Pre-Game Notebook: Lecavalier Brings Back Not So Distant Memories
Speaking with Vincent Lecavalier Tuesday, it was obvious that the former captain had a lot of emotions upon returning to his old corridors.
It was also obvious from both sides of the spectrum that there are no hard feelings.
“When you see Vinny you get good feelings,” head coach Jon Cooper said. “He’s not a guy you see and are like ‘oh gosh I hope he doesn’t see me and then I have to say hello.’”
But it still will be out of the ordinary to see him in orange, especially for long time teammate and close friend Martin St. Louis, who took over the captaincy after Lecavalier’s departure.
“It’s going to be weird,” St. Louis said. “What he’s done here on and off the ice and what he’s meant to this franchise for a long time.”
Ironically enough during a media scrum Wednesday, St. Louis shared the same memory of the two during practice, as Lecavalier had the day before.
“Every time we were at practice, we were 1-on-1 in the corner, we’d be laughing,” St. Louis said. “So I guess I’ll try not to laugh. He’s 6-foot-4, I’m 5-foot-8, it was comical.”
As St. Louis was unable to hold back the laughs, it was a nice reminder of the ongoing relationship these players have with each other off the ice. Yet they still remain competitive once they return to the rink as another close friend, Teddy Purcell, reminded.
“We’ll be ready to go and face each other when game time comes,” Purcell said.
Wednesday morning forward Dana Tyrell was recalled by the Lightning. The move meant that it was likely P.C. Labrie and Ryan Malone would not be returning to the lineup, which Cooper confirmed soon after.
According to the Bolts head coach, Malone may take longer to return, hinting that he may have a chip in his bone after blocking a shot off his foot in Anaheim.
The Lightning have not made a determination if they will use Tyrell tonight however.
“You’re not going to be wowed by his statistics in the minor, but that’s not what he brings to the table,” Cooper said. “If we decide to go with 12 forwards, he’ll bring an energy we need.”
Tyrell, who has spent parts of three seasons with Tampa Bay, did not make the final cut after training camp. Frustrating at times, the center said being through this before, he knew what to expect this time around.
“It’s the same things that happened the last couple times,” Tyrell said. “I just had to play my best in Syracuse and not feel sorry for myself.”
The injury bug hit the Bolts hard, therefore Tyrell had an inkling he might get the call-up and he is just happy to be in Tampa Bay.
With all the injuries facing the Lightning, Cooper along with the rest of the team, has kept a positive mentality that it is just part of the game.
“Not sure what Rob Zettler’s (Crunch head coach) thinking of me right now,” he said. “All I can say is, ‘I’ve been there buddy,’” he joked.
He caught another laugh from the media when he mentioned many of the teams’ ailments have come when staying true to his system.
“These guys have to be scratching their heads,” Cooper said. “Stamkos got hurt backchecking, Malone gets hurts blocking a shot, it’s like all this defense first is taking our guys down a little bit.”
ODDS ‘N ENDS
Going down in the middle period against the Boston Bruins on Novemer 11, Keith Aulie has been deemed ready to go. If the Lightning in fact go with 11 forwards and seven defensemen, Aulie is likely to be the seventh man.
Radko Gudas is expected to return to the lineup within a week, while the prognosis on Labrie is not yet clear, since “tweaking his right arm” last game according to Cooper.
Ben Bishop left the ice abruptly during Wednesday’s morning skate, but Cooper said Anders Lindback was going to get the start regardless. Cooper added that it is about managing Bishop’s time as there is the possibility that he will make more starts this year than he has in his entire career while balancing the fact that Lindback is a “highly capable” netminder.