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Cashman signs deal

Lightning assistant Wayne Cashman has signed a contract extension and has been awarded the title of associate coach, general manager Phil Esposito announced Wednesday.

Entering his fourth season with the Lightning coaching staff, Cashman has been with the franchise since its inaugural season in 1992-93. His coaching future with Tampa Bay, though, had been the subject of off-season speculation.

An NHL assistant for eight seasons, including five with the New York Rangers, Cashman has expressed a desire to be a head coach in the league.

He was rumored to be a possible candidate for jobs with the New York Islanders and Los Angeles Kings and strongly considered an opportunity to coach expansion Orlando of the International Hockey League.

"Phil (Esposito) had told me he had been approached by some hockey clubs wanting to talk to me," Cashman said. "In the meantime, he was talking about wanting me to stay here. I said all along I was really in no hurry to decide, and what happened is when I finally sat down with Phil to talk, what we talked about was enough to keep me here."

Cashman, 50, said he signed a one-year extension. Financial terms were not revealed.

The status of the third member of coach Terry Crisp's staff, assistant Danny Gare, remains undetermined. Gare has been offered a contract extension but has been contemplating opportunities in Buffalo, where he played eight seasons.

_ TIM BUCKLEY

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