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Tampa Bay Lightning players are thrilled to have Adam Oates signed on as an assistant coach



The thing Tampa Bay Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier likes about having Adam Oates on the coaching staff is that he can teach.

"Some guys are good players, but to explain it," Lecavalier said. "Some guys just do it, but he's one of the guys who is a great teacher. He knows the game and explains it well. I think he's helped us tremendously."

Most notably on the power play, which clicked at 24.1 percent (10-for-41) in preseason.

 "We're all excited to have someone with his knowledge. He was such a smart player, one of the great players of his time, especially offensively," center Steven Stamkos said. "Hes really helped out our power play in the couple of weeks he's been here, and it's only going to get better and easier once we get to know each other from a player-coach perspective."

Coach Rick Tocchet said he still is trying to work out game-day assignments. But for now, Oates will observe from the press box. But wherever he is, Lecavalier said Oates, who on Friday signed a one-year deal, will have an impact.

"You could just tell by the way he does things," Lecavalier said. "He came in and he wasn't like an outsider. He came in to help and he really did. He's really involved and I think the guys appreciate that. I think he's going to be a great coach."

And contribute to a staff that includes Wes Walz, Rick Wilson and Cap Raeder and that Lecavalier said has really come together 

"It's a great team, right now," he said. "They have all the different aspects of coaching, and that's what creates a good coaching staff."

Other stuff from the morning skate: Pretty fun day for Vancouver of the Western Hockey League as two of its players from last season -- Tampa Bay wing James Wright, drafted 117th overall in June, and Thrashers wing Evander Kane, drafted fourth overall, play there first NHL games on the same ice. "I'd say the best word is weird that it worked out that way," Wright said. Said Kane: "I'm not surprised about the way (Wright) is playing. He's really quick. He reads the play well and he's not afraid to go to the dirty areas to have success." ... Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman also plays his first NHL game. The No. 2 overall pick of the draft said he doesn't nap on game days like most players. "If I sleep two hours, I feel lazy, and I don't want that to happen." ... Defensemen Lukas Krajicek, David Hale and Matt Smaby are scratched. ... Coach Rick Tocchet said Mike Smith is on tap to play for a while. And while he said, "We're lucky to have Nitty" (that is, backup goalie Antero Niittymaki), Tocchet said of when he will get in a game, "Right now, I don't know." ... Former Lightning defenseman Pavel Kubina is back in the Southeast with the Thrashers after three seasons with the Maple Leafs. "It was a great honor for me to be there and play for a team like that," he said, but added that his preparation is the same, even in the laid-back Southeast. "Doesn't matter where you play as a professional. you try to do what's best for the team."        

[Last modified: Monday, November 2, 2009 12:15am]


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