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Lightning moves forward with assistant/associate search, speaks to Rick Wilson



As we have said before, Stars associate coach Rick WIlson seems to be a front-runner in the Lightning's search for an associate/assistant. The process certainly has seemed slow, but for the first time both Wilson and Lightning GM Brian Lawton confirmed they have spoken about the job.

"I had a short, positive visit with Tampa," Wilson said by text. "But the process of filling a coaching position is still ongoing."

Perhaps, but as Lawton said, "Rick was very impressive."

He should be. He has all the credentials Tampa Bay is looking for. A defenseman who played 1973-77 with the Canadiens, Blues and Red Wings (six goals, 32 points, 165 penalty minutes in 239 games), he carried his defensive sensibility behind the bench. Wilson has spent 20 years as an assistant/associate coach. He has been with the Stars for 15 seasons (helping the team to the 1999 Stanley Cup title under coach Ken Hitchcock) and has been the Stars' associate coach for the past six. Highly regarded, especially in Dallas, Wilson worked primarily with the defense and ran the defense during games, something the Lightning needs.

There also is a bit of familiarity. Wilson was an assistant with the Kings from 1989-92 and worked with current Lightning goaltenders coach Cap Raeder. Wilson and Raeder were co-coaches for 15 games during the 1989-90 season when coach Tom Webster needed surgery for an inner ear problem.

Could there be more interviews? Perhaps. But Wilson, who turns 59 on Aug. 10, clearly is in the lead.

on another subject, Lawton said he hopes to this weekend meet with the agent for defenseman Matt Smaby as they try to avoid Tuesday's arbitration hearing. Smaby is asking for a one-way contract.

[Last modified: Sunday, August 16, 2009 4:39pm]


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