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Lightning sends Mongeau, Tuttle to Milwaukee Admirals

The Lightning on Monday sent center Michel Mongeau and right wing Steve Tuttle to the Milwaukee Admirals, an independent team in the International Hockey League.

The Lightning still retains the rights to the two players and can recall them at any time.

In return, Milwaukee pays the Lightning a fee. Neither team would disclose the amount. The Lightning is still responsible for paying Mongeau and Tuttle's salaries. In Mongeau's case, he's under a one-way contract, which means he gets paid an NHL salary no matter where he plays.

All other reassigned players were sent to the Atlanta Knights, the team's minor-league affiliate that also plays in the International Hockey League.

Lightning general manager Phil Esposito said the deal with Milwaukee was made for mainly two reasons.

"One is economics," he said. "Secondly, those guys are going to be back. And I'd rather not screw up Atlanta too much.

"Well, it is up to them if they're going to be back, too. We drafted Mongeau because I love the way he plays, but he's not played well in training camp and he knows that."

Still waiting

It's still uncertain if defenseman Roman Hamrlik, the No.

1 pick overall in June's entry draft, will be able to play in the Lightning's NHL debut Wednesday night.

Hamrlik's contract with the Lightning, a deal worth about $1.5-million for three years, appears ready to be signed as soon as the release fee with Hamrlik's team in Czechoslovakia is finalized.

The Lightning has agreed to pay $200,000 to ZPS Zlin. Esposito wants to make sure Hamrlik has a valid contract with Zlin.

"They still haven't given us the papers to prove he's got a contract," Esposito said.

Lanz signs

Veteran defenseman Rick Lanz signed a one-year contract that included a one-year option.

Lanz declined the Lightning's offer Friday night because he did not want to start the season with the Atlanta Knights.

"I was with the Los Angeles organization last year, and I was told I would be called up and never was," Lanz said. "That was in my mind when I said no. But I went home and thought about it, and talked to my wife, and decided that we could live with it."

Tickets available

A limited number of tickets that were turned in by the NHL are available for the Lightning's NHL debut Wednesday against the Chicago Blackhawks at Expo Hall.

Tickets are available at the Lightning ticket office (501 E. Kennedy Blvd. in Tampa), the Florida State Fairgrounds box office, all Ticketmaster outlets or by calling Ticketmaster at (813) 287-8844.

Doors to Expo Hall will open at 6 p.m. Wednesday. A 30-minute pre-game show, hosted by TV star Alan Thicke of Growing Pains, will begin at 7:30 p.m.

The show will include ice dancers, lasers, pyrotechnics and other special effects.

Among the Lightning guests attending the game will be NHL president Gil Stein, former NHL president John Ziegler, Chicago Blackhawks owner Bill Wirtz, Tampa Mayor Sandy Freedman, tennis stars Jennifer Capriati and Jim Courier, Wade Boggs of the Boston Red Sox and Dwight Gooden of the New York Mets.

A happy camper

Adam Creighton was all smiles his first day of practice since being picked up by the Lightning in Sunday's waiver draft.

The 6-foot-5 center was paired in practice with wingers Chris Kontos and Stan Drulia.

"I don't care who they put me with," Creighton said. "I'm just so happy to be here."

Other lines Lightning coach Terry Crisp put together were:

Left wing Basil McRae, center Anatoli Semenov and right wing Martin Simard;

Left wing Mike Hartman, center Brian Bradley and right wing John Tucker;

Left wing Rob Zamuner, center Ken Hodge and right wing Mikael Andersson.

Injury report

Lightning defenseman Shawn Chambers will fly to Minnesota on Friday to receive a new type of laser treatment to ease the pain from arthritis in his left knee.

_ CAMMY CLARK

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