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Tortorella waiting for calls

Published January 3, 2004

TAMPA - As far as Lightning coach John Tortorella is concerned, the league's crackdown on obstruction is over.

How else to explain the amount of time Tampa Bay spent in the Blue Jackets zone buzzing the net and one Columbus penalty called by referees Paul Devorski and Eric Furlatt?

"It isn't okay with me at all," Tortorella said.

"With the amount of forechecking and the amount of rotating the puck we had, and to have one power play, that's old-time hockey.

"I didn't think we had the old-time rules."

The Blue Jackets penalty came 9:01 into the third period when defenseman Scott Lachance was called for holding the stick.

While clutching and grabbing is not as noticeable in a pile of bodies, a more obvious situation came about eight minutes into the third period when Columbus defenseman Rostislav Klesla hooked Martin St. Louis in open ice and impeded his progress to the puck.

"They're talking about making sure they don't stop us from skating, but they don't call it anymore," St. Louis said. "It's frustrating they're not calling what they're supposed to call."

On the other hand, he said, "We had a lot of chances and didn't put the puck in the net, so I don't want to blame the officiating for a loss because we had our chances and didn't capitalize on them."

Tortorella agreed. Still ...

"I receive a lot of memos as far as the clutching and grabbing," he said. "Same memo, same story as the year goes on."

REMEMBER WHEN?: New Blue Jackets coach Gerard Gallant played 52 games for the Lightning from 1993-95, with 51 in the 1993-94 season. The former left wing, named Thursday as interim coach after Doug MacLean stepped down, said he had mixed feelings about getting his first victory against Tampa Bay.

"You never want to beat your old team," he said. "But it's a big thing for me and a big deal, and I was thrilled to get my first victory in Tampa Bay."

The coach, who had been a Columbus assistant, can thank goalie Marc Denis.

"He was fabulous," Gallant said. "He went out there and said, "No one is going to score on me tonight.' Every shot, he was sound on. He just looked fabulous."

ODDS AND ENDS: Lightning left wing Fredrik Modin played one of his best games of the season with 20:31 of ice time and four shots on goal. ... The Lightning's 22-shot differential tied the most it earned during a loss. ... The two shots Tampa Bay allowed in the first period tied the fewest in a period this season. ... Left wing Chris Dingman, right wing Shane Willis and defenseman Darren Rumble were scratched.

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