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Denied celebration, Modin irked

If it had been up to Lightning forward Fredrik Modin, he would have spent Monday celebrating the Olympic gold medal with his Swedish teammates. That might have meant missing Tuesday night's game against the Panthers.

But it wasn't up to him and the Lightning let it be known he was expected back for Tuesday's game. Every other player from Team Sweden went to Stockholm for a celebration on Monday, including five members of the Red Wings who missed an NHL game Tuesday night. But Modin returned to Tampa Bay.

"It wasn't my decision," Modin said.

Modin called the Lightning on Sunday night to discuss the matter. He never talked to coach John Tortorella or general manager Jay Feaster, but when asked Tuesday about it, Tortorella said, "We really weren't taking questions. We wanted him back."

Modin was told the team, under NHL rules, could not discipline him if he missed Tuesday's game, but that he was expected back.

The Lightning arranged and paid for his flights back to Tampa. He arrived Monday night.

"If you ask me if I'm disappointed about not being able to celebrate with my country, absolutely," Modin said.

Modin said he has been told by some in Sweden that winning the gold medal is the country's greatest sports accomplishment. That's why he wanted to go to Stockholm. He said he understood why the team wanted him back and he was glad to be back. It's possible he could have gone to Sweden and then arrived in Tampa just prior to Tuesday's game.

"I don't want to stir anything up," Modin said. "I asked if I could go. I couldn't. So let's just leave it at that. Obviously, it would have been a fun thing to participate in."

A GRAND PLAYER: Before the game, the Lightning honored defenseman Darryl Sydor, who became the 205th player and 73rd defenseman to appear in 1,000 regular-season NHL games. He was presented with the traditional silver hockey stick and other gifts by the organization and his teammates, including an all-expenses-paid vacation for him and his family to the destination of their choice.

"It makes you just look back," Sydor said. "It's a lot of games. You think back to every time you put on a jersey for games, practices. It seems like I just played my first game."

Sydor, 34, broke into the NHL with the Kings in 1991 then moved on to Dallas, where he won the 1999 Stanley Cup, and Columbus before being traded to the Lightning in January 2004.

"To be around that long and to play through things, ups and downs, and everyday, you come to work," Sydor said. "That's what it means."

Sydor said just because he has reached a milestone, he plans to keep on playing "until they kick me out."

ODDS AND ENDS: Lightning forward Norm Milley was a healthy scratch. Modin ended up not participating in the morning skate because his equipment had not arrived from Italy in time. It did arrive before the game.

- TOM JONES, Times staff writer

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