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Tampa Bay Lightning C Nate Thompson returns to his roots, signs with ECHL Alaska Aces

Tampa Bay Lightning center Nate Thompson signed a professional tryout contract with the Alaska Aces, an ECHL team based in his hometown of Anchorage. The contract is good only for training camp, which began Friday.

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NHL cancels rest of the preseason

Though negotiations between the Players’ Association and NHL are set to resume Friday -- though it is not clear if the talks will be specifically geared toward ending the lockout -- the league on Thursday canceled the rest of its preseason schedule, including three Lightning games.

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Tampa Bay Lightning G Anders Lindback returns to Sweden to mull offers

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Anders Lindback returned to his native Sweden to work out and consider offers to play in Europe, his agent said.

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Tampa Bay Lightning D Victor Hedman to the KHL

The agent for Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman said his client has signed a contract with Barys Astana of the Russian Kontinental Hockey League and will report Friday.

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Boucher a hit by shooting perfect strike at Rays game

Lightning coach Guy Boucher literally gave it his best “shot” for Friday’s ceremonial first pitch at the Rays-Jays game.

After throwing several wild pitches in a half hour warm-up session, Boucher decided to stick to his strengths, using a hockey stick to flip a perfect strike to “goalie” C Stephen Vogt, who had a stick of his own.

Boucher played baseball until he was 13, but was never a pitcher. “I wasn’t exactly the most accurate one,” Boucher said. “I threw hard but the mascot had to wear a helmet most of the time.”


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Boucher "afraid" of lengthy lockout, but has "faith" they'll find a way

The unfortunate reality of the NHL lockout hit Lightning coach Guy Boucher Friday morning, when the team was supposed to begin training camp.

Boucher and his staff took their annual physicals - and there were no players.

“That’s not what we wanted,” Boucher said before "shooting" the ceremonial first pitch at the Rays-Jays game. “Fans don’t want that. Everyone wants to play, owners want, players want. I think there’s goodwill on both sides and I’m sure they’re going to find a way. If it’s quick, I don’t think we’ve lost much. But obviously, if it takes longer, it’s not what everybody wants.”

Boucher said while he has faith both sides will “find a way" - and believes there will be a season - he admits he’s “afraid” there will be a lengthy work stoppage.

“I’d be a liar to say I’m not afraid,” Boucher said. “Everybody is afraid, especially as a group right now, the organization from top to bottom are very enthusiastic about the momentum we’ve got with our fans and the building and the new players we added this summer. There’s so much positive stuff going on for us, it’d be said if it’d be a long (lockout). But I’m staying very positive that it will be done.” …

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An interview with NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, in a conference call with two Tampa Bay area reporters, said the league is concerned about a backlash from fans who must be suffering lockout fatigue, considering the NHL is in its second lockout in eight years and third under the leadership of commissioner Gary Bettman. "Of course we care what our fans think," Daly said. "That's why they need to hear our message as well as the Players' Association's.

So Daly made the league's case as part of a public relations contest the players so far seem to be winning:

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AHL Syracuse signs 4 to minor-league deals

AHL Syracuse announced it signed four players to minor-league deals: defensemen Evan Oberg and Matt Taormina and forwards Mike Angelidis and Pierre-Cedric Labrie. The contracts allow the players, who have two-way deals with the Lightning, to play for the Crunch without clearing waivers. Negotiations are continuing with defenseman Keith Aulie, who also has a two-way deal with Tampa Bay.

Here is the announcement from the Crunch:

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NHL cancels all preseason games through Sept. 30

The NHL announced Wednesday it had canceled all preseason games through Sept. 30, the first official fallout from the lockout of players that began Sunday.

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Lockout official, Tampa Bay Lightning sends letter to ticket holders asking for support, patience

The Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday emailed the following letter from chief executive officer Tod Leiweke to season ticket holders asking for their support and patience during the player lockout:

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Tampa lockout protest was small, but message of frustration was clear

The lockout protest at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Saturday was small with only 17 people. But there was no mistaking the fans' frustration at what appears to be the NHL's fourth work stoppage since April 1992 and third lockout under commissioner Gary Bettman.

Barring a last-minute, surprise settlement, the lockout begins at midnight.

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With lockout looming, Lightning tells employees no staff cuts -- for now

The Lightning apparently gave its employees some good news Friday when it announced the organization is not planning immediate staffing changes if an expected NHL lockout begins on Sunday.

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Tampa Bay Lightning assigns 18 players, including Brett Connolly, to AHL Syracuse

The Lightning, ahead of the expected NHL lockout on Sunday, assigned 18 players to AHL Syracuse, including Brett Connolly, who last season played 68 games for Tampa Bay, and J.T Brown, the highly touted wing signed last season from Minnesota-Duluth. All assigned players did not have to clear waivers to be sent down.

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Fan putting together lockout protest scheduled for Saturday at the Tampa Bay Times Forum

A Seffner Tampa Bay Lightning fan is organizing a protest Saturday at the Tampa Bay Times Forum against the pending lockout that threatens to at least delay the start of the 2012-13 season.

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Lightning announces local television schedule

The Tampa Bay Lightning released its telecast schedule for 2012-13 (assuming the lockout-threatened season begins on time).

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