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Feaster still seeks deal for affiliate

By DAMIAN CRISTODERO
Published December 10, 2003

UNIONDALE, N.Y. - The Lightning still does not know where its AHL affiliate will be next season. But general manager Jay Feaster said he still hopes the process can be completed by his self-imposed deadline of the end of the month.

The most-mentioned option is the deactivated Louisville franchise that is searching for a city in which to play. An eastern location is preferred by owner Howard Baldwin, but New Orleans also is being investigated.

"I can't guarantee it," Baldwin said Tuesday when asked about finding a home by the end of the month.

"But I sure would like to. It's not stalled for anything other than anyone's time schedule; mostly me being out of the country. But I'm still keen as ever."

Another option is the Utah Grizzlies, who will lose their affiliate deal with the Stars after this season.

"Geography is not going to be an issue for us," Feaster said. "There are a number of things we're talking about."

The Lightning has not had its own high-level affiliate since the IHL Detroit Vipers in 2000-2001. It shared Springfield with the Coyotes for two seasons and this season has players in Hershey, Hamilton, Ontario, and Utah.

ANOTHER MILESTONE: Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk played his 1,540th game to tie John Bucyk for eighth all-time.

"Obviously, games played means a lot to me," Andreychuk said. "But it's more that I'm just still here."

Andreychuk, 40, in his 22nd season, will pass Alex Delvecchio for seventh with his 1,550th game Dec. 31 against the Panthers.

ROY SKATES: Andre Roy skated for the first time since Dec. 2, when he sprained his left knee in a game with the Canadiens, and said he could be ready to play Thursday at Ottawa.

The left wing said he felt only minor pain when dragging his leg while shooting. More problematic was his wind after a week of riding a stationary bike instead of skating.

"A little bit," he said when asked if his lungs burned. "Hopefully by (today), it will be better."

HALF-PRICED LIGHTNING: Single-game tickets and ticket packages for games through Jan. 31 will be reduced 50 percent during a sale from 8 a.m. to midnight Thursday. Tickets can be purchased at the St. Pete Times Forum box office or through Ticketmaster.

ODDS AND ENDS: Goalie Nikolai Khabibulin is second in voting for the East All-Star team but is almost 25,000 votes behind New Jersey's Martin Brodeur. Martin St. Louis is fourth among wings but only about 5,000 behind Ottawa's Marian Hossa for second and a starting position. ... Lightning right wing Ben Clymer and defenseman Dan Boyle, both with concussions, were scratched.

[Last modified December 10, 2003, 01:34:25]

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