St. Petersburg Times
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© St. Petersburg Times
published April 19, 2003

Money still not good, but image is

Alex Selivanov's goal.

Every time someone from Palace Sports & Entertainment, owners of the Lightning for the past four years, turned around, they heard about Selivanov's overtime goal in Game 3 of the 1996 playoffs against the Flyers.

Before now, that was the best highlight, perhaps the only highlight, in the 11-year history of the Lightning.

Now with a second playoff appearance, the Lightning has a chance to make some new memories. For that reason, Tom Wilson, CEO and governor of the team, is as excited as he has been since his group, led by Bill Davidson, took over ownership.

The franchise still has financial problems, Wilson said. He joked, sort of, that the Lightning must play 17 series this year just to break even. But for once, the picture is not all doom and gloom.

All because of this little thing called the Stanley Cup playoffs.

"Not because of the dollars generated, but because we finally have the credibility we've been searching for since we've been down here," Wilson said. "Whether we win or whether we lose, we've cemented our place here for the first time."

Move along, nothing to see here

The Andre Roy situation is over. We think. Neither Roy nor Lightning coach John Tortorella would address the issue Friday, but Roy did skate with the extra skaters Friday morning and appears to be reinstated. But he did not dress for Friday's game.

Roy took an ill-advised roughing penalty in the first period of Game 2 on Sunday and was banished from the Lightning bench. He did not play for the rest of Game 2 and did not accompany the team to Washington for Games 3 and 4.

Well, he has a point

Capitals coach Bruce Cassidy complained about a critical call after Friday's game, and he appears to be right. Cassidy said goalie Olaf Kolzig should not have been penalized for high-sticking Vinny Lecavalier in the first period. Kolzig was given a four-minute high-sticking penalty, and the Lightning scored on the power play.

Cassidy pointed to Rule 61, which says, "A player is permitted accidental contact on an opponent if the act is committed as a normal windup or follow-through of a shooting motion." Kolzig was shooting the puck around the boards when he hit Lecavalier on his follow-through.

"A ref didn't know the rule, and that frustrates you," Cassidy said. "Judgment calls you have to live with and move on, but the refs should know that rule. It's automatic. To me, it's a bad call."

"If you look at my track record, I'm not a goon," Kolzig said. "I don't have any penalty minutes this year. I certainly had no intention of high-sticking Vinny."

Rock the house

The Lightning set an attendance record for hockey at the St. Pete Times Forum on Friday with 21,324. The previous high was 20,914 on Feb. 26, 2002, when the Lightning played the Red Wings.

"I think we're going to have to come up for a new word meaning 'loud,"' Lightning defenseman Brad Lukowich said. "We couldn't even hear the whistles out there."

A lot of thread

Lightning defenseman Jassen Cullimore needed 70 stitches to close a cut on his lip and chin after he was checked into the boards by Dainius Zubrus in the final minute. It appeared to be a clean hit, but Cullimore sustained the injury when he lost his balance and went face first into the boards behind the net.

Kubina sustains cut, too

It's doubtful Lightning defenseman Pavel Kubina ate one of those Dagwood-type sandwiches or a Cuban on a hard bun as a midnight snack after the game. His mouth, particularly his lower gum, hurt so much, he couldn't even touch it without wincing.

Kubina took nine stitches on the chin and inside his lower lip after getting hit by the stick of nemesis Jaromir Jagr when Jagr was following through on a shot.

"Happened with about four minutes left," said Kubina, who didn't get patched up until after the game and took several shifts after the injury. "He caught me good. I don't know if it was intentional or not. But he was taking a shot, and his stick just came up on the follow-through."

Lecavalier, meanwhile, took four stitches under his nose after getting cut by Kolzig.

What happens next?

Not to get too far ahead of ourselves, but if the Lightning wins this series, -- and that's still a big if -- it knows who it would face next. New Jersey, which eliminated Boston in five, would play the Lightning and have home-ice advantage. The Devils would host Games 1, 2, 5 and 7. The Lightning would host Games 3, 4 and 6.

The Lightning and Devils played four times during the regular season with each team winning once and two ties.

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