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Andreychuk seeking better terms

By DAMIAN CRISTODERO and Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 8, 2002

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The contract situation between Dave Andreychuk and the Lightning has hit a snag, or as Roland Thompson, Andreychuk's agent called it, "a hiccup."

Thompson said his client is not satisfied with Tampa Bay simply picking up the option on his contract. He also wants the Lightning to guarantee "a portion of the attainable bonuses" the forward earned last season.

Andreychuk made a base salary of $850,000 last season. Performance bonuses pushed it to about $1.1-million.

"We're certainly committed to returning to the Lightning, but there are some obstacles that have to be resolved," Thompson said. "He came in and did everything required, yet the Lightning's option is the same as last year. Is that fair?

"We're trying to find ways to tweak the contract so it's not going to hurt the budget of the club, but it is going to acknowledge Dave's performance beyond the call last year."

Lightning general manager Jay Feaster said he will pick up Andreychuk's option and will investigate what bonuses can be shifted to base salary.

"I have a good relationship with Roland, and I respect Andy enough I'll go back and look at it and see if there are such slam-dunk items that I can say, 'Let's convert to the base,' " Feaster said. "At the same time, the player has already committed to the contract he signed last season."

Thompson is not overstating what Andreychuk, 38, meant to the Lightning.

The strongest voice in the locker room, he had team highs of 21 goals, nine power-play goals and five winners. And he led all forwards with 74 blocked shots and averaged 16:26 of ice time.

Andreychuk said last month he will play for the Lightning if Feaster picks up his option, and Thompson reiterated the point.

One thing is clear: Feaster will not allow Andreychuk to become a free agent, which would occur if his option is not renewed by June30. That could set up a scenario in which Andreychuk finds work with Panthers GM Rick Dudley, who, as Lightning GM, signed Andreychuk last year.

"We're just not going to let that happen," Feaster said.

Andreychuk's other course of action is to sit out, but Thompson said Andreychuk does not want to consider that.

"The intent," Thompson said, "is to come up with something that everyone is happy with and can live with."

GRIND LINE?: On a team filled with superstars, Detroit's top line has been center Kris Draper, left wing Kirk Maltby and Darren McCarty.

"I have thought it amusing," Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice said, "that the (Detroit) media referred to that as their fourth line. I don't know if you can call them a defensive line anymore. They are on fire scoring left and right."

Maltby has two goals. Draper has a goal and an assist, and McCarty has an assist. Through 20 playoff games, the line has nine goals and 10 assists.

"I think we feel confident in our game," Draper said. "We are a line that likes to get in there and grind it out and cycle the puck and take the puck to the net.

"We feel strong playing down low and getting loose pucks and creating chances for one another. We feel we can be a factor in this series."

ODDS AND ENDS: Carolina's power play was 0-for-8 in Game 2. Maurice said a tentative Sami Kapanen will remain on the point. The coach also praised Detroit. "Their team is probably the best in the league in terms of having a big group of very, very smart, intelligent hockey players," he said. ... Detroit's two goals in 13 seconds in Game 2 were one second off the league record. ... ESPN's ratings for the first two games are up 47 percent. About 2.6-million households watched Game 1, and 2.2-million watched Game 2.

LIGHTNING NEWS: Tampa Bay announced it hired Thomas Mulligan, 28, as head trainer. He spent the past four seasons with AHL Providence.

FLAMES: Defenseman Jordan Leopold, the 2002 Hobey Baker Award winner, signed. Terms were not disclosed.

PENGUINS: Mario Lemieux said he will return next season. He played in just 24 games after injuring his hip during the preseason.

MacLEAN RETIRES: John MacLean, the Devils' all-time leader scorer, retired after 19 seasons. He had 413 goals, 429 assists and 1,328 penalty minutes.

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