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Willis re-signs with Lightning

By FRANK PASTOR
Published August 21, 2004

TAMPA - Shane Willis was in the locker room the night the Lightning won the Stanley Cup but didn't touch the trophy because he was a member of the team's taxi squad.

"Hopefully, one day I'll be able to be on the ice and touch it for real," he said.

Willis could get that chance this season. The Lightning on Friday re-signed the unrestricted free-agent right wing to a one-year, two-way contract. Terms were not disclosed.

Willis, 27, had six assists in 12 games with the Lightning last season. He spent most of the season with AHL Hershey, where he ranked third with 27 goals and 48 points in 55 games.

"I think I'm still in the same kind of position I was in last year, coming off what I thought was a very strong season in Hershey," Willis said. "I felt I played well when I was here in December and January, and hopefully I can show them I deserve to be here right from the start of the year this year."

If Willis doesn't make the Lightning out of training camp, he will be among the leaders of its AHL affiliate in Springfield and provide depth on the wing, general manager Jay Feaster said in a news release.

"Shane Willis is a player who continues to knock on the door in terms of making it back to the NHL as an everyday player," Feaster said. "He had an outstanding season in the AHL last year, and he has been working diligently this summer to put himself in a position to make our team out of training camp."

Willis was originally drafted by the Lightning in 1995. He was not signed, returned to the draft and was taken by Carolina in 1997. He was reacquired near the 2002 trade deadline in a move that sent goaltender Kevin Weekes to Carolina.

TEAM USA: Blues defenseman Eric Weinrich will replace Derian Hatcher for the World Cup. Hatcher, who plays for Detroit, won't play for personal reasons, USA Hockey said in a news release.

TEAM CANADA: Mario Lemieux was selected as captain of the Canadian team and Jarome Iginla, Joe Sakic, Scott Niedermeyer and Adam Foote were chosen as alternates at the start of training camp for the World Cup. Lemieux captained Canada to the gold medal in the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Information from Times wires was used in the report.

[Last modified August 21, 2004, 01:01:16]

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