Prospect's condition will delay development

Published September 16, 2005

BRANDON - The Lightning finally knows what is wrong with Gerard Dicaire, the young defenseman who has been held out of practices after struggling during conditioning drills Monday.

He has been diagnosed with neurocardiogenic syncope.

"Basically what it means is after ... he finishes working out, the heart rate drops and continues to drop and doesn't stabilize," general manager Jay Feaster said. "And the blood pressure drops, continues to drop and doesn't stabilize, and then he passes out. The doctors want to increase the potassium and sodium in his blood. They want to treat it with salt tablets and less water."

Dicaire will remain on that regimen for four days and will be allowed only to ride a stationary bike. He will be re-evaluated Monday, but Feaster said the illness won't be season-threatening. His chances of making the team as a sixth defenseman, however, have diminished.

"It's clearly a setback for him," Feaster said. "It's really unfortunate because he has had some bad luck."

Dicaire, 23, missed all of training camp with minor-league Springfield last year after having a boil on his back removed. The surgery was in an area that prohibited him from skating, riding a bike or lifting weights and affected him for the first half of the season.

RUSLAN RETURNS: Forward Ruslan Fedotenko was back at camp Thursday after returning from Vail, Colo., where he was cleared to play after hip surgery in April. Because Fedotenko has done little so far, Feaster said he will be held out of the first three preseason games and team scrimmages. He is expected to play his first preseason game Sept. 24.

Meanwhile, defenseman Todd Rohloff sat out with back spasms.

CUT-DOWN DAYS: Feaster said 30 to 34 players will travel to the first two preseason games in Detroit and Montreal on Monday and Tuesday. Then Wednesday, the Lightning will make its first round of cuts. That likely will include mostly junior players. The next scheduled cut day is Sept. 26, when the Lightning likely will get close to its final roster.

RICHARDS STAYS HOT: Center Brad Richards continues to look in midseason form. He followed a six-point performance in Wednesday's scrimmage with a six-point effort Thursday. He has three goals and nine assists in two games. Richards' Team Blue beat Team Red 6-5 as Martin St. Louis and Fredrik Modin each scored two goals. Tim Taylor had a hat trick for Team Red. St Louis has nine points in two scrimmages, Modin eight.

In the other scrimmage, prospect Jason Jaspers had four goals to lead Team Black to a 7-4 victory against Team White.

UNIMPRESSED: Feaster and coach John Tortorella are less than thrilled with some of the organization's younger prospects.

"They really have to jump out (to get noticed) and I don't think that anybody has really jumped out as far as the scrimmages," Feaster said.

Still, camp is only four days old.

"I keep telling myself that - that it is early," Feaster said. "At the same time, you'd like to think that guys realize there is a real opportunity there and you would like to see somebody separate himself from the group."

Tortorella said he is pleased with the veterans, but baffled by prospects who attended his camp in the past and came to this one unprepared. Tortorella is not interested in talking to them about it.

"The guys that have seen it before, I don't think they need to be talked to anymore," Tortorella said. "If you have to keep on talking to people about it, maybe they just simply won't get it. And that's when you start letting these people go out of your organization."