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By DAMIAN CRISTODERO
© St. Petersburg Times, published November 12, 2000
TAMPA -- The Lightning thinks it is not getting enough shots on goal -- not from its players but the NHL officials who count shots at the Ice Palace.
"We have a regular problem with statistics," general manager Rick Dudley said before Saturday night's game against the Flames at the Ice Palace. Dudley said discrepancies in shots on goal are particularly acute. How different are the official shot totals from the counts the Lightning culls from its videotapes?
"Wide enough that it does concern you," Dudley said.
NHL supervisor of officials Wally Harris said he has heard the complaint before, from Dudley, former Lightning general manager Phil Esposito and, to a lesser extent, former coach and general manager Jacques Demers.
Harris said he has no complaints with the work of the Ice Palace crew headed by Jim Galluzzi.
"We get this around the league when teams don't get many shots," said Harris, adding that the crew uses videotape to verify counts. "We're not going to let teams dictate to off-ice officials to add shots. (The shots are) either on net or they're not."
Harris, who also attended Friday night's game against the Canadiens, said there were "no discrepancies" when the Lightning was credited with six shots after two periods.
Besides, Harris said, "it's how many shots that go in, not shots on net."
Still, Dudley said, "we can certainly appeal to the NHL. If it continues, we will implore the NHL to do something."
The Lightning wants an accurate count so as to not shortchange players and to provide a spark for fans.
FIRST WHAT?: Before Saturday, the last time the Lightning had at least a piece of first place after 10 or more games was Nov. 4, 1998, when its 11 points (5-6-1) tied the Hurricanes and Panthers in the Southeast Division.
Tampa Bay had sole possession of first place on Feb. 10, 1995, when its 11 points (5-5-1) led the Atlantic Division during the strike-shortened season.
The Lightning also was alone in first place on Nov. 13, 1992, when its 20 points (9-8-2) led the Norris Division.
MASKED MAN: Vinny Lecavalier wore a full face shield during Saturday's game to protect his nose, broken in three places Friday night by the stick of Canadiens forward Martin Rucinsky.
The 20-year-old captain said this is the first time his nose has been broken.
"The worst feeling I've ever had," Lecavalier said. "It felt like the whole thing exploded."
Lecavalier said he will not wear the visor longer than necessary. He experimented with one last season but discarded it because he said it hindered his vision of the ice.
ODDS AND ENDS: Defenseman Pavel Kubina (concussion) was taken off injured reserve and played against the Flames. Defenseman Bryan Muir was sent to the IHL's Detroit Vipers. ... Center Wayne Primeau (left heel bruise) and defenseman Cory Sarich (healthy) were scratched. ... Coach Steve Ludzik said Sarich, who was recalled from Detroit on Nov. 4, may be sent back. "The question is, do we want him playing eight minutes (with the Lightning) or 25 minutes (with the Vipers)?"