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GM Steve Yzerman tries to get past Tampa Bay Lightning's controversy on Versus TV telecasts

ST. PAUL, Minn. — It is time to put the whole 1-3-1 controversy to bed, Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said, especially as it pertains to Versus, whose commentators, he believes, unfairly ignited the whole thing in the first place.

"We talked about how we should handle this," Yzerman said about interview requests from Versus, which telecast Monday's game between Tampa Bay and the Wild. "At this stage we decided we have no interest in getting into a feud with Versus."

But, Yzerman stressed, if Versus analysts "improperly" or "unnecessarily" criticize the team, as Yzerman believes they did during a Nov. 9 game with the Flyers, "we reserve the right that we may not cooperate in the future."

Versus' telecast Monday was its first with the Lightning since the Philadelphia game, when analysts Mike Milbury, Keith Jones and Pierre McGuire piled on the Lightning for using the defensive 1-3-1 formation they said produces boring hockey.

Milbury even stalked off the set in protest of the 1-3-1, and Jones said the league should punish the Lightning and coach Guy Boucher. There was no criticism of Flyers coach Peter Laviolette, who several times instructed his players to stall their defensive-zone breakouts during what turned into Tampa Bay's 2-1 overtime win.

"We're open to criticism for every decision we make, how we play, how we perform," Yzerman said. "But there are ways things should be done and we, as an organization, disagreed with how that event was handled. But we're moving on. We're not going to lose any sleep over it and our intention is to cooperate."

And Boucher, one of the league's most accessible coaches, granted a bench interview Monday with Versus' Brian Engblom.

"I'll deal with them like I deal with everybody else," Boucher said of Versus.

A Versus spokesman said Milbury, Jones and Engblom were given no special instructions on how to handle the Lightning or analyze the 1-3-1 during Monday's game. Versus also is televising Wednesday's Lightning game with the Red Wings.

TWO MORE YEARS: W Dana Tyrell signed a two-year, one-way contract that covers the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons and pays $600,000 a season, a nice reward for a player cut out of training camp so the team could get better looks at Brett Connolly, Blair Jones and Mattias Ritola.

"It might turn out to be a blessing in disguise," said Tyrell, recalled last week. "I was able to go down and work on my game."

"It was never that we were disappointed with him in any way," Yzerman said. "We had to do some things."

MEDICAL MATTERS: RW Steve Downie (upper body) skated with the team in the morning but sat out his third straight game. Boucher called the injury "a little issue" but one "we can't take care of ourselves."

Boucher said Downie will see an outside doctor.

"It's not big," Boucher said. "It's just we want to take care of it before it becomes bigger."

ODDS AND ENDS: Wild and former Lightning D Mike Lundin (back) made his season debut. … Scouts from 14 teams were at the game. … D Bruno Gervais was scratched.

GM Steve Yzerman tries to get past Tampa Bay Lightning's controversy on Versus TV telecasts 11/28/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 29, 2011 12:06am]
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