tampabay.com

GM has good reasons to stay mum

By TOM JONES
Published March 14, 2006


MONTREAL - General manager Jay Feaster is in an unenviable position.

He is taking plenty of heat from the NHL media and fans for not making any deadline trades, especially for a goaltender. He could defend his position by coming forward with all the trades he tried to make. But if he does, he could anger some of his players - either the ones offered up in trades or ones who could have lost their jobs to acquisitions.

So, he really can't - and won't - say anything.

Because of what is being said in other places, however, the picture is becoming more clear about what Feaster did and didn't do as the deadline approached.

First, those rumors that he tried to re-acquire Chicago goalie Nikolai Khabibulin ? Not true. There was talk, but nothing serious.

"We didn't talk to them about Nik (last week) at all," Chicago GM Dale Tallon told Chicago reporters.

"We had a casual conversation a couple weeks ago about it, but that was the extent of it."

Also, he did not go after Minnesota backup Dwayne Roloson , who was traded to Edmonton for a first-round draft pick, something Feaster was unwilling to deal for someone who was not a bonafide No. 1 goalie.

He did make a run at Buffalo goalie Mika Noronen , who was traded to Vancouver for a second-round pick in the 2006 draft. The Lightning does not have a second-round pick this year, but was willing to trade its 2007 second-round pick and add something else to get Noronen. The problem was Buffalo GM Darcy Regier was not going to help out a conference rival when he could get the same deal from a Western team.

NEW DEAL FOR SPRINGFIELD: The Lightning has extended its minor-league affiliation with Springfield of the American Hockey League through the 2008-09 season.

After that, the contract will be renewed annually unless either the Lightning or Springfield wants out of the deal. In order for one side to pull out of the deal, however, the other has to have an affiliation. So, for example, if Springfield wants out after 2008-09, the Lightning must have another affiliate lined up.

BAD RECORD: Entering Monday night's game against Montreal, the Lightning had allowed 50 goals in the previous nine games, making it the worst nine-game stretch in team history.

That's the worst stretch for any team since the 1994-95 Ottawa Senators.

MISCELLANY: The Lightning was without forwards Nick Taranasky (hyperextended right elbow) and Rob DiMaio (partially herniated disc). ... Montreal's Alex Kovalev played his 900th NHL game.