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Kubina's exile to press box ends

By BRUCE LOWITT, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 18, 2002


RALEIGH, N.C. -- Defenseman Pavel Kubina's banishment ended in time Sunday for his family in the Czech Republic to watch him score the tying goal.

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Defenseman Pavel Kubina's banishment ended in time Sunday for his family in the Czech Republic to watch him score the tying goal.

Kubina, who played 21:13, had never been a healthy scratch in his previous five seasons. Coach John Tortorella benched him for two games for lack of aggressiveness.

"One of the worst things that can happen to a player is to get benched," Kubina said. "It wasn't a good feeling. You learn from watching the games (from the press box). You get (ticked) off, and then you work harder to get ready for the next game."

Tortorella said he "definitely wanted Kubie back in the lineup." He wouldn't be specific about their conversations, "but I think he was challenged. And when you challenge a player and put him in that type of spot, you need to give the player an opportunity to answer you.

"I thought Kubie played harder. He scored a big goal, and I thought he made a couple of big plays killing penalties," said Tortorella who added he hasn't settled on his top six defensemen. "We'll assess that as we watch the tape."

Goalie Kevin Hodson (groin) and left wing Fredrik Modin (back spasms) were scratched. Left wing Chris Dingman and defenseman Brad Lukowich were healthy scratches.

HI, MOM: The families of five European Lightning players saw the game, televised to the Czech Republic (Kubina, Stan Neckar), Russia (Nikolai Khabibulin, Alexander Svitov) and Sweden (Jimmie Olvestad).

Two other Europeans did not play, Modin of Sweden and backup goalie Evgeny Konstantinov of Russia, who got some TV time at the end of the bench.

The game also was shown in Norway, Finland, Hungary, Denmark and, on tape delay, Slovakia. Lightning TV analyst Bobby Taylor spent the morning with the players learning how to say hello to their families.

BEHIND THE MASK: Carolina goalie Kevin Weekes, who began the day No.2 in the league in goals-against average at 1.74, made his first start against his former team. He did play in relief in the first meeting this season.

"It's too bad Weeksie had to be on the receiving end of the winning goal," said Cory Sarich, who scored after a deke. "I shot a lot against him in practice, and all I did was shoot right (at him). So I guess he was surprised with the move."

RELATIVELY CALM: The Lightning and Hurricanes combined for 14 penalties (28 minutes), mild compared with the 48 penalties (159 minutes) in their first game.

"It was a tough game, a rough game, but a good game," Lightning right wing Martin St. Louis said. "It was a chippy game, a lot of hits and slashes and whatnot."

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