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Former Lightning assistant Fleming dies

Wayne Fleming, brought into the organization under former coach Guy Boucher, lost a two-year battle with brain cancer.

Associated Press (2011)

Wayne Fleming, brought into the organization under former coach Guy Boucher, lost a two-year battle with brain cancer.

TAMPA — The things Dan Lacroix will remember about Wayne Fleming include his love of country music, how he "hated to lose," and how, as a fellow Lightning assistant coach, "he was as prepared and as organized as any coach I knew."

Fleming, hired in the summer of 2010 as part of Guy Boucher's staff, died Monday after a two-year battle with brain cancer. He was 62 and living at home in Calgary with wife Carolyn.

"It is with a heavy heart that we acknowledge the passing of Wayne Fleming," GM Steve Yzerman said in a statement. "Wayne was an extremely important part of the Lightning family on and off the ice. The thoughts and prayers of the entire Lightning organization go out to Wayne's wife Carolyn and the entire Fleming family."

Fleming, diagnosed just before Tampa Bay's 2011 playoff run, was a prominent figure in Canada. He was an associate coach for the national team that won gold at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. He had coaching stints with the Oilers, Flames, Flyers, Coyotes, Islanders and Lightning.

"The biggest legacy Wayne left was how he touched people, to make them better," said Bob Nicholson, president of Hockey Canada. "Whether he was coaching a 10-year-old hockey team or coaching with Pat Quinn and Ken Hitchcock at the Olympic Games, he was just there to make everyone better."

MOVING: From the outside looking in, shifting Marty Raymond from Lightning assistant coach to an assistant at AHL Syracuse under new coach Rob Zettler seems a demotion.

But Yzerman said it was simply an appropriate shift of assets.

"We like the entire group, but what's the right mix with our coaching staff?" Yzerman said. "We asked Marty if he'd be willing to go down there. We think he'll work well with Rob."

Raymond, in the final year of his contract, said that's the way it happened.

"I'm looking forward to this new opportunity to help the organization and the young players to continue to develop and push through as far as we can in the playoffs," he said. "From there, we'll revisit."

DREAMING: D Andrej Sustr, newly signed out of the University of Nebraska-Omaha, participated in Tuesday's morning skate and said it was "surreal."

Sustr, of the Czech Republic, said he attended the Lightning's games against the Rangers in Prague in October 2008.

"I would never even think I'd be here in the same locker room with them," Sustr said. "It's definitely something special. I'm just trying to soak in every moment and just enjoy it here."

Sustr said he signed with Tampa Bay, in part, because the team is in transition, "So, there's going to be an opportunity to play in a couple of years down the road and be a steady NHL player. They've also been really good with their younger players. I didn't see a reason why I wouldn't want to be part of it."

The plan is for the 6-foot-8 Sustr to get in a few practices then play some games. In the meantime, "It's something you always dream of to be skating with an NHL team," Sustr said. "(Tuesday) was kind of a dream come true."

INJURY REPORT: LW Ben Pouliot (right shoulder), who missed 11 games, was in the lineup against the Sabres. … RW Pierre-Cedric Labrie (upper body) is on injured reserve. … RW B.J. Crombeen said he has a sore left leg, a result of a hip check thrown Saturday by Senators D Mike Methot. Crombeen said he should be ready for Friday's game against the Devils.

ODDS AND ENDS: The Lightning is exploring bringing G Jaroslav Janus back from Europe. … D Brian Lee was assigned to Syracuse.

Former Lightning assistant Fleming dies 03/26/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 10:12pm]

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