tampabay.com

Slapshots

By TOM JONES
Published October 30, 2005


ONE ROOM KEY

The Panthers, partly due to Hurricane Wilma, are in a stretch of six consecutive road games. But it hasn't been too bad for defenseman Sean Hill and forward Chris Gratton. There's a clause in the new CBA that states players with at least 600 career games get their own hotel room instead of sharing with a teammate.

"It's a nice perk," Hill told the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. "I like having a roommate also, but it's still nice to be able to have your own time."

Do NHL players, for the most part, even know about this new clause?

"I think it's the only thing we won in the CBA, so I'm sure (we all know)," Gratton said.

I THINK I'M GOING TO BE . . .

In the midst of a long losing streak, the Oilers had one of those punishing skating practices. Everyone came through fine except goalie Mike Morrison, who had just been called up for the ECHL. Morrison, uh, got sick on the bench. "It wasn't that they don't have those (hard skates) in the coast," Morrison told the Edmonton Journal. "It was the five egg whites, three strips of bacon and two glasses of orange juice before the practice."

Morrison is eating well these days. Instead of the $35-a-day meal money he received the ECHL, he's getting $85 in the NHL.

"It will be nice to go and eat somewhere other than Subway," he said.

STORM SURVIVAL

Capitals defenseman Brendan Witt was the eye of the storm. Literally.

Witt returned to his home in Jupiter last week to be with his family during Hurricane Wilma.

"It was loud, man," Witt told the Washington Post. "I don't even know how to describe it. I mean, the windows bowed. You have to be in one to fully understand.

"The eye came right over my house. I had about 21/2 hours of calmness to go clean up around the house and move debris away. But you could see the back half, the strongest part, on the horizon."

Witt said he was lucky. His house sustained only minor damage.

"It's mostly landscape damage," Witt said. "Nothing major. But a cabana down the street lost its roof. It landed up against a neighbor's garage. I'm glad I went home."

Yet after being in, now, three hurricanes, Witt isn't about to move: "Where would we go? You can have a catastrophe anywhere. In California you have mudslides, earthquakes and wildfires. We're not leaving. I'm staying right there. It's paradise."