Veteran assistant Wayne Fleming completes Tampa Bay Lightning's staff

Wayne Fleming has known Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman since 2001. They bonded further during the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, where Fleming was an assistant coach for Canada and Yzerman led Canada to the gold medal, and remained close.

So when Yzerman asked Fleming if he had interest in an assistant job with Tampa Bay, Fleming was eager to sign on.

"It was huge. There was no question," Fleming said of Yzerman's influence. "There were a couple of other situations that were arising that forced me to make a decision, and Tampa was going to be my No. 1 choice."

Fleming, 60, joins the recently hired Daniel Lacroix and Martin Raymond, both of whom worked last season with new Lightning coach Guy Boucher at AHL Hamilton, to round out the staff.

Fleming will handle the penalty kill, Lacroix the defense. Raymond, generally, will be in the press box as an eye in the sky.

Fleming, previously with the Islanders, Flyers, Coyotes, Flames and Oilers in a 10-year NHL career and briefly the coach of Avangard Omsk in Russia, brings leaguewide knowledge to a staff with little NHL experience.

"His demeanor is his greatest strength," Yzerman said. "He's a real calm, insightful, smart guy. And he's been through it all. His personality and demeanor combined with that experience is what I think is a great fit here."

RAEDER, JOHNSON FIRED: In the latest bit of housecleaning from the previous regime, roving goaltenders coach Cap Raeder and AHL coach Jim Johnson were fired. Yzerman called both "very good hockey people" but said he believes the organization needs a "fresh start." Yzerman said he will fill both positions as soon as possible.

POULIOT SIGNS: Marc-Antoine Pouliot signed a one-year, two-way contract. The center split last season between the Oilers and AHL Springfield and had seven goals and 14 points in 35 games with Edmonton. Pouliot, 25, has 21 goals and 53 points in 176 NHL games, all with the Oilers, who drafted him in the first round (22nd overall) in 2003. Yzerman said Pouliot will be given a chance to make the Lightning.

Around the league

Canucks: Defenseman Sami Salo is out indefinitely with a torn Achilles' tendon. The team said only that Salo, who had nine goals and 19 assists last season and is a key part of the power play and penalty kill, was hurt "while training." But a report in his native Finland said he was hurt while playing floor hockey.

Stars: Wing Fabian Brunnstrom agreed to a one-year deal worth $675,000. The restricted free agent, 25, had 17 goals in 55 games as a rookie in 2008-09 but just two last season while missing 38 games with a shoulder injury.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Veteran assistant Wayne Fleming completes Tampa Bay Lightning's staff 07/23/10 [Last modified: Friday, July 23, 2010 11:42pm]

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