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Lightning nonstars could feel squeeze created by new labor deal

BRANDON — For players in the last year of contracts, the new collective bargaining agreement — expected to be ratified today by the players union — might be the start of a new reality.

With the salary cap decreasing from $70.2 million this season to $64.3 million in 2013-14, players, especially nonstars, might find contracts tougher to come by and not as rich as hoped.

"It's going to be hard for guys like me probably," said Lightning G Mathieu Garon, whose two-year, $2.6 million deal will end after this season. "But if you play good, you're going to get a contract somewhere; but maybe not for as much as you deserve."

Other Tampa Bay players whose contracts will be up: forwards Benoit Pouliot, B.J. Crombeen, Nate Thompson, Adam Hall and J.T. Wyman, and defensemen Marc-Andre Bergeron and Brendan Mikkelson.

"I'm sure everybody thinks about that, but I'm trying not to," Pouliot said of the financial squeeze that might be coming. "For now, we still have a year left. Just play, and things will fall into place if we play well."

FOUND: Where the heck was Kyle Wilson?

The forward, acquired from Nashville in the Anders Lindback deal last summer, did not skate with his new teammates during the lockout and didn't show up at the Ice Sports Forum until Friday. "I really didn't have any roots here," Wilson said.

So he stayed in London, Ontario, where his trainer is based and he, Ducks RW Corey Perry and Kings D Drew Doughty skated with the Knights of the junior Ontario Hockey League.

"Most important was to stay in shape," said Wilson, 28, who has four goals and 13 points in 39 NHL games. "I try to make the best of every opportunity I get and do the same things I've always been doing; work my (behind) off and the chips fall where they fall."

HOUSE GUEST: Until he gets his own place, Lindback is staying in an apartment above the garage at the home of defenseman and fellow Swede Victor Hedman.

"I'm his pool boy," Lindback said.

ODDS AND ENDS: The Lightning schedule announced today will not include television information. Sun Sports cannot formulate its schedule until the NHL releases its national schedule, and that might not happen until Monday. … Lightning minor-league players coming to training camp will be announced tonight.

. Fast facts

Training camp

All practices are free and open to the public, and all times are subject to change.

Sunday: 12:30 p.m., Tampa Bay Times Forum

Monday: 6:15 p.m., Germain Arena, Estero

Tuesday-Thursday: 10:30 a.m., Germain Arena

Friday: 11:30 a.m., Times Forum with a free lunch on the arena plaza.

Fan Fest

Doors at the Times Forum open at 9 a.m. Sunday. Players will be available for autographs from 10 to 11 a.m. Practice is from 12:30 to 2 p.m. There will be a sale of game-used equipment with proceeds going to community hockey. Parking is free in the east and west lots. Nearby city garages will charge. Fans should enter through the main arena entrance. For more information, go to tampabay.com/blogs/lightning.

Tickets

Single-game tickets go on sale Monday, though there will be a presale for season-ticket holders and those attending Fan Fest. The Lightning will pay all Ticketmaster fees for tickets purchased at Fan Fest and Monday at Ticketmaster, the box office and tampabaylightning.com.

Lightning nonstars could feel squeeze created by new labor deal 01/11/13 [Last modified: Friday, January 11, 2013 11:20pm]
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