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Ex-Lightning scout gets coaching job

Former Lightning head scout Don Murdoch has been named coach of the East Coast Hockey League's Louisiana IceGators.

The ECHL is considered a step below top minor leagues like the International Hockey League and the American Hockey League.

"We are extremely pleased to have a guy like Donnie, who has many years experience in the NHL," Ice-Gators general manager Jady Regard said. "Whenever we have an opportunity to link ourselves to the NHL, it gives a lot more credibility to our league. That's going to be a real feather in our cap."

Murdoch, 41, who was fired by the Lightning the same day as coach Jacques Demers, could not be reached.

He takes over one of the ECHL's top franchises. The Ice-Gators have won three division titles in their four-year history under former coach Doug Shedden and averaged 10,500 fans at the Cajundome.

The team, which plays in Lafayette, advanced to the final just once, however, and was upset in the first round of last year's playoffs by New Orleans after a 46-18-6 regular season.

The IceGators were also the most-penalized team in the ECHL, picking up 2,425 minutes in 70 games.

According to the Lafayette Daily Advertiser, Murdoch said at a news conference he wants a tough team.

"You don't necessarily have to fight to be tough," he said. "But we are going to be a tough team that will knock people into the boards and, generally, knock people around."

Regard said the IceGators have been independent the past four years, but recently signed an affiliation deal with the Maple Leafs. He said a second deal is in the works.

"He's a head coach these guys know," Regard said of Murdoch. Regard added that the second deal "might be a result of him being here."

DEVILS: LW Brian Rolston, 26, was awarded a new two-year, $2.77-million contract after an arbitration hearing on Tuesday. He made $750,000 last season when he set career highs with 24 goals, 33 assists and a plus-minus rating of plus-11 while playing in all 82 games. He also set a team record with five short-handed goals.

OILERS: LW Rem Murray re-signed, avoiding an arbitration hearing. Terms were not announced. Murray, 27, scored 21 goals and had 18 assists last season, his third in the NHL. In 221 career games, he has 41 goals and 47 assists.

PENGUINS: D Ian Moran was re-signed to a two-year contract. He played in 62 games last season, collecting four goals and five assists. He'll make $500,000 next season and $550,000 in 1999-2000. The Penguins have not re-signed free-agent C Martin Straka, their second-leading scorer last season.

RANGERS: C Ken Gernander, who had 23 goals and 26 assists in 70 games with the AHL affiliate last season, agreed to terms.

THRASHERS: Atlanta signed right wing Alexei Yegorov to a contract. Yegorov, 24, was selected from the San Jose Sharks in the expansion draft. He played last season for SKA St. Petersburg and Torpedo Yaroslavi in his native Russia, combining for 11 goals and nine assists in 38 games.

_ Information from other news organizations was used in this report.

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