St. Petersburg Times
Tampa Bay Lightning

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Dingman defends penalty minutes

By DAMIAN CRISTODERO, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published October 13, 2002

TAMPA -- Asked why he swung his stick toward the face of Carolina's Jesse Boulerice, Chris Dingman did not hesitate.

"He slashed me across the face," the left wing said.

The incident, with 4:26 remaining in Tampa Bay's 5-1 victory over the Hurricanes on Saturday night at the St. Pete Times Forum, was the most startling of the 49 penalties for 169 penalty minutes.

Boulerice got two minutes for high-sticking and Dingman got a five-minute, high-sticking major and a 10-minute, intent-to-injure match penalty that carries an automatic suspension until the commissioner's office rules.

"I haven't talked to Dinger," coach John Tortorella said. "I'm not sure what was going through his head. It's going to be reviewed, and we'll take what they give us."

Dingman said he doesn't think he should be suspended.

"I don't think I should get any (games)," he said. "I didn't touch him. He's the guy who should get suspended, slashing a guy across the face."

* * *

BEST DEFENSE IS OFFENSE: The Lightning's system encourages the defense to join the rush and pinch into the offensive zone, and the defensemen have taken advantage with eight points in two games, including goals by Brad Lukowich and Jassen Cullimore.

It took nine games last season for the Lightning to get a goal from a defenseman, and 15 before it got its second.

"I think the defense played very well and pinched very well," Tortorella said. "I think the offense is being created from that. They're up the ice and they're involved.

Stan Neckar, Dan Boyle and Pavel Kubina have two assists each.

MODIN STILL HURTING: Left wing Fredrik Modin was scratched for the second straight game because of a strained groin. While Modin said the muscle becomes fatigued after about 15 minutes of skating, the pain has lessened. "It's going in the right direction, and that's very good," Modin said.

FIRST TIME: After being called for three minor penalties against the Panthers, Russian rookie Alexander Svitov sat down with Tortorella to talk about the new anti-obstruction rules.

Right wing Ruslan Fedotenko was interpreter.

"His legs have to keep moving," Tortorella said. "I think he has a better understanding. But you don't want to tell a guy you can't close people out. That's going to be a big part of his game."

Said Svitov, without Fedotenko: "The game is fast and aggressive."

Through Fedotenko, he said, "I don't have enough experience to know when to hold on and when to let go."

ODDS AND ENDS: With its victory over the Panthers Thursday, Tampa Bay equaled last season's victories when trailing entering the third period. ... Defenseman Nolan Pratt and forward Andre Roy (suspended) and Hurricanes defenseman Glen Wesely (groin) were scratched.

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