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Lightning's Roy returns to team after being sent home

The Lightning sent wing Andre Roy home after an incident March  6 against the Flyers, but team leaders backed him up.

DIRK SHADD | Times

The Lightning sent wing Andre Roy home after an incident March  6 against the Flyers, but team leaders backed him up.

BRANDON — There was singing on the ice during the Lightning's practice Monday at the Ice Sports Forum.

It also came from the shower after the workout was over.

Andre Roy was in full voice.

The enforcer returned after a 10-day absence during which general manager Jay Feaster investigated his throat-slashing, finger-pointing outburst March  6 against the Flyers, and Roy got some much-needed support from team leaders Vinny Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis.

"That was big-time," Roy said. "That the leaders did that ... That's basically why I'm here."

It doesn't mean Roy, who has missed five games, will play Wednesday at Buffalo. But at least the left wing can begin re-establishing the trust Feaster and coach John Tortorella clearly lost after Roy went into such a rage on the bench, Tortorella grabbed him to sit him down and got in his face to calm him down.

"Yeah, I did," Roy said when asked if he overreacted to fans "chirping" and the Flyers "laughing" at continuous replays on the Wachovia Center scoreboard of Roy losing a second-period, one-punch fight to Riley Cote.

"Then again, I'm in a zone. Enforcers, we understand, sometimes when you get mad people try to tell you stuff, but you're in a zone where, I can't explain it."

Explanations as to what Feaster found about the incident, and a Feb.  2 situation in which Roy was benched three games for having words with Tortorella after fighting and jawing with Florida's Branislav Mezei, were not forthcoming.

"Don't ask me any questions about Andre," Tortorella said.

Feaster, in a statement, acknowledged hockey is an "emotional" sport but stressed "it also is necessary for our players to be under control and working within the team concept during games."

He said Roy's absence "was the right course of action for Andre and the club. … We now welcome him back and look forward to putting all this behind us."

Input from Lecavalier and St. Louis were key.

St. Louis declined comment. But Lecavalier said the message was, "We wanted Andre back as soon as we could. We know Andre is emotional and by embarrassing him on the scoreboard, that's when the emotions came out. But 99.9 percent of the time, his emotions are in check. He goes out there for his teammates. I feel protected when he's playing. He's a big part of the team."

Roy said he resented the Flyers' taunts in the third period as a replay of Cote's punch-out, shown repeatedly after it happened, was shown again.

"That showed no respect," Roy said. "We all have a job to do. I got ringed. It's part of the game. But at that point I wanted to go in and show."

Roy got into it with the Flyers bench and made two throat-slashing gestures and threatened, "You're (expletive) dead."

Roy was sent home the next day, beginning what was, in essence, a 10-day suspension with pay.

Roy declined comment on the time off because "I've got a different view of it than (the team)."

He added: "I may not play the rest of the year, but at least I'm with the team. If I don't play, I don't. I'm just going to work hard and do my best, my usual thing."

Like singing in the shower.

"You knew he was back when you walked into the dressing room," Lecavalier said. "You could hear him."

NOTES: Defenseman Shane O'Brien briefly left the ice shaking his left hand after a fight with teammate Karl Stewart that was broken up by several teammates. O'Brien said he is fine. Stewart said the bout was simply "two competitive guys going at it." … Defenseman Mike Lundin (ankle) practiced.

Damian Cristodero can be reached

at cristodero@sptimes.com.

Lightning's Roy returns to team after being sent home 03/17/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 19, 2008 5:07pm]
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