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Inconsistent Fedotenko gets third goal

By TOM JONES
Published November 12, 2005


ATLANTA - Ruslan Fedotenko scored a goal for the Lightning on Friday night. Normally, that would not be a big deal, but just like his team, Fedotenko's play has been mysteriously inconsistent this season.

After scoring 17 goals during the 2003-04 regular season, Fedotenko went crazy in the playoffs. He scored 12 goals in 22 games, including both in the Lightning's 2-1 victory over the Flames in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final.

But heading into Friday's game, Fedotenko had only two goals.

"We're looking for Feds to have a breakthrough regular season," general manager Jay Feaster said. "I want to see Feds have a regular season where he's going to produce more than 17 goals. We need him to be productive. We need him to be a guy that finishes."

Coach John Tortorella has bounced Fedotenko all around the lineup. He started the season playing on a top scoring line with Vinny Lecavalier and Vinny Prospal. He eventually found himself on the fourth line. Friday, he was back with the two Vinnys and scored for the first time in nine games.

The Lightning signed Fedotenko to a one-year contract (worth $1.3-million) instead of a long-term deal over the summer partly because he was coming off hip surgery but partly because there are still doubts he can be a consistent scorer.

"We still have the same questions we had coming off the summer of '03 as far as who this player is and who he's going to become," Feaster said. "What is his level that he is going to attain?"

Feaster, however, is quick to say that the season still is young.

"(Seventeen) games isn't enough time," Feaster said. "Feds can still be a 20-goal guy."

FAMILY MATTERS: Center Tim Taylor is keeping in close contact with his brother, Chris, who plays for the Rochester Americans of the AHL and whose career is in jeopardy. Chris took a knee to the thigh in a game two weeks ago and needed three surgeries for compartment syndrome, which is the swelling of pressure within the muscles to dangerous levels.

Tim said doctors at one point believed Chris might need to have the leg amputated if the swelling could not be controlled, but that threat has passed. Still, Chris had surgery Thursday to remove part of the muscle. Tim said Chris is hopeful of continuing his career.

MISCELLANY: Atlanta's Peter Bondra played in his 1,000th game Friday. ... The Lightning scratches were goalie Sean Burke (groin) and forward Chris Dingman (healthy).