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DiMaio heads for long-term disability today for cap relief
By DAMIAN CRISTODERO
Published November 29, 2006
TAMPA - Lightning general manager Jay Feaster said right wing Rob DiMaio will be placed on the league's long-term disability list today.
Feaster would not elaborate, but it could be the first of several minor moves Tampa Bay makes over the long term to gain relief from the $44-million salary cap.
As per the collective bargaining agreement, listing DiMaio, who has not played this season because of a serious concussion, allows Tampa Bay to exceed the cap by his $478,000 salary.
The catch? To get the maximum benefit, Tampa Bay must be at the cap limit. It is currently about $69,000 short.
Do the math: $478,000 minus $69,000 equals $409,000. The NHL's minimum salary is $450,000, which is why it is likely the team at some point would want to eat up that $69,000.
One option could be to send a player to the minors and recall another with a higher cap salary.
"It's part of the new world, which is to manage the cap as best we can," Feaster said. "We have to look at what ways we can get the maximum benefit."
A player can be on disability if out at least 10 games and 24 days. DiMaio was hurt in preseason.
He apparently is a long way from playing. Feaster said DiMaio has headaches and dizziness and is back home in Toronto after spending the past two weeks with the team.
MINUTE MUNCHER: Marty St. Louis entered this season in the best shape of his career.
Good thing, because the right wing is playing the most minutes of his career. Entering Tuesday, St. Louis averaged 24:29, tops in the league among forwards and 3:30 more than last season.
Center Brad Richards was third at 23:26, and center Vinny Lecavalier was eighth at 21:51.
But it is St. Louis who is turning heads. He averaged 25:27 his past eight games and Friday played a career-high 29:02 against the Thrashers.
St. Louis disagrees the pace is too harsh to maintain.
"Playing 20 minutes a game is the best conditioning you can ever do," he said. "The only time you lose conditioning is when your minutes go down."
Coach John Tortorella has said as long as St. Louis, the NHL's first star last week, plays well, he will use him as much as possible.
St. Louis said his minutes might go down when Tampa Bay plays more with a lead.
"We've played a lot of games where we played catchup," he said. "Your offensive people are going to go out to get you back in the game. The more we win, the less my minutes will be."
ODDS AND ENDS: The attendance of 18,874 snapped Tampa Bay's streak of announced sellouts at 64, including playoffs. ... Captain Tim Taylor played after missing six games with a spinal contusion. ... Defenseman Filip Kuba played his 400th NHL game. ... Center Andreas Karlsson and defenseman Luke Richardson were scratched.
Damian Cristodero can be reached at (727) 893-8622.