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Morning skate ends career of Lightning's Taylor

ATLANTA — Tim Taylor's last day as a Lightning player was full of regret.

The captain wondered if he was right not to play in one last game to end his 13-year career. He wondered if the decision would have been easier had he not accompanied the team on its season-ending road trip.

He was sure of one thing, though.

"I'll never be going on the ice as a player again," he said after Saturday's morning skate, "and that's tough."

Taylor, who missed the season because of preseason hip surgery, was given the option to play by coach John Tortorella. The center wrestled with the decision. He spoke to family and friends. He read fan blog sites and finally decided that personal feelings were not the right reason to play.

Instead, Taylor, 39, opted for one last skate and called it quits after 746 games, 73 goals, 167 points and Stanley Cup titles in 2004 with the Lightning and 1997 with the Red Wings.

"I know I'm going to regret this, but it's the right thing to do," he said of not playing against the Thrashers. "In my heart, I would really like to do it. But in my mind, I know it's the wrong thing to do.

"It would have been better if I had stayed home. It would have been easier to handle."

ROY SITS AGAIN: How far is Andre Roy in Tortorella's doghouse?

Consider that with a lineup spot open because of Vinny Lecavalier's injury, Tortorella went with left wing Karl Stewart, and Roy was scratched for the 15th straight game.

"He's the coach. He decides," said Roy, who has not played since March 6 in Philadelphia, when he jawed bench to bench with members of the Flyers. "Obviously, there's something going on. I don't know.

"He's done with me. It pretty much looks like I'm not going to be in the lineup, period."

Roy can be an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

THE LINES: With Lecavalier out, the lines that began Saturday's game were interesting. Jeff Halpern centered for Marty St. Louis and Mathieu Darche; Jussi Jokinen centered for Jason Ward and Michel Ouellet; Craig MacDonald was between Nick Tarnasky and Junior Lessard; and Andreas Karlsson centered for Stewart and Doug Janik.

ODDS AND ENDS: The Lightning will clean out lockers at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon on Monday. … Defenseman Shane O'Brien was a healthy scratch for the seventh straight game.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at cristodero@sptimes.com.

Morning skate ends career of Lightning's Taylor 04/05/08 [Last modified: Monday, April 7, 2008 7:29am]

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