Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: vincent lecavalier
Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman spoke Thursday morning about just wanting to get the game against his former club over with.
Without a doubt, after a 6-2 drubbing at the hands of the visiting Detroit Red Wings, Yzerman’s Bolts are happy to move on.
While he has continually insisted that the showdown with the team for which he became an icon during his playing career was not a big deal, it had to at least be a little weird for Yzerman to see his Lightning facing his Wings.
Come to think of it, there was a little bit of weird for all involved throughout the evening, beginning with an ovation for Yzerman himself, shown briefly on the LightningVision scoreboard, that seemed almost like a “Thank you” from longtime Detroit fans and bested anything in recent memory from the home crowd in appreciation.
Journey may have fabricated “South Detroit” in their overplayed anthem “Don’t Stop Believin’” but it sure seemed like that was a very real location for last night’s game – and the temporary mailing address for the St. Pete Times Forum.
Two overused hockey clichés, yes, but each applied to last night’s tilt between the Eastern Conference’s top two clubs, the Philadelphia Flyers and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
It was, without a doubt, a playoff-type atmosphere at the St. Pete Times Forum, in a back-and-forth, physical affair that resulted in the virtual tie of a shootout victory for Philadelphia.
And the statement that was made in Philly’s 4-3 win is that both of these clubs are for real, each a legitimate contender when the postseason hits, and that a playoff series between the two would be intensity at its best.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning, NHL Talk, NHL Playoff Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: claude+giroux, dwayne+roloson, guy+boucher, james+van+riemsdyk, kimmo+timonen, scott+hartnell, teddy+purcell, vincent+lecavalier
As the second period of last night’s Sabres/Lightning game was nearing a close, anyone trying to get a jump on writing their game story had to feel pretty good about things.
Captain Vincent Lecavalier was putting together a dominant performance, the Bolts had a two-goal lead, goalie Dwayne Roloson looked sharp and entering the third period with a lead has been a near sure thing for this team, 22-1-1 in such a scenario before last night.
Once Thomas Vanek’s 20th goal of the year cut Tampa Bay’s lead to 3-2 with less than two minutes left in the middle frame, however, a not-so-fast vibe filled the St. Pete Times Forum. That Vanek, a notorious Lightning-killer, started the turn of Buffalo’s tides should be no surprise. That the game got as out of control as it did beyond that, though, should be.
And now, the return of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, with some cameo appearances from other games (so as not to overly depress the Lightning faithful):
Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: dwayne+roloson, fedor+tyutin, kevin+poulin, matt+cooke, rick+dipietro, ryan+malone, sean+bergenheim, victor+hedman, vincent+lecavalier
With the pre-All-Star break portion of their schedule now officially complete after last night’s 2-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Tampa Bay Lightning sit comfortably atop the Southeast Division, second overall in the Eastern Conference and can rest, save for All-Stars Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos, with five days before a meeting with the East-leading Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday.
51 games in the books, 31 to play – before the second season, that is, which is now nothing short of extremely likely for Tampa Bay. (Playoff hockey, folks! And – gasp – something to get excited about!)
Actually, there’s been plenty of excitement surrounding the Lightning all season already.
There are, of course, the 31 wins – second only to Philadelphia (33) and matched only by Pittsburgh in all the National Hockey League.
There’s the 16-4-2 home record and the fact that all but one of the Lightning’s hockey games in February will be played at the St. Pete Times Forum, with ten tilts remaining on the lengthy 12-game homestand.
There are individual performances to consider, namely St. Louis and Stamkos, near the top of the league in goals, assists and points all season long and the latter now in position for “Rocket” Richard and Art Ross honors with Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby on the shelf.
I’ve been stuck in stats mode of late – something not at all uncommon for me when the creative juices are otherwise limited for whatever reason. There’s plenty of material to work with on the horizon, however, as I’ll be traveling to Raleigh next Thursday to cover All-Star Weekend festivities (stay tuned for specific announcements on coverage plans there) and two meetings between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Atlanta Thrashers to capture my attention between now and then.
Before the first of those contests tonight in Atlanta, Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier celebrating his 900th regular season game in Tuesday night’s win over Columbus meant he’d become the focus of my latest number-crunching. The 900-game milestone pushed me to take another look at offensive production throughout his career; this time, in nine 100-game segments.
Of course, Vinny’s been overanalyzed from every angle and by every method imaginable over the course of his career, particularly since signing an enormous, 11-year, $85-million contract extension in the summer of 2008, and these days, the official team stance seems to be that what Lecavalier brings to the Lightning involves far more than just point totals.
To that end, all parties seem pleased this season. Lecavalier certainly seems much happier than in recent years, despite missing 16 games to a hand injury, and the coaching staff and front office has continually lauded his evolution into a more well-rounded player.
The Bolts Beat, 1/10/11: Tampa’s Up & Down Week, M-A Bergeron, Slightly Whacky All-Star Picks & More
In tonight’s episode of The Bolts Beat, the gang reviews a roller coaster week for the Tampa Bay Lightning and analyzes what the addition of defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron might eventually mean for the club.
And, in a nod to the NHL’s unique way of fielding two all-star teams this year, Jon, Mark and Mike create some rules as well in selecting their very own squads.
All that, plus the usual shenanigans after the jump…
I’ve tagged him the Lightning’s “wild card” all season, even before the neck injury that cost him 18 games. After a pointless first six games in a Lightning uniform, it was hard to forecast what Simon Gagne might bring to Tampa Bay this season. After all, recent history tells us that productivity elsewhere may not instantly equate to success alongside Vincent Lecavalier in Tampa (see: Tanguay, Alex, both before and after his single season as a Bolt). Add in that lingering injury – the latest in a career full of them for Gagne – and there is still really no telling what the former Flyer might be capable of for the long haul.
But, for a night, the wait was well worth it for both player and team, as Gagne lifted the Lightning to a 4-3 overtime decision in Toronto with the decisive tally in the extra frame.
Lecavalier remains out for the immediate future, so whether these two end up meshing as intended is still very much up in the air. And, of course, sustained health for Gagne is always a question mark (though, really, isn’t it for all of us?) But if Gagne’s impact on the Bolts last night is any indication as to what he might bring to the table for Tampa Bay in the long run, as my ever-optimistic Bolts Beat co-host, Mike Corcoran, suggests ad nauseam, maybe there really is something special coming together for the Lightning this season.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: pat+burns, simon+gagne, simon+gagne, vincent+lecavalier
In this week’s episode, the gang looks back at four games for the Lightning last week and previews three upcoming matchups and questions whether or not the recent Stamkos 50-in-50 talk was a bit premature.
Also, Mike wards off a horrendous head cold, Mark welcomes back the Whale and Jon keeps one foot firmly planted in (his) reality.
Finally, against all odds, The Bolts Beat crew prevails over deadly, swarming, killer flies. (No, really.)
Have a listen…
I had the opportunity to be a guest with Rob Kerr on Calgary’s FAN 960 radio on Friday night. We talked all things Lightning, including the continued success of Steven Stamkos, the current injury status of several key Bolts, their overall solid start to the season and where I see them going from this point forward. You can check out the entire segment here (split into two parts) or can download the audio files after the jump.
A tough stretch just got tougher for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Already missing forwards Steve Downie and Simon Gagne from their top-six forward ranks, the Bolts will now be without the services of Vincent Lecavalier, who suffered a non-displaced fracture of his right hand in Thursday’s 6-3 loss in Washington and will miss three to four weeks as a result.
Forwards Johan Harju and Marc-Antoine Pouliot are set to be summoned from AHL Norfolk today to help stabilize a now-hobbled Lightning offense.
For Lecavalier, who will miss at least ten games barring any expedited recovery, the setback marks another disappointing chapter in recent history. The Lightning captain followed up career bests of 108 and 92 points from 2006-2008 with 67 and 70-point campaigns the last two years and was off to an unremarkable start to this season with three goals and nine points in 13 games. All this, of course, after signing an 11-year, $85-million dollar contract extension in July of ’08 by former ownership…
Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: alexander+semin, dwayne+roloson, jeff+carter, johan+harju, marc-antoine+pouliot, simon+gagne, simon+gagne, steve+downie, vincent+lecavalier
In the latest episode, Jon quickly puts to bed the nonsense stemming from last week’s show, the gang discusses the week that was for the Lightning, some leaguewide issues (including yet another suspension) and, as always, close things out with the specialty segments, “Mike’s Missed Call of the Week”, Jon’s “What the Hell Was That?” and Mark’s “Missing the Mark” (which desperately, desperately needs a new name, folks).
Filed in: NHL Teams, Phoenix Coyotes, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: dan+ellis, danny+briere, mattias+ohlund, rick+dipietro, simon+gagne, simon+gagne, steven+stamkos, vincent+lecavalier
It’s been said, time and again, that the truly great teams can beat their opponent on any given night with any particular style of play. While this year’s Tampa Bay Lightning shouldn’t be too quick to anoint themselves the NHL’s next great club - after nine games, that would just be silly - the results have been impressive to this point and wins are coming in a variety of ways.
Tonight’s triumph over visiting Pittsburgh was of the comeback sort, with the Lightning rebounding from a pair of first period shorthanded tallies by the Penguins, an early goaltending change with Dan Ellis replacing Mike Smith after three goals allowed on seven shots and a 3-1 deficit overall. While no team wants to get in the habit of having to battle back like that and, surely, it can drive a coach crazy, that the Lightning have already proven capable of doing so gives them immeasurable confidence and should pay dividends down the road.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators, New York Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: dan+ellis, dana+tyrell, guy+boucher, martin+st.+louis, mike+smith, steven+stamkos, vincent+lecavalier
Last night’s tilt between the New York Islanders and the Tampa Bay Lightning won’t highlight any instructional hockey videos – it was ugly, all-around, really – and the finish was marred by what was probably the longest video review in the history of NHL hockey in October. But, though the 3-2 Islanders overtime victory serves as a shining example that, even in a slop fest like this one, there’s some good and bad to go with some serious ugly, I can’t bring myself to go full G, B & U today. (Tried – didn’t work – onward…)
Instead, some random observations:
It’s not as though I’m ever pulling for the Lightning to lose but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to the first Guy Boucher post-loss press conference.
I’ve been impressed with Boucher, who seems to have the favorable blend of teacher, tactician and shrink attributes in his bag of coaching tricks, from the start. He’s been intense all the while but he’d led me to believe that after a loss – particularly a poorly-played loss – we’d see a different side and, last night, he didn’t disappoint.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, New York Islanders, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: dan+ellis, guy+boucher, matt+smaby, randy+jones, ryan+malone, simon+gagne, simon+gagne, steve+downie, vincent+lecavalier
The Bolts Beat, 10/19/10: Lightning on the Road and a Look Ahead, Plus NHL Officiating Issues & More
In the latest episode of The Bolts Beat, the boys discuss the Tampa Bay Lightning’s first road swing of the season and preview the week ahead for the Bolts, Jon’s “What the Hell Was That?” segment brings up an interesting debate on replay, major penalties and the like, Mike defends referees (a sure sign of the apocalypse) and much more.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators, New York Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: adam+hall, andrei+kostitsyn, blake+comeau, brad+richards, brett+clark, dan+ellis, dana+tyrell, dominic+moore, guy+boucher, headshots, instant+replay, josh+bailey, kris+letang, martin+st.+louis, mattias+ritola, michael+vernace, mike+smith, nate+thompson, pavel+kubina, randy+jones, ryan+malone, sean+bergenheim, simon+gagne, simon+gagne, steve+downie, steve+yzerman, steven+stamkos, t.j.+brodie, victor+hedman, vincent+lecavalier
The Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning share a home state, divisional alignment and the perks of leaving their home rinks to 80 degree-plus temperatures on the regular.
Their tenure as National Hockey League member franchises is nearly identical as well, with Tampa entering the league for the 1992-93 season and Florida one year later.
But you won’t find much evidence of a rivalry when speaking to current players from these clubs and, from members of the organizations of years gone by, what once sounded like legitimate hostilities have either fizzled into forced assertions or a longing for the good ol’ days.
It can’t hold a candle to the long-standing, emotionally charged levels of Calgary/Edmonton, Boston/Montreal or Colorado/Detroit.
It’s not likely to ever split households, a la Islanders/Rangers or Canadiens/Maple Leafs.
And, though both teams have had their share of supreme talents over the years, the odds of a superstar-driven rivalry, as in Ovechkin-Crosby/Capitals-Penguins, between the Lightning and Panthers are poor.
But there has to be something there still, right?
Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: alex+ovechkin, brian+bradley, enrico+ciccone, erik+gudbranson, guy+boucher, jacob+markstrom, jay+feaster, martin+st.+louis, mike+smith, paul+laus, phil+esposito, quebec+nordiques, randy+moller, sidney+crosby, steve+yzerman, steven+stamkos, tony+esposito, vincent+lecavalier
Death, taxes and JJ’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly…
The alternative to the standard game recap became a staple of my Tampa Bay Lightning coverage last season and it was only a matter of time before it made its season debut here.
Sure, the title of the regular feature has now been copied by a second-rate Bolts blog as of this morning but the content can’t hold a candle to the original and, hell, you’re here with me and they’re, well… They’re sleeping, I’m sure, on Pacific Time and what not… (Lightning coverage from California? Now that’s insight!)
Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, New York Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers, St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: alex+ovechkin, andrei+kostitsyn, brett+clark, carey+price, dan+ellis, dustin+boyd, guy+boucher, jaroslav+halak, martin+st.+louis, matt+smaby, maxim+lapierre, michael+vernace, mike+green, mike+lundin, mike+smith, nicklas+backstrom, nino+niederreiter, randy+jones, ryan+malone, simon+gagne, simon+gagne, steve+downie, steven+stamkos, teddy+purcell, tomas+plekanec, victor+hedman, vincent+lecavalier
The Bolts Beat, 10/12/10: Lightning Home Opener, Road Trip Ahead, Devils Dilemmas, Wisniewski & More
In the latest episode of The Bolts Beat, Jon, Mike and Mark recap the Lightning’s successful home opener and preview their road trip ahead. The boys also discuss the current (disasterous) state of the New Jersey Devils and the James Wisniewski/Sean Avery incident (how about that? “Sean Avery” and “incident” in the same sentence? Shocker…) Finally, JJ blows his top (again) in the latest installment of “What the Hell Was THAT?”
Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: dominic+moore, ilya+kovalchuk, james+wisniewski, mario+lemieux, nate+thompson, sean+avery, sean+bergenheim, steve+downie, steven+stamkos, t.j.+brodie, vincent+lecavalier, wayne+gretzky
In the latest episode of The Bolts Beat, JJ and co-host Mike Corcoran cover the Lightning’s recent preseason road trip, roster moves made thereafter, NHL discipline issues (including the recent Nick Boynton/Blair Jones incident), predictions for how Tampa Bay’s final roster may end up, fantasy hockey strategy and Jon (of course) continues his New York Jets elation, much to the dismay of Mike and fellow contributor, Tampa Bay Lightning.com’s Mark Pukalo.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Florida Panthers, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: adam+hall, alexander+ovechkin, blair+jones, cedrick+desjardins, chris+durno, dana+tyrell, dennis+wideman, derek+boogaard, eric+perrin, fantasy+hockey, james+wright, johan+harju, john+tavares, marek+malik, mark+streit, nick+boynton, niklas+persson, rick+dipietro, roster+cuts, sidney+crosby, simon+gagne, simon+gagne, steven+stamkos, suspensions, tomas+vokoun, training+camp, vincent+lecavalier, wade+redden, zenon+konopka
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
With all the hardware the NHL dispenses come awards time, why wouldn’t they name a comeback player of the year? The Masterton comes closest, but here’s a vote for reworking the definition of the Lady Byng trophy so that it goes to the player who rebounds after a sub-par year. The Byng doesn’t get much respect as it is currently interested defined - gentlemanly conduct just doesn’t cut it among hockey players generally - and it would create an interesting new category, which this year would feature a ton of potential candidates this year: Ales Hemsky, Johan Franzen, David Booth, Marc Savard, Dave Bolland, Milan Lucic, Paul Martin to name just a few.
Then there is Lecavalier, who actually scored 70 points last season, but was a minus-16, a fairly accurate reflection of his even-strength struggles. It is in the goal-scoring department where the decline has been especially noticeable: 52 to 40 to 29 to 24 over the past four seasons.
For Lecavalier, who was part of the 2004 Stanley Cup championship team, there is more to get excited about this year than there has been in the recent past.
more on Lecavalier…
Before a single tweak to the roster, the Tampa Bay Lightning were already poised for improvement in 2010-11. With the tumultuous era of previous ownership already behind them when the sale of the team to Jeff Vinik was completed late last season, gone in an instant were any and all off-ice concerns and the circus went back to being an annual visitor to the St. Pete Times Forum rather than a permanent resident. With the appointment of Steve Yzerman as general manager, credibility returned to the franchise and new head coach Guy Boucher was widely regarded as the hottest commodity on the off-season coaching market.
Without a solitary player move, hockey life in Tampa was good again.
But far be it from Yzerman to rest on the comfort that fans surely feel by him simply not being one of those other guys. The addition of former Flyers forward Simon Gagne headlines a list of shrewd off-season maneuvers for the rookie GM and the revamped roster could very well translate to the sort of on-ice success that will make Lightning followers quickly forgot about three non-playoff seasons gone by.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Atlanta Thrashers, Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, Montreal Canadiens, New York Islanders, Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: alex+tanguay, andrej+meszaros, antero+niittymaki, antti+niemi, blair+jones, brad+richards, brett+clark, brett+connolly, carter+ashton, cedrick+desjardins, chris+durno, dan+ellis, dana+tyrell, dominic+moore, dustin+tokarski, eric+perrin, guy+boucher, james+wright, jaroslav+janus, jeff+vinik, johan+harju, kevin+quick, khl, kurtis+foster, lady+byng+trophy, marc+pouliot, mark+barberio, mark+parrish, martin+st.+louis, matt+lashoff, matt+walker, mattias+ohlund, mike+smith, mitch+fadden, nate+thompson, nhl+awards, nhl+previews, niklas+persson, paul+szczechura, pavel+kubina, radko+gudas, randy+jones, richard+panik, riku+helenius, rocket+richard+trophy, ryan+craig, ryan+malone, sean+bergenheim, sidney+crosby, simon+gagne, simon+gagne, stephane+veilleux, steve+downie, steve+yzerman, teddy+purcell, training+camp, traverse+city+prospects+tournament, ty+wishart, victor+hedman, vincent+lecavalier, vladimir+mihalik, zenon+konopka
In the latest episode of The Bolts Beat, JJ and co-host Mike Corcoran discuss Dan Ellis’ recent Twitter troubles and the many (over?)reactions thereof, look ahead to training camp opening this weekend, Tampabaylightning.com contributor, Mark Pukalo, stops by again to discuss some intriguing position battles ahead for the Lightning and the boys have a little extra time to discuss the NFL’s opening weekend.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: adam+hall, brett+clark, dan+ellis, johan+harju, martin+st.+louis, mattias+ohlund, mike+lundin, mike+smith, nate+thompson, nhl+training+camp, niklas+persson, paul+szczechura, pavel+kubina, randy+jones, ryan+malone, steve+downie, steve+yzerman, steven+stamkos, teddy+purcell, victor+hedman, vincent+lecavalier
In these early days of the Steve Yzerman era here in Tampa, the consensus opinion on his re-molding of the Lightning roster has been overwhelmingly positive.
He promised a methodical approach and got to work in just that fashion almost immediately, adding here, subtracting there and strengthening the overall product all the while.
Few onlookers, if any, have been unimpressed.
But what has been done under Yzerman to this point, until on-ice results can be considered, that is, has to be labeled with the age-old, “on paper” caveat.
Essentially, Yzerman has shed some dead wood, plugged a few holes, added much-needed depth in key areas and maybe, just maybe, found the spark to reignite his club’s captain’s once-dynamic career. And before we forget, he’s given the hottest young coaching commodity in the hockey world the task of leading these fortified troops to success.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: brett+clark, dan+ellis, dominic+moore, johan+harju, martin+st.+louis, matt+lashoff, matt+smaby, mattias+ohlund, mike+lundin, mike+smith, nate+thompson, niklas+persson, pavel+kubina, randy+jones, ryan+malone, sean+bergenheim, simon+gagne, simon+gagne, steve+downie, steve+yzerman, steven+stamkos, teddy+purcell, victor+hedman, vincent+lecavalier
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning announced today that center Vincent Lecavalier will undergo a minor arthroscopic procedure on his left knee on Tuesday, August 24 in Tampa. The procedure will be performed by Lightning Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Ira Guttentag at the Florida Medical Clinic.
The recovery time will be 3-4 weeks and Lecavalier is expected to be ready to participate in the Lightning’s training camp, which begins Friday, September 17.
from J. Meagher of the West Island Gazette,
Vincent Lecavalier put Île Bizard on the hockey map and now the island is returning the favour.
On Thursday, the arena at Sport Complexe Saint-Raphaël will be renamed after the island’s most famous native son.
There is already a Pavillon Vincent Lecavalier in Île Bizard. The community centre is located next to the soccer and football fields and outdoor hockey rink where Vinny, now 30, played as a youth.
But a hockey arena bearing his name seems more fitting for the NHL star who left home as a teenager in the 1990s to pursue his hockey dream, but still comes home every summer to spend time with family and friends.
As the new season approaches, I’ll be making an effort to preview the Southeast Division in a slow and steady, comprehensive manner. To kick things off, I thought I’d take a look back at last year’s individual player statistics, updated to reflect this summer’s off-season transactions. (In other words, for example, we’ll group Dustin Byfuglien’s 2009-10 statistics with Chicago alongside his new Atlanta Thrashers teammates and their performances from last year.)
In short, we’ll look at last year’s stats with this year’s rosters, both by division as a whole and by individual teams, broken down by position… Because a look to the recent past can often be a good indicator of what’s to come. (Often… Not always. See: Cheechoo, Jonathan.) And, besides, I don’t know that you’ll find a list like this in too many places (at least I hope you won’t… Cause that would mean I spent too much time on all of this!)
To get things started, we’ll start tonight with the forwards.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: alexander+ovechkin, alexander+semin, andrew+ladd, ben+eager, brandon+sutter, brooks+laich, bryan+little, chad+larose, chris+higgins, chris+thorburn, cory+stillman, david+booth, david+steckel, dominic+moore, dustin+byfuglien, eric+fehr, eric+staal, erik+cole, evander+kane, jason+chimera, jim+slater, jussi+jokinen, marc+pouliot, martin+st.+louis, marty+reasoner, matt+bradley, michael+frolik, mike+knuble, nate+thompson, nicklas+backstrom, niclas+bergfors, nikolai+antropov, patrick+dwyer, radek+dvorak, rich+peverley, rostislav+olesz, ryan+malone, sergei+samsonov, simon+gagne, simon+gagne, stephen+weiss, steve+bernier, steve+downie, steve+reinprecht, steven+stamkos, teddy+purcell, tom+kostopolous, tomas+fleischmann, tuomo+ruutu, vincent+lecavalier, zach+boychuk
From Damian Cristodero at Lightning Strikes:
About 100 or so fans were there to meet the bus. As the players got off, the Czech natives (Vinny Prospal, Radim Vrbata and David Koci) were swarmed by kids seeking autographs and television and newspaper cameras. Vinny Lecavalier was treated as royalty as well. As he walked from the bus to the rink, at least six men snapping pictures walked backwards in front of him, all while a crowd asked for autographs.
“It’s special,” Prospal said later in the locker room. “It’s my home country. It doesn’t happen every day like that. I’ll enjoy it for a couple of days. Now I know what Vinny has to do every day of his life.”
From Daren Millard & Nick Kypreos at Fan590—
The producer of the “SAW” films and the television show “Two and a Half Men” joins Hockeycentral @ Noon on entering his first season as an NHL franchise. [Vinnie] Lecavalier enters the conversation with [Oren] Koules and the boys to discuss his reason for signing an 11-year extension to stay in Tampa and on once again being captain of Lightning.
Check out today’s show for some hockey talk out of Tampa Bay.
From Damian Cristodero at Lightning Strikes,
It has been seven years since Lightning superstar Vinny Lecavalier almost was traded to the Maple Leafs, and when I say almost, I mean it. Former Lightning president Ron Campbell, who on Friday was named a senior adviser to the new ownership group spoke at length for the first time about what almost went down in December 2001.
Campbell has been credited with stopping the deal that would have brought Nik Antropov, Tomas Hoglund, Tomas Kaberle and either then-prospect Brad Boyes or a first-round draft choice.
“I didn’t stop the trade, per se,” Campbell said. “I stopped the conference call.”
From Bob McKenzie at TSN,
The final touches are still being worked on and nothing can be formally announced until July 1, but sources tell TSN the Tampa Bay Lightning and superstar centre Vinny Lecavalier have agreed to terms on a mega-deal that will pay him $77 million over nine years.
The annual salary cap hit to the Lightning will be about $8.55 million for the length of the contract, but the final year of the contract is said to be only for about $3 million, which means that if Lecavalier retired after eight seasons, his average salary would be as much as $9.4 million.
It appears the excitement surrounding the Tampa Bay Lightning’s offseason won’t stop after selecting Steven Stamkos at Friday’s NHL Entry Draft.
TSN’s sister station in Quebec RDS reports that the Lightning and centre Vincent Lecavalier have made very good progress on discussions that would see him sign a ‘lifelong’ contract with the club after July 1.
Lecavalier, 28, is entering the final season of a four-year, $27.5 million contract where he will earn $7.167 million.
Original RDS report (in French).
From Damian Cristodero at the St. Petersburg Times,
He appreciated the on-ice structure Tortorella brought in seven seasons as Lightning coach and said, “Definitely he will have success. I don’t think he’ll have a tough time finding another job.”
Still, the superstar center said, there were times last season that Tortorella’s finger-to-chest style was difficult for some younger players to handle.
“He was very tough on young players,” Lecavalier said. “His emotions sometimes made it difficult. I’m not saying that in a bad way. That’s the type of coach he is. He is very aggressive, very emotional and very into the game.”
From Brian Compton at NHL.com,
“Hockey guys are really involved in the community,” Lecavalier said. “Before starting a foundation, I wanted to be established as an NHL player. After the (work stoppage), I said I’m starting a foundation. It wasn’t that easy. There’s a lot of work to do that I had no idea about it. I said ‘I’m starting tomorrow,’ but that’s not how it works. You have to choose what the project is going to be and go and see different people.”
Lecavalier, who is still recovering from shoulder surgery after posting 92 points during the 2007-08 season, was very much a part of the process of this new [Vincent Lecavalier Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorder Center] from the beginning. He’ll even get to voice his opinion, although he said he will leave the final decisions to the experts.
From Eric Duhatschek at the Globe & Mail hockey blog,
A more intriguing story is what will happen next in the organization if and when the Oren Koules group completes its purchase of the team from Palace Sports & Entertainment. The assumption is that Koules will then ask Feaster to replace his current coach, John Tortorella, with Barry Melrose, the ESPN analyst and coach of the Wayne Gretzky-led Los Angeles Kings team that went to the 1993 Stanley Cup final. Koules is from Chicago; he played junior hockey in the Western League, for a time in Great Falls and then in Medicine Hat. That’s the connection to Melrose - that and the fact that because of his ESPN platform, Melrose may be one of the most recognizable faces in hockey south of the 49th parallel, even if he hasn’t coached in more than a decade and the game has changed in so many dramatic ways since he last worked behind an NHL bench.
If Tampa shows signs of being a gong show, how will Vincent Lecavalier respond to ongoing attempts to sign him to a what could amount to a lifetime contract extension? He might just ask that negotiations be put off until everything settles out between the old and new ownership groups and he can see how the front-office shapes up.
From Sports Network,
Lecavalier returned to Tampa on Friday to undergo further diagnostic testing by team physician Dr. Ira Guttentag. The evaluation revealed that Lecavalier suffered damage to the Glenoid Labrum of the right shoulder and will require surgery.
He is expected to make a full recovery in 12-15 weeks following the procedure, which will be scheduled in the near future.
“While I’m disappointed to be facing surgery at this time, I’m looking forward to working hard during the summer to be ready for training camp in September,” Lecavalier said.
NEW YORK (Jan. 17, 2008)—Right wing Jarome Iginla of the Calgary Flames and center Vincent Lecavalier of the Tampa Bay Lightning have been named team captains for the 2008 NHL All-Star Game, Sunday, Jan. 27 at Philips Arena in Atlanta (6 p.m. ET, VERSUS, CBC, RDS, NHL Radio), the National Hockey League announced today.
Iginla, making his fourth career All-Star game appearance, will lead the Western Conference. Lecavalier, skating in his third All-Star Game, will represent the East. Each player, on-pace to record a career-high scoring total this season, was voted to the starting lineups in All-Star fan balloting.
From the CP,
ART ROSS: When Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby picked up his first Art Ross Trophy last season it was widely believed that it would be the first of many consecutive NHL scoring championships for the 20-year-old superstar. And that’s not to say he won’t end up winning it again this season, because he wasn’t that far away when the league hit its official halfway point over the weekend.
But kudos to Tampa Bay Lightning centre Vincent Lecavalier, who led the league in points for much of the first half. He’s en route to a career season and has sparked some healthy debate about whether he, not Crosby, is the top player in the game right now.
more… including storylines to watch for in the 2nd half of the season
Great between-the-legs move by Lecavalier last night.
Watch the goal…
from Damien Cox at ESPN,
It’s a classic example of how enamored NHL clubs can be of teenage players one moment, and how anxious they can be to dump the same players soon after.
And how there’s absolutely no guarantee that young players pressed into NHL service before their 20th birthdays are so talented that they’ll turn into stars like Sidney Crosby, or so hastily promoted that they’ll end up enormous busts like Alexandre Daigle.
The truth is, it usually takes years for either scenario to play out.
Both Vincent Lecavalier and Nik Antropov, you may recall, were drafted into the NHL the same year (1998), one a Quebec-born Canadian and the other a prodigy from the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan.
from Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette,
And as much fun as it may be to speculate about trades that would bring Vincent Lecavalier to Montreal, the simple truth is that Lecavalier doesn’t want to play here. Pity, because he is a fair modern imitation of Jean Béliveau. The goal he scored on a knuckler last night was his 20th of the season to go with 26 assists.
Forget that fellow Sidney What’s-his-name: If we’re choosing sides for a little shinny, Vinny is our first pick. Any game that includes Lecavalier, Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis should have more sizzle than last night’s rather humdrum affair.
more on the Canadiens…
Goaltenders Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks, Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils and Niklas Backstrom of the Minnesota Wild have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending December 2.
Atlanta Thrashers left wing Ilya Kovalchuk, Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo and Tampa Bay Lightning center Vincent Lecavalier have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for November.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Nowadays, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more complete player. He scores, he sets up plays, he leads and he fights too. Lecavalier had a memorable scrap with the Calgary Flames’ Jarome Iginla in the 2004 Stanley Cup final, and held his own against one of the strongest players in the league. Last month, amid Tampa’s struggles, he fought in back-to-back games — against the Washington Capitals’ Shaone Morrison, in which he received a penalty for instigating the fight; and then the next night, against the Philadelphia Flyers’ Scott Hartnell. As most players will attest, when a team’s best player is also prepared to do some of the dirty work, it can lift a team’s morale right out of the gutter.
LECAVALIER, NABOKOV AND ERAT NAMED NHL ‘THREE STARS’ OF THE WEEK
FIRST STAR—VINCENT LECAVALIER, C, TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
Lecavalier earned the NHL’s First Star award for the second consecutive week, leading the League in scoring with eight points (four goals, four assists) in just two games. Lecavalier tied a career high with five points (three goals, two assists) in a 6-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes Nov. 14, also matching franchise records for points in a period (2-2—4 in the second period) and single-game plus-minus (+5). He notched three points (one goal, two assists) in a 5-2 victory over the Washington Capitals Nov. 16, setting a franchise mark by tallying multiple points in his seventh consecutive game (6-13—19). Lecavalier has moved into first place in the NHL scoring race with 32 points (13 goals, 19 assists), two ahead of Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg (14-16—30) and Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby (11-19—30). The Lightning (10-8-1, 21 points) carry a five-game winning streak into tonight’s contest at Atlanta.
via the St. Peterburg Times,
Pat Burns considers it fortunate that, living in Port Charlotte, he regularly attends Lightning games at the St. Pete Times Forum.
Watching Vinny Lecavalier turn into a superstar hasn’t been bad either, the former Devils coach said, and Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over the Hurricanes confirmed what he long has believed.
“If I was to start a hockey franchise and I had the first pick overall, I’d take Vinny,” Burns said. “I’ve said he is the top player in the NHL.”
from the St. Peterburg Times,
Here in the prime of Vincent Lecavalier, let it be agreed there is more to the man than any one of us had reason to suspect.
He is bigger than he has ever been. He is better. There is more strength to him than before, more character, more impact. He has blossomed into a man of a substance. He has developed into something special.
It is true of Lecavalier, player.
It is also true of Lecavalier, person.
Tampa Bay Lightning forward Vincent Lecavalier, Phoenix Coyotes forward Steven Reinprecht and San Jose Sharks forward Jeremy Roenick have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending November 11.
Vincent Lecavalier participated in an NHL tele-conference today…
Q. Do you ever reflect back on the lockout and did it spoil the momentum of Tampa? Do you think if there had been no lockout, you might have picked up where you left off?
VINCENT LECAVALIER: Well, obviously we had it broken a little bit. Because after you’ve won a Cup, you’re excited to come back into the season. I had to go play in Russia. Guys were playing in Europe. Some guys weren’t playing at all. Yeah, I think it definitely didn’t help. But there’s no excuse for anything. Everybody started again after that, the next year after that, so..