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Lightning coach: Malone’s charges not distraction

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This Feb. 4, 2014 photo, Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ryan Malone (12) stretches before an NHL hockey game against the Minnesota Wild in St. Paul, Minn. Malone was charged Saturday with DUI and possession of cocaine after a traffic stop, police said. An officer saw Malone’s SUV strike a curb after making a left turn from the center lane early Saturday, said Tampa Police Lt. Paul Lusczynski. After being pulled over, Malone got out of his vehicle, and the officer smelled alcohol on his breath, Lusczynski said. According to the police report, the officer also found 1.3 grams of cocaine in one of Malone’s pockets. Malone was released from the Hillsborough County jail on $2,500 bond. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

This Feb. 4, 2014 photo, Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ryan Malone (12) stretches before an NHL hockey game against the Minnesota Wild in St. Paul, Minn. Malone was charged Saturday with DUI and possession of cocaine after a traffic stop, police said. An officer saw Malone’s SUV strike a curb after making a left turn from the center lane early Saturday, said Tampa Police Lt. Paul Lusczynski. After being pulled over, Malone got out of his vehicle, and the officer smelled alcohol on his breath, Lusczynski said. According to the police report, the officer also found 1.3 grams of cocaine in one of Malone’s pockets. Malone was released from the Hillsborough County jail on $2,500 bond. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper does not think left wing Ryan Malone’s DUI and cocaine possession charges will be a distraction to the playoffs-bound team.

Cooper says Sunday that the Lightning are “really looking forward” to getting back Malone “at some point.”

Malone did not travel with the team for its regular-season finale at the Washington Capitals on Sunday.

An officer saw Malone’s SUV strike a curb after making a left turn from the center lane early Saturday, Tampa Police Lt. Paul Lusczynski said. After being pulled over, Malone got out of his vehicle, and the officer smelled alcohol on his breath, Lusczynski said. According to the police report, the officer found 1.3 grams of cocaine in one of Malone’s pockets.

Cooper says Malone “made a poor decision.”

Associated Press

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