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Tampa Bay Lightning not concerned about GM Steve Yzerman spending time on Canada's Olympic effort

TAMPA — Steve Yzerman said he has no concern dividing time between his jobs as Lightning GM and executive director of Team Canada for the 2014 Olympics.

More important, Tampa Bay owner Jeff Vinik said he has none, either.

"It never occurred to my mind that there would be a distraction," Vinik said Tuesday.

"I just have no doubt he'll be able to put full effort behind the Tampa Bay Lightning like he has, and do a great job with Team Canada, too. It's great for him and great for us, too."

Vinik said Yzerman was "respectful" when he brought up the idea.

"We talked about it," said Yzerman, who had the same post when Canada won gold at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. "He was comfortable with me doing it and I'm comfortable doing it."

"I just know Steve is as competitive a guy as you will ever meet," Vinik said. "He, like all of us, is on a mission here to have a great hockey team year in and year out. … He'll do that despite heading up Team Canada. It will not stop him from doing what he needs to do with us."

HEDMAN RETURNS: D Victor Hedman, who played 24:36 against the Senators after missing four games with an upper-body injury, said he was not worried he had a concussion and his trip last week to an Ann Arbor, Mich., hospital was precautionary.

"My head hasn't been the big issue in this case, just some other stuff that was bothering me," said Hedman, who in January missed 13 games with a concussion.

LECAVALIER STILL HURTING: Coach Guy Boucher backtracked on his Feb. 28 statement C Vinny Lecavalier might be ready in 10 days, saying Lecavalier "is not ready at all."

Lecavalier, out eight games with a fractured right hand, was supposed to miss three to four weeks. That would put his return between Saturday and March 17.

"I couldn't say," Boucher said. "As much as I would love to spend time waiting for Vinny … we have to focus on the guys that are here."

MORE MEDICAL MATTERS: D Marc-Andre Bergeron will have surgery today in New York for a bulging disc causing sciatic nerve irritation. The surgery might end his season. … D Bruno Gervais sat out with an upper-body injury. He has been seen with ice packs on a shoulder.

ODDS AND ENDS: RW Teddy Purcell had an assist to extended his points streak to 10 games (six goals, 14 assists). … RW Ryan Shannon played his 300th NHL game. … RW Brandon Segal was scratched.

Lightning might change its AHL affiliate

AHL Norfolk is having its best season as a Lightning affiliate and it might be its last.

The five-year deal between the teams expires after the season and Tampa Bay is considering switching, perhaps to Syracuse.

"I know Syracuse is talking to them," said Norfolk owner Ken Young, who also is keeping his options open. "We're talking with the Lightning. We're talking with other teams. … I'd just as soon we keep it the way it is."

But Norfolk is the southernmost team in the AHL's Eastern Conference. A move to Syracuse would reduce travel time and costs. Syracuse's Post-Standard newspaper reported Crunch owner Howard Dolgon has a deal with an unnamed NHL team.

"No final plans have been made," said Norfolk GM Julien BriseBois. Norfolk (39-18-3) is atop the East Division and on a 12-game winning streak.

"We're in the middle of a great run to the playoffs," Young said. "It'd be nice to work it out as quickly as possible."

Tampa Bay Lightning not concerned about GM Steve Yzerman spending time on Canada's Olympic effort 03/06/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 7, 2012 12:32am]
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