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The Hockey News

The Hockey News

The Tampa Bay Lightning are basement-dwelling doormats in the Eastern Conference, yet haven’t made any moves – trades, management shuffles or otherwise – all season long.

But that may soon change, according to one NHL agent who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“They’re a mess, obviously,” the agent told Tuesday. “They’re paying (Brad) Richards nearly $8 million a year to be their second line center, and (Marc) Denis is making almost $3 million (per season) to not play goal for them. That’s more than 10 large for two guys who aren’t making a difference, and I think management realizes they can’t keep going on like that.”

The agent, who said Richards is “absolutely in play” in the days leading up to the Feb. 26 trade deadline, expects Tampa Bay’s incoming ownership to try hard to retain the services of blueliner Dan Boyle and believes the franchise may still try and re-sign Vinny Prospal, if the winger’s contract demands don’t stretch the boundaries of credulity.

• Speaking of the Lightning – a retired NHLer and one-time assistant coach weighed in Tuesday on the Bolts’ need for a coaching change.

“It’s clear that team has stopped listening to (John) Tortorella,” the former player, who asked that his name not be used, told “And that’s not saying Torts has forgotten how to coach. But guys who use his (hard-edged) style only have a limited shelf life. Look at Bob Hartley and the Thrashers; there’s a totally accomplished guy, a Stanley Cup winner, but the Atlanta (players) had enough of him after a while, and there was nothing he could do to get them back.

“Torts is the same type of coach. I think, like Bob, he’ll eventually be successful working somewhere else again. But it won’t be in Tampa.”

Adam Proteau is The Hockey News' online columnist and a regular contributor to His blog appears Mondays and Wednesdays, his Ask Adam feature appears Tuesdays and Fridays, and his column, Screen Shots, appears Thursdays.

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