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Roy hopes Tortorella's ouster means new beginning with Lightning

Enforcer Andre Roy said the firing of coach John Tortorella makes re-signing with the Lightning his "No. 1 priority."

"If Torts would have remained, I think I was pretty much out," Roy said. "I wouldn't want to go through all that stuff again."

But with the new owners (OK Hockey) about to take over and a new coach (Barry Melrose) apparently waiting in the wings, Roy, a potential unrestricted free agent, wants a new beginning.

"I love Tampa and the team and the fans," he said. "I hope I get a chance to redeem myself."

Roy, one of the team's most popular players, was benched by Tortorella for the season's final 12 games after Roy's three-game league suspension for, among other things, a throat-slashing gesture toward the Flyers bench during a March 6 game.

He was benched for three games earlier in the season for arguing with Tortorella after a fight against the Panthers.

"I still think he's a great coach," Roy, 33, said. "I don't know if I was an easy target because of our past. I just didn't think I deserved that kind of treatment. We tough guys take our job with pride."

The agent for Vinny Prospal said Tortorella's dismissal has no bearing on whether his client, a potential unrestricted free agent traded to the Flyers at the deadline, would consider returning.

"Vinny speaks very fondly of him," Ritch Winter said of Tortorella. "He would have no trouble playing for him. That said, there were many times during their relationship that Vinny would have liked to kill him."

After scoring the winner on Feb. 12 in a 3-2 victory over the Canadiens, Prospal ripped Tortorella in an interview shown on the St. Pete Times Forum scoreboard.

"He spoke out when he thought Torts was being a fool, which Torts was being at times," Winter said. "But he has great affection for the work Torts did to push him to a certain level."

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

Roy hopes Tortorella's ouster means new beginning with Lightning 06/11/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 17, 2008 8:06pm]
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