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Andreychuk: We'll be back
The Lightning captain predicts the return of the NHL in September and says he'll be there for his 23rd season.
By TOM JONES
Published February 27, 2005
LUTZ - Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk predicts the NHL will return in September and when it does, he will be there.
When a reporter asked, "Can we quote you on that?" Andreychuk smiled and said, "Yep."
Andreychuk, 41, was supposed to be in Ottawa on Saturday. He was supposed to be playing hockey for the Lightning.
He was not supposed to be in Lutz playing golf.
But with the NHL lockout wiping out the 2004-05 season, Andreychuk was holding a golf club instead of a hockey stick. He had fun in the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am, he said, but he learned he's a much better at hockey.
And while he figures to have plenty of golf in his future, he hopes most of it comes after his playing days are over. According to Andreychuk, that won't be soon. If the season cranks back up in September, Andreychuk will return for a 23rd season.
In the meantime, he's skating a little and playing golf a lot. With Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber withdrawing because of knee injury, Andreychuk filled in and played with pro Mike Reid, shooting 5-under 137. The two would not have made the cut if the tournament had gone 54 holes, but Andreychuk had fun anyway.
"I was fairly nervous, but got better as it went along," Andreychuk said.
Andreychuk said standing over a 3-foot putt with a gallery full of people was more nerve-racking than taking a third-period, defensive-zone faceoff in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final.
But the best part of the day was hearing fans congratulate him for winning the Stanley Cup.
"Everywhere I walked," Andreychuk said. "It has been overwhelming. A lot of people said it changed their lives."
"It does surprise me a little bit, but we did a lot of good things last year. Those are lasting memories."
Starting in September, Andreychuk plans on making a few more memories.