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Lightning starts fast; contacts Vrbata, Kolzig

Nothing officially from the team but it is believed the Lightning already has made contact with representatives for left wing Radim Vrbata, who scored 27 goals last season for the Coyotes, and goalie Olaf Kolzig.

Makes sense. Vrbata's stock took off when Brian Rolston turned down the Lightning's offer. As coach Barry Melrose said this morning, he could play the right side and the second-unit power play. He also is good on the penalty kill, and was plus-6 last season.

Kolzig would be a terrific mentor for Mike Smith, and coach Barry Melrose, this morning, indicated the team "had some goalie issues we need to take care of." There apparently has been an internal debate as to whether backup Karri Ramo needs some more seasoning in the minors. If Kolzig agrees, that would end the debate. And Kolzig, 38, would be a proved replacement if Smith, who has never played a season as a No. 1, falters. Kolzig apparently still wants to start, but a meaningful backup gig might be worth considering.

[Last modified: Sunday, August 16, 2009 4:38pm]


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