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Tampa Bay Lightning reclaims enforcer David Koci

Enforcer David Koci, fighting the Penguins’ Paul Bissonnette during the preseason, begins his second stint with the Lightning.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Enforcer David Koci, fighting the Penguins’ Paul Bissonnette during the preseason, begins his second stint with the Lightning.

TAMPA — General manager Brian Lawton said he always wanted to bring enforcer David Koci back to the organization.

So when the Blues put the 6-foot-6, 238-pound left wing on waivers Wednesday, Lawton put in a winning claim.

"We always liked David," Lawton said Thursday. "He's a great kid."

Koci, 27, was on Tampa Bay's season-opening roster but was put on waivers, Lawton said, because of a "roster issue," and on Oct. 21 was lost to St. Louis.

Lawton said he told Koci then that he would try to reclaim him if there was an opportunity.

Koci, who had zero points and 13 penalty minutes in five games with the Blues, will report to the Lightning, which is at the 23-player limit.

Koci could have been sent to the minors had not another team also made a claim.

"The big thing about David is he skates well enough," Lawton said. "He can track people down effectively and hit. It's not necessarily about fighting, but being physical."

CLAIMING PROCEDURES: Because the Lightning last season finished last in the league, it had first dibs on waiver claims until Nov. 1. Since then, the claiming order has reflected the league standings.

LINING UP: Coach Rick Tocchet still is fiddling with lines. LW Evgeny Artyukhin likely will start tonight against the Predators with C Vinny Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis. C Steven Stamkos will be between LW Vinny Pros­pal and Radim Vrbata.

Considering Stamkos played so well on Lecavalier's line Tuesday against the Panthers, the move was a bit curious. But Stamkos, who had nine shots on goal and an assist, also showed jump with Prospal and Vrbata.

As for Artyukhin, Tocchet said he has not liked his starts and hopes playing with Lecavalier and St. Louis "will get him going. He has to play a fast game, a hitting game."

FOOD DRIVE: Donations of nonperishable and canned goods to Metropolitan Ministries can be made tonight at the St. Pete Times Forum on the Chrysler/Jeep Plaza.

ODDS AND ENDS: Tocchet said that LW Ryan Malone (leg) likely will play after missing four games. … LW Gary Roberts missed practice because of what Tocchet called an "upper-body whatever" injury.

Tampa Bay Lightning reclaims enforcer David Koci 11/20/08 [Last modified: Sunday, November 23, 2008 7:33am]
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