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Fedotenko ready to leave

It should be no surprise Ruslan Fedotenko will not be back next season. The Lightning wing, an unrestricted free agent, dressed but did not play in Game 5 against the Devils and was scratched in Game 6.

By DAMIAN CRISTODERO
Published April 24, 2007


TAMPA - It should be no surprise Ruslan Fedotenko will not be back next season. The Lightning wing, an unrestricted free agent, dressed but did not play in Game 5 against the Devils and was scratched in Game 6.

That after scoring 12 regular-season goals, 14 fewer than 2005-06, and only one in his past 29 games.

"I don't think I'm coming back here," Fedotenko said. "That's pretty obvious. Both parties agree to move on and close a chapter. Now I'm excited about what is going to happen next."

Fedotenko, 28, was one of the stars of the 2004 Stanley Cup run in which he scored a team-high 12 goals, including two in the title-clinching Game 7 over the Flames.

"It's disappointing," said general manager Jay Feaster, who gave the No. 4 pick in the 2002 draft to the Flyers for Fedotenko. "It got off the track this season and was never able to get back on. He won a Stanley Cup here, and that's something special, and he'll always have a special place in the organization's heart."

How he feels about coach John Tortorella is likely another matter. Even Tortorella said, "I don't think he's too crazy about me," after Game 5.

"Everybody has this conspiracy theory that I was out to get him," Tortorella continued. "Was I upset with his play? Yes. Did I plan to dress him and not play him in a game? No. He was given plenty of opportunity in the regular season and the playoffs. It didn't materialize, and I needed to make a change."

PRATT SURGERY: Defenseman Nolan Pratt said he played the final two months of the season with a sports hernia that will require surgery.

The procedure will be done in Munich, Germany, by Dr. Ulrike Muschaweck, whose technique of repairing the damage while not cutting through surrounding muscle is supposed to greatly reduce recovery time.

Pratt, who did not miss a game because of the injury but against the Devils was getting injections to ease the pain, said he likely would not have played if the playoffs continued.

Still, he averaged 14:31 of ice time and fought Jamie Langenbrunner in Game 5.

"That," Pratt said, "made everything worse."

"That's why he plays," Tortorella said, "because he finds a way, versus why some guys didn't play and don't find a way."

TAYLOR WANTS MORE: Captain Tim Taylor said surgery on his degenerative right hip condition likely will be in August, and he wants to play after an expected six-month rehab. Feaster said Taylor will get every opportunity to return.

ODDS AND ENDS: Defenseman Cory Sarich, an unrestricted free agent, stands to get a big bump from the $1.9-million he made this season, and that is more than the Lightning can afford. ... Upping his stock in the playoffs was center Andreas Karlsson, who benefited from Fedotenko's benching and some behind-the-scenes lobbying of Tortorella by Marty St. Louis. ... The Lightning has offered bruising forward Evgeny Artyukhin, who played this season in Russia, a $475,000 one-way contract.