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Defenseman Kurtis Foster said it is a "huge disappointment" that contract talks with the Lightning have not progressed heading into Thursday's start of free agency, especially because Foster indicated he'd take less money to stay in Tampa.

"It's pretty frustrating," said Foster, who can be an unrestricted free agent. "It's almost like they're pushing me to look another way." Foster, 28, is coming off a career season in which he had eight goals and 42 points. He had three goals and 29 points from the high slot on the power play, combining with forwards Steven Stamkos and Marty St. Louis as the core of the No. 1 unit.

Foster said that owner Jeff Vinik and assistant general manager Tom Kurvers attending the funeral of his daughter, Lila, who died May 10 at 5 days old, was "one of the classiest moves I've ever seen." It makes the thought of perhaps moving on that much tougher.

"It's where we want to be," Foster said of Tampa. "My wife and I love it there."

Foster, who made $600,000 this past season on a one-year contract, said he would consider a hometown discount to get a deal done: "I'd probably play in Tampa for less than I would to go somewhere else."

FEDORUK ON WAIVERS:Left wing Todd Fedoruk, who had three goals, six points and 54 penalty minutes in 50 games this past season, was put on waivers for the purpose of buying him out of the final year of his contract. At two-thirds salary over double the remaining length of the deal, Tampa Bay would owe $753,000 of Fedoruk's $1.125 million paycheck, about $376,000 the next two seasons. "Part of the business," Fedoruk said. "Hockey players are resilient people. And they have to be for situations like this."

Oates to Devils: Adam Oates, who was an assistant coach with the Lightning this past season, was hired as an assistant by new Devils coach John MacLean. Today was the last day of Oates' contract with the Lightning.

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Stars 'disappoint' Modano

Mike Modano said he was "disappointed and upset" that the Stars won't offer him a contract and he's leaning toward returning next season with another team.

The face of a franchise that proved hockey could thrive in the South said he thought all along that the Stars, the only franchise for which he has played, weren't planning to bring him back for a 21st season. But Modano said he held out hope they would decide otherwise.

"I always wanted to believe there was a chance of something happening here," said Modano, 41, the NHL's highest-scoring U.S.-born player.

General manager Joe Nieuwendyk, teammates with Modano when Dallas won the Stanley Cup 11 years ago, said the Stars need to clear the way for young players after missing the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since moving from Minnesota in 1993.

Modano said that if he does play another season, he wants to be with a winner and in the Western Conference because he's familiar with those teams.

Predators-Canadiens trade: Nashville sent goaltender Dan Ellis and forward Dustin Boyd, both eligible to be unrestricted free agents Thursday, to Montreal for forward Sergei Kostitsyn, on track to be a restricted free agent.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.