampa Bay's team doctor, also went to the Panthers. ... Left wing Fredrik Modin is a Florida Sports Award finalist. The award for top pro hockey player will be announced Saturday.

BETTMAN CHALLENGES UNION: With strong language, commissioner Gary Bettman challenged the players union to begin bargaining to avoid a work stoppage when the collective-bargaining agreement expires in September 2004.

"The union knows exactly what our issues are and how we think they need to be solved," Bettman said Thursday before Game 2 at Joe Louis Arena. "That's not anything the union has indicated any willingness to address right now.

"I do believe the longer this goes on, the harder it's going to be to fix. So nobody should be surprised that if the problem is greater in two years, it isn't going to be because (the league) didn't try to fix it sooner. But that's the union's decision."

The league's issue is "cost-certainty." In other words, a salary cap.

"But what is a salary cap?" Bettman said. "There are hard caps. There are soft caps. There are lots of ways to do it.

"But we need to have cost predictability, cost certainty, and it needs to be in line with our revenues."

Bettman hinted the negotiations could determine the fate of some teams, though he said contraction is not a consideration.

"We committed to getting to 2004 and doing everything in our power with 30 teams all where they are currently located," he said. "It's a good thing the CBA does expire in 2004 because a lot of clubs are planning on getting to 2004 so we can fix the system.

"We have worked very hard to grow this game, make it strong. The players are doing very well and, to a point, I don't begrudge them that. But the system has to work overall, and all our franchises need to be healthy and competitive."

MORE BETTMAN: The commissioner said no decision on the NHL's participation in the 2006 Olympics in Torino, Italy, will be made until a new collective-bargaining agreement is reached. ... He is not ready to comment about steps to protect fans from flying pucks until a panel, established to study the issue, gives its report. ... Bettman said much of the criticism of the officials has been "unfair" and the league is committed to the two-referee system. ... He said ways to speed up the game could be instituted next season. The most likely is some form of the hurry-up faceoff.

BRUINS: Former University of Maine defenseman Peter Metcalf signed a two-year deal. Financial terms weren't disclosed. He was drafted by Toronto in 1999 but did not sign and became a free agent.

RANGERS: As expected, Bryan Trottier, one of the greatest Islanders ever, was hired to coach their archrivals. He takes over for Ron Low, who was fired at the end of the regular season, the fifth in a row out of the playoffs for the Rangers.

Also, goalie Mike Richter said he hopes to work out a deal with the team before he becomes a free agent on July1.


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