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Andreychuk honored, but he's not finished

By BRANT JAMES, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 7, 2003


TAMPA -- Dave Andreychuk Night at the St. Pete Times Forum looked a lot like a victory lap ceremony for a player slowly fading into the twilight of his career.

It was anything but. The Lightning captain received a Tiffany crystal vase from the league to commemorate his 600th career goal, a silver stick from Phil Esposito for his record 250th power-play goal, a lithograph and a cruise from the Lightning and a golf cart from the players, to rub his 39 years in a little. The gold watch will have to wait, however.

As Andreychuk, in his 21st season, made it through the ceremony and played in his 1,488th game to pass Wayne Gretzky for 10th on the all-time list, he remained as important as any Lightning player.

"Dave is a consummate pro," coach John Tortorella said. "He's a Hall of Famer, and to have him around with some of the youth around here is big for us."

Andreychuk, who made his NHL debut for Buffalo on Oct. 6, 1982, a month before Lightning center Alexander Svitov was born, entered Thursday tied for third on the team with 13 goals and led the team with a 60.2 win percentage on faceoffs.

"In a lot of things he does, he's a natural," left wing Fredrik Modin said. "But I'm not going to take anything away from him because he's a workhorse too. When he comes to the rink he comes to work hard."

With his goal on Thursday, Andreychuk moved past Jean Ratelle for 26th on the league's all-time points list (1,268) and moved within one of Dino Ciccarelli for 12th on the career goals list (607).

EXPECT MORE: Tortorella dreads the thought of playing golf in April again, but he knows he and the Lightning will be doing just that unless the club creates its own expectations -- and meets them -- in the final 28 games of the regular season. To that end, he will push even harder, he said.

"I'm worried about where we live and what's expected," he said, "and I still don't think the expectations are high enough, so it needs to be from within. We're here, so we're going to push and we're going to concentrate. If not, we go by the wayside."

REVERSE PSYCHOLOGY: Toronto coach Pat Quinn admitted the Leafs' seven-game winning streak against the Lightning entering Thursday probably gives his team a mental edge each time the two meet.

"There are times when a team will say, "We can play hard and still not beat these guys,' " he said.

But center Mat Sundin said the Leafs' record against Tampa Bay, 8-27-1 after Thursday's loss, made his team play harder. "They have a hungry team and it's just a matter of time before they have a great game against us, so we're always on our toes against them," he said.

SCRATCH: Defenseman Stan Neckar (groin) missed his sixth straight game.

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