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Captain's spot to be vacantno more
By DAMIAN CRISTODERO
Published September 5, 2006
So, who is the Lightning's new captain?
An announcement will be made Wednesday, and though Tampa Bay officials haven't given any hints, it's not a stretch to believe the prime candidates were centers Tim Taylor and Brad Richards.
Taylor, 37, brings tons of experience and a resume that includes two Stanley Cups.
Richards, 26, is arguably Tampa Bay's best overall player and, with a new five-year contract, offers long-term continuity.
"It's a tough decision," said Brian Bradley, the Lightning's first All-Star and a former alternate captain. "Both are class acts. Management has to really think hard."
Coach John Tortorella and general manager Jay Feaster made the call after conferring with the coaching staff.
The team has been without a captain since January, when Dave Andreychuk was put on waivers and Taylor joined Vinny Lecavalier and Fredrik Modin as alternates.
Lecavalier, right wing Marty St. Louis and defenseman Cory Sarich were probably also considered for the captaincy, but Taylor and Richards likely were at the top of the short list to be Tampa Bay's eighth.
Taylor, in his 13th season, was Andreychuk's right-hand man and became the locker room's vocal leader when Andreychuk left. Taylor won Cups in 2004 with the Lightning and 1997 with Detroit, where he watched and learned from legendary Steve Yzerman.
Richards, in his sixth season, was the 2004 playoff MVP, and the team has been clear he is its cornerstone.
Feaster has compared his maturity and leadership qualities to Colorado's Joe Sakic.
PROSPECTS CAMP: The team is sending 24 players to Traverse City, Mich.
The five-day tournament, run by the Red Wings, begins Friday with Tampa Bay's game against the Rangers and also includes the Thrashers, Blue Jackets, Stars, Wild and Blues. Steve Stirling and Darren Rumble, coach and assistant for AHL Springfield, are running the team. Lightning goaltenders coach Jeff Reese, ECHL Johnstown coach Frank Anzalone and Feaster also will attend.