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Todd Fedoruk back in lineup for Tampa Bay Lightning after nine straight scratches



To say Todd Fedoruk is excited is an understatement. The Tamp Bay Lightning left wing gets in his first action tonight against the Oilers after nine straight games as a healthy scratch, and it sounds as if he wants to play like a kid again.

"I'm excited," Fedoruk said. "You have to play like a kid again because the kids are all trying to take your job."

Expect Fedoruk to be on a left wing with center Zenon Konopka and Stephane Veilleux. It appears as if Kurtis Foster, who has been on that forth line, will return to defense.

"He's been out for a while and he's said and done the right things.," coach Rick Tocchet said. "It's time to get him out there and see what he can do."

What is Tocchet expecting?

"He's got to be a presence, obviously, on the wall," Tocchet said. "He's got to play a little bit on the edge. He has to be a presence in front of their net. Those are the things we're looking for from him, and I think he's gotten the message. He's ready to go. When you have extra people, once you get in, I said to him, you're in don't let me take you out again. We'll see what kind of urgency he has tonight."

Fedoruk has two goals and three points in 17 games and is minus-5 with 22 penalty minutes.  

Other stuff from the morning skate: Mike Smith gets his third straight start in net. He has allowed just three goals in his past 64 shots. ... After the unsatisfactory effort against the Capitals on Monday, what is Tocchet looking to see tonight? "The practice yesterday was great. The attitude today, it's a new day for us. Guys understand these are important games. We can't give games away. I think the guys know the message and the attitude was good today. Hopefully, they're ready to play. They got the game plan and I expect a good hockey game tonight." ... Tocchet went out of his way to compliment right wing Steve Downie. "It started from the summer. We asked him to train a certain way with certain people, and he did. He's eating the right stuff. And the way he's played, he's progressed from training camp. Every day he's gotten better. As a coach, you look at a young guy developing. He's developed. He's been one of our best forwards the past six games." Downie, 22, who along with Paul Szczechura plays with center Steven Stamkos tonight, has five goals and 12 points in 29 games and is plus-2 with 62 penalty minutes. "I'm just doing the best I can and try to stay level-headed," Downie said. "We're not winning right now. It doesn't matter if I play good or bad if we're not winning. We're struggling right now so it's hard to be happy." ... With Stamkos, Downie and Szczechura, the Lightning has a line of all right-handed shots. Asked if that could be as troublesome as it is unusual, Tocchet said, "You like to get a left shot, but these are the cards you're dealt. Paul Szczechura has played well and I have to get him and Downie more ice time, giving him Stammer. When you have good players, they'll adjust. Hopefully the puck will start on the right side so when it goes to the left-side they can get a one-timer goal. Those guys are fast guys, they'll figure it out." ... Vinny Lecavalier was at the ribbon cutting Tuesday night in St. Petersburg for the Vincent Lecavalier Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at All Children's Hospital. Lecavalier, through his foundation, donated $3 million to the effort. "It was great," Lecavalier said. "It's a pretty good feeling, but at the end of it, it's what All Children's did. It's just incredible."      

[Last modified: Friday, January 8, 2010 12:15am]


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