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By DAMIAN CRISTODERO
© St. Petersburg Times, published February 18, 2001
TAMPA -- Goaltender Kevin Weekes said he asked head medical trainer Dave Boyer about using a pain-numbing agent on his injured groin to get in the lineup more quickly, but Boyer dissuaded him.
"He went against it," Weekes said. "He said it could create some long-range problems. He cares about me as a player and a person and doesn't want to see me do anything like that."
Weekes started Saturday night's game against the Rangers at the Ice Palace after missing two games with the injury.
"I considered it," he said of the pain-numbing agents, "and was willing to take those measures."
But Boyer said, "No, no way. It just masks a lot of different situations that can occur and creates problems."
Problems like aggravating the injury without the player's knowledge.
Boyer said he would consider using pain-numbing agents on hands and feet because they, unlike muscles like the groin, do not go through extreme ranges of motion in a game.
"I would never use it in the groin," Boyer said.
KOCHAN ON WAIVERS: If goalie Dieter Kochan, put on waivers Saturday, is to make it back to the IHL's Detroit Vipers, the 26-year-old must clear waivers because he was not brought up for an emergency.
Teams have until Monday to make a claim.
The Lightning hopes he makes it through. It wants Kochan, who gave up eight goals on 23 shots in two games, to team with Mark Fitzpatrick in Detroit.
That would allow the Lightning to move 19-year-old Evgeny Konstantinov to the Johnstown (Pa.) Chiefs, Tampa Bay's ECHL affiliate.
BIG GAME: With Saturday's game televised by ESPN2, rookie center Brad Richards got his first national exposure. Richards entered with 46 points (16 goals, 30 assists), 16 more than any rookie. Yet he recently was excluded from a national Internet report that listed the top three first-year players.
A good showing should increase recognition for rookie of the year.
"It's just something I'm in position to get," Richards said. "I'm not putting my life on it. The team things come first. I'm just going to play my game and stay ready."
ODDS AND ENDS: To make room for goalie Wade Flaherty, center Thomas Ziegler was re-assigned to Detroit. ... Kochan and defensemen Sergey Gusev and Grant Ledyard were healthy scratches.