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Mattias Ritola says no to AHL Norfolk, will leave the Tampa Bay Lightning for Europe

The Lightning on Tuesday suspended right wing Mattias Ritola for not reporting to AHL Norfolk and put him on unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract.

"I've spent almost four years in the minors," said Ritola, who added he would rather play in Europe as a way to get back to the NHL.

Ritola declined to say if a team is interested, but it makes sense he has something lined up in his native Sweden, though he still must clear waivers.

"I feel this is the way to go in my career right now," Ritola said.

It is not contentious with the Lightning. Ritola said he has "nothing bad to say" about his time with Tampa Bay, and GM Steve Yzerman said, "I understand where he is coming from and I respect where he's coming from. … This enables him to move on with his hockey career."

Ritola, 24, was acquired in October 2010 off waivers from the Red Wings. Playing this season behind Brett Connolly, Blair Jones and Tom Pyatt, Ritola had zero points in five games.

"He just hasn't had a chance to get into our lineup and play regular minutes," Yzerman said.

Mattias Ritola says no to AHL Norfolk, will leave the Tampa Bay Lightning for Europe 11/08/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 8:50pm]
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