hit more fairways. make more putts. avoid the hazards. play by the rules.
Casualty of the ‘New’ NHL

Posted on Tuesday 10 January 2006

The reigning Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning have waived the team captain, Dave Andreychuk, who’s 42. He’s been a class act around the league for a long time and it’s a shame to see him go. He’s the second active captain to leave his team this season, the first being Joe Thornton, late of Boston.

Tampa Bay is showing itself to be a first-class outfit by the way they’re handing this. If Andreychuk clears waivers he’ll be assigned to one of Tampa’s AHL teams but won’t be required to play. He’ll get paid anyway.

Here’s what the Lightning GM Jay Feaster said about the obviously difficult decision:

“When we entered into the contract with David this summer, both sides did so in good faith, recognizing that no one would work harder in the summer preparing for the new season than David. At the same time, both sides understood that it would take some time to work through the impact of missing an entire season. What neither side could foresee was the type of game the ‘new NHL’ would be upon its return – a game in which speed and quickness carry the day. After giving ourselves half a season to evaluate and analyze, it became clear to us that David’s game was not suited to the ‘new NHL.’

“[Coach] John Tortorella and I met with David for almost an hour on Monday and discussed a number of options. Once again, the new CBA limited our options. Were David to retire, the Club would be relieved of its financial obligations under the contract. We felt that was not fair to David and his family and thus, in the end, our only realistic option was to place him on waivers today with the intention of assigning him to Springfield in the AHL once he clears those waivers, but not requiring that he actually report. This enables David to continue being paid this season without having to actually play in the AHL.

“They don’t make hockey players like Dave Andreychuk anymore. From the moment he came to Tampa he led by example and he helped our young players understand how to be professionals. There were times early in his tenure in Tampa when he carried the entire team on his back, and there is no doubt that his quest to win a Stanley Cup served as inspiration for his teammates during our Championship run. He will always have a special place in our hearts here in Tampa and in the Lightning organization.”

Class acts, both of them. Here are a few Andreychuk facts:

  • 1,639 games (fourth most in NHL history)
  • NHL all-time leader in power play goals (274)
  • Second all-time in the NHL among left wings in goals (640), assists (698) and points (1,338)
  • 19 20-goal-or-more seasons, third most in NHL history behind Gordie Howe (22) and Ron Francis (20)
  • 1,338 career points, tied for 23rd most in NHL history.

Hope I have the chance to applaud this guy some day.

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