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Norton welcomes change, challenge

When Jeff Norton was dealt from St. Louis just more than a year ago, he nearly broke down crying.

Tuesday, after he was traded to his fifth team in 10 seasons, it seems as if few tears were being shed over the veteran defenseman's departure from his NHL city No. 4. Witness headlines like the Edmonton Journal's "Poor play, huge pay paves Norton's way to Tampa Bay."

Norton, in fact, said he has seen this deal coming for some time, especially after losing his job as a point man on the Edmonton power play earlier this season.

"I've been hearing rumors the last three months. Then they went out and got Petr Klima," Norton said, referring to the ex-Lightning sharpshooter who took over Norton's old job in Edmonton. "That's when I knew for sure something was going to happen."

Norton welcomes the opportunity to answer a question posed by Lightning coach Terry Crisp shortly after the Lightning gave up young defenseman Drew Bannister and sixth-round draft choice.

"Do we put the pressure on him?" Crisp asked. "Is it fair to put him on a power play that has been struggling all year long?"

Oh, yes, Norton said before facing his former teammates in the Lightning's game Wednesday.

Apply pressure, please: "I'm happy about that," he said of prospects for puck-carrying responsibilities on the power play. "That's what I've done, basically, my whole career, and I'm confident in those situations."

As for Bannister, he arrived here with much fanfare from local media _ but after Oilers general manager Glen Sather pulled a fast one.

At a news conference, Sather introduced an impostor named Will McCallum as Bannister. Before the Oilers GM fessed up, McCallum fielded two questions from Edmonton media members who thought he was Bannister. "This is a guy from our auditing department," Sather said. "Geez, I've never seen so many red faces."

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