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  1. Lightning

Lightning signs GM Yzerman to four-year extension

Lightning owner Jeff Vinik has said general manager Steve Yzerman is doing an "A-plus job."

On Monday, Vinik rewarded Yzerman with a four-year contract extension. With one year left on his original five-year deal, Yzerman is locked up through the 2018-19 season.

"As an organization as a whole and a team (we're) going in the right direction," Yzerman said. "I want to continue with the process, and I'm grateful to get the opportunity to continue."

Said Vinik in a release: "We are very pleased with Steve's job performance thus far, and I am fully confident Steve remains the right person to continue to lead us."

Yzerman, 48, took the job, his first as a general manager, after four years as a vice president with the Red Wings, where he worked closely with GM Ken Holland.

Yzerman said those years were "incredibly beneficial … until you're in that seat and making those decisions, then you kind of really understand. They're hard jobs. They're hard decisions you have to make. You're affecting people's lives. I've learned a lot and I think I'm better than I was four years ago and even more prepared."

Yzerman's signature accomplishment has been to rebuild the Lightning's minor-league system.

As he said, "The best way to acquire players is through your own organization."

Asked if he could have imagined he would be the GM to buy out Vinny Lecavalier and trade Marty St. Louis, Yzerman said, "These guys are very good hockey players, very important to the community and this organization. These are hard things to do, but things change in this business and that's the position you're in as a manager.

"You have to make decisions and deal with situations, and if you're not prepared to deal with it and accept the results you shouldn't be in this business."

Griggs promoted: Steve Griggs, the Lightning's chief operating officer since 2010, was promoted to president of the team and the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Griggs will oversee all business units of the organization, the team said in a release.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at cristodero@tampabay.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ightningTimes.

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