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Tampa Bay Lightning coaches increase workload as Wayne Fleming fights cancer

BRANDON — With assistant coach Wayne Fleming home in Calgary fighting brain cancer, Lightning coaches have had to increase their workloads during training camp.

"Every day I take my breakfast and I eat a quarter of it because I don't have time," coach Guy Boucher said Monday. "The fact is that he's not here. We had some sort of chemistry set in. Now we have to separate the tasks in different ways. It does pile on the work."

Fleming, 61, is undergoing chemotherapy and radiation. He also is recovering his motor skills after April brain surgery to remove a malignant tumor.

While there is no timetable for Fleming's return — he will not be with the team for the season opener Oct. 7 at Carolina — GM Steve Yzerman reiterated that he hopes Fleming will watch games on television and contribute insights and suggestions via e-mail and text messages as he did during last season's playoffs.

"He's been around so long that the stuff he says I really pay attention to," said C Nate Thompson, who, along with D Pavel Kubina, has kept in touch with Fleming via e-mail. "He's been with a lot of different teams. He's coached a lot of superstars and longtime NHLers, so whatever he says, guys listen."

"He's fighting," Boucher said. "We have to do the same."

MEDICAL MATTERS: AHL Norfolk G Dustin Tokarski, held out of practice for the second straight day, had two MRI exams to try and pinpoint the mysterious injury that has limited him since April. It was originally believed Tokarski had an abdominal injury, perhaps a sports hernia, but tests could not confirm. Now it is believed he might have pelvic tendinitis. … Norfolk D Scott Jackson has not practiced because of offseason arthroscopic knee surgery to clean up cartilage damaged during summer workouts.

GOALIE ROTATION: With Tokarski's status uncertain, Jaroslav Janus, at least for now, is the organization's No. 3 goaltender.

As such, he will play half games in the Lightning's preseason opener tonight at St. Louis and Wednesday against the Blues in Orlando.

"It's important he sees some ice at this level," Boucher said of Janus, who last season was 12-13-0 with a 3.06 goals-against average and .912 save percentage in 27 games with ECHL Florida.

Janus will split time tonight with Mathie Garon and Wednesday with Dwayne Roloson. Garon and Roloson will split Friday's game at the St. Pete Times Forum against the Panthers, Boucher said.

ODDS AND ENDS: Former assistant GM Tom Kurvers was named special adviser to the general manager. Former director of pro scouting Pat Verbeek was named assistant general manager and director of player personnel. … The camp roster was reduced to 54 when defensemen Geoffrey Schemitsch and Adam Janosik were returned to their junior teams.

Times staff writer Damian Cristodero contributed to this report.

Tampa Bay Lightning coaches increase workload as Wayne Fleming fights cancer 09/19/11 [Last modified: Monday, September 19, 2011 10:51pm]
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