St. Petersburg Times
Tampa Bay Lightning
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Players also follow Bucs

By BRUCE LOWITT, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 12, 2003

TAMPA -- The Lightning will have a contingent of fans, including center Brad Richards and left wing Chris Dingman, at today's 49ers-Bucs playoff game at Raymond James Stadium.

"Football's pretty big in Canada. We all like watching it," said Richards, a Prince Edward Island native and lifelong football fan. "It's not as big as (in the United States). Here there are shows every night, NFL Tonight, GameDay, previews and all. We don't get ESPN but we get a lot of American channels so we get a lot on the weekends."

Dingman played two seasons with the Colorado Avalanche. "I used to be more of a Broncos fan," he said. "I saw them play, went to two of their games, met a couple of their guys, (linebacker) Bill Romanowski and (receiver) Ed McCaffrey. Any city you live in, you kind of take an interest in the local teams. ... But I've never seen a game here.

"In Canada, hockey is the main sport, obviously, and the CFL's second," Dingman said. "When I was growing up (in Edmonton), the Eskimos were winning Grey Cups. Warren Moon came through there, and Doug Flutie and (49ers quarterback) Jeff Garcia in Calgary. It's a different game but I can appreciate any high-level sport."

YOU WANT FRIES WITH THAT?: Defenseman Cory Sarich spent an hour Friday at a McDonald's in Brandon, and it wasn't just an autograph session. He filled orders, too.

"I sat at the counter where everybody places orders and was signing things constantly," he said. "The line never stopped until the last five minutes and people that came through the drive-through, I tried to get to most of them, but it was tough to do both."

So which is tougher, Sarich was asked: dealing with Eric Lindros around the crease or dealing with hamburgers, fries, shakes?

"Probably the hamburgers," he said, grinning. "It's a little tougher to get the things in the bag, get it done up all right and getting it out to the customer on time. Lindros -- piece of cake."

ETC: Defenseman Dan Boyle (crushed left forefinger), right wing Jimmie Olvestad and center Brian Holzinger (healthy) were Lightning scratches. ... Martin St. Louis' goal was his 21st of the season and gave him a career-high 41 points. ... The three-goal deficit was the largest the Lightning has overcome to earn a point this season. It has done it once from four goals down, tying Nashville 4-4 Dec. 14, 1999. ... Vinny Lecavalier, who needs two goals for 100 in his career, missed two scoring opportunities, shooting wide of an unguarded net once, then having Martin Brodeur stone him.


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