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Tobler tough, but shows some scoring touch too

By DAMIAN CRISTODERO

© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 17, 2001


TAMPA -- Ryan Tobler is a tough guy.

The left wing piled up 267 minutes in penalties last season for Milwaukee of the IHL and Hartford of the AHL. In 1999-2000, he had 293 for Milwaukee.

But there was Tobler, all 6 feet 3, 222 pounds of him, showing great finesse Sunday, scoring two goals for the white team during a 5-2 win over the black in a 60-minute scrimmage at the Ice Palace.

"I don't know if scoring is my game, but it's great," said Tobler, who never has played an NHL game and signed as a free agent.

Tobler's effort paced a big day for prospects. Left wing Nikita Alexeev scored for the black, his third goal of camp. And center Martin Cibak scored an empty-netter for the white.

"The kids put on a good show," coach John Tortorella said.

Tobler, 25, raised some eyebrows, especially with his hesitation move in which he faked a shot to move a defender out of the way and fired past goaltender Kevin Weekes.

Tobler has 113 goals in seven minor-league season, but that does not change his job description.

"I bring more of a physical presence," he said. "(Scoring) is not what I look to do."

INJURIES: The team will hold its breath waiting for the results of today's MRI on Jassen Cullimore's right knee. The team's best defenseman last season was thought to have a simple sprain.

Whatever the diagnosis, Cullimore will not play in Tuesday's preseason game against the Senators in Halifax, Nova Scotia, or Wednesday's game against the Blue Jackets in Syracuse.

Defensemen Kristian Kudroc (broken nose) and Nolan Pratt (groin) are day to day.

A SECOND LINE?: As well as center Vinny Prospal, left wing Dave Andreychuk and right wing Ben Clymer are playing, don't be surprised if they are paired in this week's games and beyond.

Prospal and Andreychuk scored for the white. Prospal assisted on Andreychuk's goal. Andreychuk and Clymer assisted on Prospal's.

"We're starting to find each other a little more," Andreychuk said. "Our pacing is getting better."

"Those two are so good, I can be a peewee player and be okay," Clymer said.

NEW SCHEDULE: Practices are at the Ice Palace this week. With A camp players on the road for three preseason games, B camp players will work out at 1:30 p.m. today. Admission is free and open to the public.

HOME GROWN: There are three players in camp from the United States: Clymer from Edina, Minn.; center Brian Holzinger from Parma, Ohio; and right wing Matt Elich from Detroit.

ODDS AND ENDS: Alexeev, Cibak, defensemen Stan Neckar and Andrei Zyuzin and right wing Dmitry Afanasenkov still are waiting for work visas and will not travel to Halifax. They are to join the team in Syracuse. ... Forward Juha Ylonen scored for the black. ... The new block numbers and letters on the uniforms are beautifully easy to read. ... In an experiment begun last season in the minors, Mikko Kuparinen switched from defense to forward. ... In case you were wondering, right wing Yogi Svejkovsky, who missed almost all of last season with postconcussion syndrome, was an offseason buyout.

Training camp

WHEN: The team practices at 1:30 p.m. today, 10 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. There is no practice Thursday. The rest of the schedule will be announced soon.

WHERE: Ice Palace, Tampa.

ADMISSION: Practices are free and open to the public. A Sept. 26 scrimmage at the Ice Palace is open only to season-ticket holders.

PRESEASON SCHEDULE: Tuesday vs. Ottawa at Halifax, Nova Scotia, 6 p.m.; Wednesday vs. Columbus at Syracuse, N.Y., 7:30 p.m.; Saturday vs. Washington at Houston, 8:30 p.m.; Sept. 28 vs. Florida at Ice Palace, 7:30 p.m.; Sept. 29 at Florida, 7:30 p.m.

INFORMATION: Call (813) 301-6500.

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