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Feaster wants to keep roster intact
Lightning GM inclined to trade picks or prospects vs. players on current roster.
By DAMIAN CRISTODERO
Published February 16, 2007
TAMPA - Jay Feaster's plan as the Feb. 27 trade deadline approaches is addition without subtraction.
The Lightning general manager said Thursday that he would trade a Tampa Bay player if the right deal was available, but his preference is to trade draft choices or prospects.
"There is nobody in that locker room that I am anxious to see leave," Feaster said. "I like this group very much. If we had to start the postseason tomorrow, I have no problem going with the group we have. I think they've earned that from us."
Players earned it, Feaster said, by over the past seven weeks pulling themselves from 13th to sixth in the East and within one point of the Southeast-leading Thrashers.
Feaster said he is especially pleased the way core players took over the locker room.
"I think the message now on a teamwide basis is coming from inside the locker room as opposed to the coaching staff having to go in and get the message across," he said. "I truly believe there is a great deal of character in there. And it's coming from the guys, so I give them high marks."
Between the move in the standings and the growth in the locker room, Feaster, who is looking to add a puck-moving defenseman or a grit guy for the third or fourth line, said he has no choice but to try to keep the team together.
"I think the way we've seen our guys respond, it's a two-way street," he said. "It's incumbent on us to make sure they know it has not gone unnoticed."
HOLMQVIST SITS: Johan Holmqvist had started eight straight games and 17 of 22 before getting Thursday off.
Coach John Tortorella said it had nothing to do with fatigue: "Holmer is not going to play all the games. It just wouldn't be the right thing to do."
Tortorella said Holmqvist "fought it a bit" in Tuesday's win over the Coyotes: "So this is a good time to put Marc (Denis) in."
RECORD-SETTING: Dan Boyle's assist on Vinny Lecavalier's first goal gave him 210 Lightning points, a team record for defenseman. Lecavalier has 18 goals in 19 games and a league-best 39. His 78 points tie a career high.
FROM THE PRESS BOX: That is where defenseman Luke Richardson watched Tuesday's game, his first as an eye in the sky.
"I enjoyed it," he said. "My preference is still to play, but it's a reality thing. I think I have a good knack for seeing things."
Tortorella has said, barring injuries, he will go with the six defensemen who have been playing. Having Richardson, scratched for 15 straight games, analyze and critique from above is a way to draw on his experience from 19 NHL seasons.
"He was great," Tortorella said. "He came down and gave us a couple of points."
Richardson said he noticed Tampa Bay's players getting caught "too high" in Phoenix's trap. Richardson suggested forwards circle back a bit: "It made me feel great I was contributing to the team."
ODDS AND ENDS: With Eric Perrin scoring Tuesday, wing Nikita Alexeev has Tampa Bay's longest active goal drought at 25 games. ... Center Blair Jones was a healthy scratch.