WASHINGTON - A team is three months from being named, and USA Hockey is yet to appoint a management team or coach. But there is speculation Lightning goalie John Grahame would be a nice fit for the United States at next year's World Cup.
Grahame, 28, of Denver said he hasn't thought about playing, and no one has contacted him. Still, he said, it would be something special.
"Representing your country is a whole different thing," Grahame said Friday. "You're representing all of America and you want to play well for all those people. To be even considered is an honor."
USA Hockey spokesman Chuck Menke said Grahame is on a list of goalies to watch. Others include the Rangers' Mike Dunham, the Islanders' Rick DiPietro and Garth Snow, the Flyers' Robert Esche, the Blues' Brent Johnson and the Coyotes' Brian Boucher.
"Obviously, with the retirement of (Olympic goalie) Mike Richter, there is a void there," Menke said. "We will look at all candidates."
The tournament begins Aug. 30. The title game is Sept. 14 at Toronto. At least 18 players on the 23-player roster must be selected by Feb. 1.
As for his chances, Grahame said, "That's stuff you don't worry about. If you go, you go. If you don't, what can you do? But it's definitely something that would be a tremendous honor."
BAM, WHAP, SOCKO: Lightning defenseman Cory Sarich and Washington's Rick Berry had a real pier-sixer during the second period. Sarich took a shot that bent his knees. But he stayed on his feet and landed at least two blows that bloodied Berry under his left eye.
"He caught me leaning back and it almost toppled me over," Sarich said.
The fracas occurred with 5:13 left and began when Tampa Bay's Alexander Svitov tried to knock the puck away from Capitals goalie Olaf Kolzig and was run over by Steve Eminger.
Everyone on the ice joined the pileup. Grahame got two minutes for leaving the crease. Sarich and Berry came out swinging.
Berry got the best of the early going but Sarich stormed back.
"I had a few on him," Sarich said. "It was a bit of Bambi on ice at the beginning."
APPEARANCES: Today, Martin St. Louis is at Dillard's at Westfield Shoppingtown Brandon from 1-3 p.m.; Vinny Lecavalier at Kanes on Brandon Boulevard from 2-4; and Chris Dingman and Ben Clymer at AutoWay Ford, 2525 34th St. N in St. Petersburg, from 2-3. Sunday, Ruslan Fedotenko is at Westfield Shoppingtown Brandon from 7-8 and Dan Boyle is at Westfield Shoppingtown Citrus Park from 7-8.
ODDS AND ENDS: Lecavalier played his 400th game. Only five active players - San Jose's Patrick Marleau, Dallas' Pierre Turgeon, New Jersey's Jeff Friesen, Phoenix's Chris Gratton and Vancouver's Trevor Linden - played 400 games at a younger age than Lecavalier's 23 years, 207 days. ... Defenseman Darren Rumble, center Martin Cibak and left wing Andre Roy were scratched. ... Kolzig was taken out in the second after allowing five goals on 14 shots. He was replaced by Rastislav Stana.