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Holzinger in classy farewell to team

Brian Holzinger handled his trade to the Penguins for defenseman Marc Bergevin the same way he handled his demotion to the minors _ with class.

The center was softly critical of the way he was handled by the Lightning, but expressed more excitement about the chance to play near his hometown of Parma, Ohio.

"From a player's standpoint, I was disappointed. I don't think I was ever given a good opportunity to play there," Holzinger said. "As a player, that's all you ask for and you either sink or swim with it."

Holzinger, 30, missed 59 games last season with shoulder problems, and missed this season's first 18 games because of a broken leg sustained before training camp. He had an assist in five games before being sent to AHL Springfield on Jan. 13.

He had five goals, 20 assists and was plus-5 in 20 games with the Falcons.

"I told Brian I really appreciated the professionalism and the way he performed down there," Lightning general manager Jay Feaster said. "If he wasn't down there and a true professional about it, we're not making that deal today."

The deal includes Tampa Bay picking up $625,000 of Holzinger's $1.25-million contract next season.

"I think everyone is pretty excited," said Holzinger, who, with wife Lori, had a third daughter, Molly, on Feb. 4. "I'm just going there to hopefully get back to playing good hockey in the NHL."

_ DAMIAN CRISTODERO

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