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Tampa Bay Lightning's Simon Gagne 'slowly getting better,' GM Steve Yzerman says

WASHINGTON — Tests and more tests.

That is what Lightning LW Simon Gagne is undergoing in Tampa as the team tries to determine the cause of persistent pain in the back of his neck and what coach Guy Boucher on Thursday called "unsteady" vision when Gagne moves his head from side to side.

"There's a little imbalance there," Boucher said. "The guy is not dizzy. It's just when there is normal head movement, everything has a tendency to be kind of shaking, but it's not blurry."

One thing for sure, "it's not normal," Boucher said.

GM Steve Yzerman reiterated that it is "almost certain this isn't concussion-related" and that Gagne, who has missed nine games since being checked into the boards Oct. 21 against the Islanders, has been cleared to get back on the ice.

Gagne, who had been confined to the treadmill and elliptical workout machine, also is working with a chiropractor to loosen his neck muscles, Yzerman said:

"He's slowly getting better. … We're hoping in time, and with the work with the trainers, they can loosen it up and this will all go away."

NO EASY DECISIONS: Having All-Star captains choose their teams, as is the plan for January's game in Raleigh, N.C., may sound "pretty cool," Lightning C Vinny Lecavalier said, but it could put the captains in a bind.

"It will be hard on captains to pick guys," said the captain of the 2008 Eastern Conference squad. "There are guys you know and guys you want to pick ahead of guys you know, so it's going to be a tough situation."

Not only for the captains.

"You never like to be the last one picked," Lecavalier said.

Especially on national television. The player draft is to be televised live.

"Hopefully," he said, "everybody takes it in good spirits."

Under the plan, fans will pick six All-Stars (three forwards, two defensemen and a goalie). The NHL's Hockey Operations Department will pick 36.

The four captains, two for each team and selected by the 42 players, will pick their teams as if choosing sides for a pickup game.

"It puts the captains on the spot a little bit," Lecavalier said. "But it's all for fun. Everybody is just happy to be in an All-Star Game. They should take it in good spirits. I'm sure it will be okay."

HELENIUS DUI: Finnish G Riku Helenius, a Lightning property on loan to Sodertalje in Sweden, had a 0.03 blood-alcohol level when stopped by police, the Swedish magazine Expressen reported. Sweden considers a driver impaired with a 0.02 blood-alcohol level.

It was unclear if Helenius, 21, the No. 15 overall draft pick in 2006 and in the final year of a three-year deal, was arrested.

Yzerman said he had no other information, though he added that assistant GM Tom Kurvers and goaltenders coach Frantz Jean are coincidentally in Europe and likely will meet with Helenius, who is no longer a top prospect.

ODDS AND ENDS: The Lightning did not make a callup from AHL Norfolk, though Boucher hinted it would. … The Capitals entered the game without a Thursday victory this season, and 7-0-0 in games in which it scored on the power play.

Tampa Bay Lightning's Simon Gagne 'slowly getting better,' GM Steve Yzerman says 11/11/10 [Last modified: Friday, November 12, 2010 8:23am]
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