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Tampa Bay Lightning makes new defenseman Mattias Ohlund alternate captain

TAMPA — D Mattias Ohlund will be an alternate captain, a move that cost Jeff Halpern the A on his jersey, though the center did not seem to mind.

"He's such a well-respected guy," Halpern said. "It's good for the defense to have an identity or a leader back there."

NHL rules say only three players on a team can wear letters. Captain Vinny Lecavalier and alternate Marty St. Louis are the other two for Tampa Bay.

Coach Rick Tocchet said the move has nothing to do with Halpern, who wore the letter last season and previously was captain of the Capitals.

"I wanted to have a defenseman leadership guy in that role," Tocchet said. "I didn't like having three forwards. But any time we have a leadership meeting, Jeff Halpern will be in that meeting."

"It's a tremendous honor to wear a letter in this league," Halpern said. "But I don't feel it changes the role I have. I didn't have a letter in Dallas, and I felt like I acted the same way when I was captain in Washington. And having an A here last year, I don't think it will change how I act with the guys this year."

OATES ANNOUNCEMENT SOON? Impressed with what Adam Oates has done with the power play, the Lightning is talking to him about a contract. One of the game's greatest passers has worked during the preseason as an unpaid consultant as a favor to Tocchet, his buddy and former Flyers, Capitals and Bruins teammate.

Asked if there is a chance Oates will sign on, Tocchet said, "I think so. I probably have one more dinner with him (Thursday) to see where his head is at. I would like to have him. He's added a lot to us."

The power play in preseason clicked at 24.1 percent (10-for-41), fourth in the league.

"I can see the guys have a bounce in their step when he's talking about the power play," Tocchet said.

ODDS AND ENDS: Lecavalier on rookie D Victor Hedman: "He's 6 (feet) 6 but skates like he's 5-11.'' … LW Mitch Fritz, signed Wednesday, was put on waivers for the purpose of sending him to AHL Norfolk.

Tampa Bay Lightning makes new defenseman Mattias Ohlund alternate captain 10/01/09 [Last modified: Thursday, October 1, 2009 10:23pm]
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