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Underperforming Tampa Bay Lightning wing Evgeny Artyukhin put on notice

TAMPA — Evgeny Artyukhin has been warned. Actually, warned might be too strong a word. He has been challenged.

"He's a great kid, but his … learning curve has to start quicker," coach Rick Tocchet said. "He's had a full season here now; the (trade) deadline is past. He's got nothing to worry about. We need him to get going this year quickly. I can't put it any more bluntly with a guy like him. He's got 18 games to get it."

Artyukhin, 25, had a career-best five goals and 13 points in 55 games entering Friday.

But Tocchet believes the wing, 6 feet, 5, 260 pounds, should have more:

"The frustrating part with a guy like Artyukhin is he should have tip goals or goals around the net or chances every game."

Figuring out how to shoot a one-timer would help, Tocchet said, and the big Russian tried during Friday's skate but couldn't get the hang of it.

"When he shoots the puck, he's straight-legged," Tocchet said. "If he could get a wide base and learn how to bend his knees, he could shoot the puck better and also tip some pucks for you. … He has to be an A- and B-type player, hit, go to the net. … We need a guy like that."

ROBERTS SEEMS DONE: Gary Roberts, 42, is home in Toronto with pregnant wife Michelle.

"He said, 'Would you mind if I took a couple days to figure out my future?' I said, 'Absolutely (do it),' " GM Brian Lawton said.

The assumption is Roberts, a 21-year veteran, will retire. But Lawton said he would welcome the wing back if he wanted to play out the season.

SEGAL'S BIG CHANCE: It has been quite a week for F Brandon Segal. He made his NHL debut Tuesday vs. Pittsburgh, was sent back to AHL Norfolk on Wednesday and re-called Thursday.

For Segal, 25, after six seasons in the minors playing for four teams, the down-and-up was a minor inconvenience.

"This is huge," he said. "I'm going to take full advantage of it and the situation. I've been waiting a long time for this."

Segal, 6-3, 213, said he always believed he would make it to the show. But this callup may be short-lived; it is on an emergency basis tied to Ryan Malone's flu.

NEW GUY, NEW LINE: W Martins Karsums played with C Vinny Lecavalier and Vinny Prospal against the Blues. "Obviously, two unbelievable players," said Karsums, 23, acquired Wednesday from the Bruins in the Mark Recchi deal, "a great opportunity to show the coaches what I can do on the ice."

ODDS AND ENDS: F Paul Szczechura (wrist) and D Marek Malik (ankle) also were scratched.

Underperforming Tampa Bay Lightning wing Evgeny Artyukhin put on notice 03/06/09 [Last modified: Saturday, March 7, 2009 6:22am]
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