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Slap shots

By DAMIAN CRISTODERO, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 15, 2002

Tales from the road

After the Lightning flew into Toronto on Dec. 1 for a Dec. 3 game against the Maple Leafs, defensemen Pavel Kubina and Stan Neckar went to one of the city's trendiest restaurants, Coco Lezzone.

Neckar said they left at 11:15 p.m. About four hours later, a bomb blast blew out a set of sliding front doors and shattered windows of nearby stores, cars and apartments. The interior of the restaurant was not damaged.

Kubina saw a television report and called Neckar.

"I said, 'Oh, come on.' I thought he was joking," Neckar said. "When I came back to my room, we saw it on TV, and that night we took a cab and saw the restaurant was all damaged in front. It was pretty lucky because that was pretty close to where we were sitting."

The Toronto Sun said the blast was big enough to do plenty of damage. But either through luck or ignorance, the bomb was placed in a spot that minimized its effect.

Five Questions with Wild defenseman Andrei Zyuzin:

Q: You're averaging 20:52 of ice time. What's clicking?

A: It's just so comfortable. My wife loves it here. It (St. Paul, Minn.) is a quiet place and the team is great. I can't really explain it. It's like when you walk into a house and say, "I'm buying it."

Q: What's the difference between the way you play with the Wild and played with the Lightning?

A: It's more comfortable for me here. It's not like I'm just running around the rink. The Lightning asked me to play offense, offense, offense. But it can't be always offense, offense, offense. You have to know when to stay at home.

Q: Did people expect too much of you in Tampa?

A: I don't know what people expected of me. When I played in Russia, I never thought about that. I'm not looking to show people and say, "Here I am." I'm doing this for myself.

Q: Are you finally developing into the player expected after you were drafted second overall in 1996?

A: I'm not going to jump from the first step to the fifth. I'm going to take it step by step. I'm just trying to do things better. If I see the play, I can jump in, but it has to be 100 percent.

Q: So you're older and wiser, huh?

A: Exactly.

Around the league

The Calgary Sun reported that Larry Robinson and Ted Nolan are the top candidates for the Flames coaching job. ... Hurricanes goalie Kevin Weekes, recovering from a concussion, isn't expected to play for at least another week.


"I don't look at the papers. I know that (ESPN analyst) Barry Melrose says we lie when we say we don't read it, but I don't read it. If there's something I should know about, people will tell me to look at it, but I don't read it." -- Bruins coach Robbie Ftorek.

-- Compiled by Times staff writer Damian Cristodero using personal interviews and information from other news organizations.

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