Erik Erlendsson covers the Tampa Bay Lightning for The Tampa Tribune.
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Vinny rumors won’t stop anytime soon
Posted Jan 15, 2009 by Erik Erlendsson
Updated Jan 15, 2009 at 04:05 PM
Well, not a lot to report out of this morning. Vinny Lecavalier met with the media, and it had a feel of a playoff game as all local television stations were present. A television crew from RDS out of Montreal (think French-speaking ESPN) as well as a print reporter from Montreal in town to cover what is going on.
It was a lot of the same type of questions for Lecavalier, who didn’t come out and say anything one way or the other. He said basically that all of these things are just rumors and there is no real sense in discussing them. But sometimes it’s what’s not said and looking at body language that tell the real story. And judging by what I saw and didn’t hear today that told me Lecavalier looks like a guy doing some serious thinking right now. He didn’t come right out and say that he has no intention of leaving this community, the he has no desire to be traded. Which means that for the first time in his hockey career, being dealt is a real consideration.
Brian Lawton also spoke today, and he basically said a lot of the same rhetoric that happened a couple of days ago. Reitterated that he is not actively shopping Vinny Lecavalier and he doesn’t envision trading Lecavalier today, or tomorrow or anytime soon.
But again, read between the lines here. Lawton is right, he’s not taking a fax and sending a message out to the other 29 teams in the league letting them know Lecavalier is available. But he is fielding phone calls to see what he might get in return. And just because he doesn’t envision making that kind of deal doesn’t mean it won’t come to fruition. Remember, Jay Feaster said many times that he would not be known as the general manager who traded Vinny Lecavalier - even though he came close once or twice - that’s a bold statement. Lawton made no such kind of a statement, not that he is under any obligation to do so.
I will also say this, for the first time, I get the feeling that moving Lecavalier is a real possibility. I’m not saying it’s likely, just that it’s a possibility. But no matter what happens, it won’t be something done quickly. If the ball is in Lecavalier’s court - and it appears that it is - he will take some time to think things over. This is not a decision that needs to be made out of emotion or frustration. It needs to be calculated and discussed at length.
And until either Vinny comes out and say he has no desire to leave the franchise or Lawton says emphatically that Vinny won’t be traded, none of this is going to go away. And just think of the zoo that will await Lecavalier when he heads to Montreal next weekend for the All-Star game.
As far as tonight’s game is concerned, Steve Downie was called up from AHL Norfolk and will play in tonight’s game against his old team, the Flyers. Rick Tocchet said Jussi Jokinen will be a game-time decision, but he didn’t take any of the line rushes this morning, so my guess is he is out tonight.
Paul Ranger and Matt Smaby did not skate. Ranger will sit out once again. Steve Eminger did skate and it looks like he’s in. Also, David Koci will take regular shifts at defense tonight as he was paired with Kevin Quick.
The lines looked like this:
Vinny Prospal-Vinny Lecavalier-Steve Downie
Ryan Malone-Jeff Halpern-Marty St. Louis
Evgeny Artyukhin-Steven Stamkos-Mark Recchi
Matt Pettinger-Ryan Craig-Adam Hall