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Players, not coaches, on hot seat
By DAMIAN CRISTODERO
Published November 3, 2006
PHILADELPHIA - The Lightning has problems, but general manager Jay Feaster said coach John Tortorella, associate coach Craig Ramsay and goaltenders coach Jeff Reese are not among them.
"I think the coaches are doing a hell of a job," Feaster said before Thursday night's game. "I've said all along I think John is the right guy to coach this team. I have all the confidence in the world in him and Rammer and Reese. I'm not concerned about the job the coaches are doing."
The players, well, that's another story.
Feaster reiterated the importance of the current four-game road trip in determining if player moves, and perhaps cutting payroll, will be needed. And he dismissed Tortorella's comment that in his fourth full season his voice sometimes falls on "deaf ears."
"Then we ought to get the deaf and dumb out," Feaster said. "If that's the case, I wish they'd identify themselves to me and let me move them on. I'd rather see them gone than a hell of a good coach.
"The easiest solution when it's not going well is to identify the one guy instead of the 20 guys that play. I don't think a coach becomes stupid overnight."
With the team about $400,000 under the $44-million salary cap, Feaster said, trades will have to clear payroll room. In other words, don't anticipate any ticky-tack moves.
Feaster would not say if any players are untouchable. It is known that Marty St. Louis, Dan Boyle and Filip Kuba have no-trade clauses. And no-trade clauses for Brad Richards and Marc Denis kick in July 1, 2007.
Asked if the team was worried about trade talk, Richards said, "We have to worry about winning a game. You win four games, this isn't even being talked about. If you don't win, that's the business we're in."
"I'm still very confident. I'm still very optimistic," Feaster said. "But I'd like to have that confidence and optimism be more than in my own head. I'd like to have it reaffirmed on the ice."
Damian Cristodero can be reached at email@example.com or 727 893-8622. View his blog at lightning.tampabay.com.