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Ludzik keeping Freadrich out

By DAMIAN CRISTODERO

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 26, 2000


DETROIT -- What's the deal with Kyle Freadrich?

The left wing was a healthy scratch for the eighth consecutive game Wednesday night when the Lightning faced the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.

In fact, Freadrich hasn't played all season despite reports the 6-foot-7, 250-pound tough guy had improved his skating so much he could handle five to seven minutes a game on a fourth line.

General manager Rick Dudley reiterated Freadrich's progress but said if Freadrich is not going to get a nod from coach Steve Ludzik, he might be better off with the IHL's Detroit Vipers.

"He has come so far," Dudley said. "It would be a crime if he lost what he gained."

Ludzik said Freadrich has sat because of tightly officiated games that make special teams critical.

"The decision is because of the amount of penalty killing you have to do," Ludzik said. "Your 11th and 12th forwards better be able to do that."

Freadrich said he doesn't lose by practicing with an NHL team.

"The practices are faster," he said. "The pressure is there to make the pass and the goalies are much better. ... I have to stay positive and be ready for my chance."

MILLAR CLAIMED: The Lightning claimed defenseman Craig Millar off waivers from the Predators. He is expected to join the team for Friday night's game against the Senators.

Millar, 24, played five games with Nashville with no points and six penalty minutes. He was plus-1.

"He's a very smart player," said Lightning associate coach John Tortorella, who coached Millar in 1996-97 with Rochester of the AHL. "He has good offensive instincts and has a very good shot."

The 6-2, 212-pounder was Buffalo's 10th draft choice (225th overall) in 1994. He scored 31 goals for the Swift Current juniors in 1995-96. He had three goals and 11 assists with 28 penalty minutes in 57 games for Nashville last season.

"He has a tremendous upside," Tortorella said.

MORE MOVES: Defenseman Sergey Gusev, who just finished a three-game conditioning assignment with the Vipers, was put on injured reserve after spraining his right knee in Tuesday's practice. It is the same knee that had reconstructive surgery in January and arthroscopic surgery before training camp.

Tampa Bay sent forward Jaroslav Svejkovsky to the Vipers. He missed preseason after arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.

ODDS AND ENDS: Goaltender Dan Cloutier (left biceps tendinitis) said he is feeling better, will likely practice Friday and be ready to play Wednesday against the Hurricanes. ... Defenseman Cory Sarich was a healthy scratch for the second straight game.

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