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Tampa Bay Lightning hires Rick Wilson as associate coach in charge of defense

Rick Wilson

Rick Wilson

Funny the way things work out.

Rick Wilson's first game as the Lightning's associate coach will be in Dallas against the Stars, with whom he spent the past 16 seasons as an assistant.

"It probably will be unusual," Wilson said of the Sept. 16 preseason opener. "But I know one thing, I'm going to quickly dive into my new team. Not to say I don't appreciate everything the past afforded me, but this is about moving forward from here on; new direction, new team, new players. I'm excited."

Wilson, 59, who got a three-year deal and will handle the defense, was a defenseman from 1973-77 with the Canadiens, Red Wings and Blues and an assistant for 20 seasons, winning a Stanley Cup in 1999 with the Stars.

GM Brian Lawton said Wilson, the Stars' associate coach the past six years, "fit everything we were looking for. … He's coached in big games. He played defense. He has a proven history of being able to teach. We looked at other very qualified candidates. None stood out as much as Rick did."

PROSPAL BUYOUT: Agent Ritch Winter said the buyout of client Vinny Prospal is official. Winter's short statement indicates Prospal opted not to go through waivers, meaning he can sign with any team. Tampa Bay will pay Prospal $1.17 million for six seasons to get out of the final three years of his four-year deal.

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

Tampa Bay Lightning hires Rick Wilson as associate coach in charge of defense 07/29/09 [Last modified: Saturday, August 1, 2009 2:28pm]
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