Inured Tampa Bay Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier "hoping" to return late next week
If there are no hitches, it sounds as if Tampa Bay Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier could be back in the lineup late next week. The center will miss his 11th game tonight against the Bruins because of a fractured right hand sustained Feb. 18 against the Capitals.
"I'm hoping," Lecavalier said. "I want to play as soon as soon as possible but I have to be smart, too."
That's because the broken bone is next to the one broken last season on which Lecavalier had surgery. No surgery was required on the bone currently broken. But Lecavalier said he has taken MRI exams and CT scans every 10-12 days to monitor how the it is healing.
Lecavalier said all indications are things are going in the right direction, though he still cannot stick-handle or shoot -- "I tried it with a puck and it didn't feel too good, still" -- he said he hopes to be doing both by the end of this week.
"Hopefully, I'll be able to stick-handle and shoot and get another MRI and a CT scan and see where things are at and go from there," Lecavalier said.
Other stuff from the morning skate: As expected Dustin Tokarski gets the start in net tonight against the Bruins. ... Sounds as if Marty Turco will be in net for Boston. ... Lightning defenseman Keith Aulie has played five games since he was acquired from the Maple Leafs at the trade deadline. He has no points and is plus-1 with nine penalty minutes while averaging 9:50 of ice time. In 17 games with Toronto, he averaged 16:07. "He’s doing fine," coach Guy Boucher said. "We’re expecting him to get some ice time and learn and that’s what he’s been doing. He’s been physical and uses his reach defensively. But he's a youngster and a guy who doesn’t have a lot of NHL experience and. We got him to groom him, just like we did with (Victor) Hedman." Added Aulie: "I'm getting better every game. I'm not playing a whole bunch yet; just trying to chip in when I can and help the team out." Aulie said his biggest adjustment from Toronto has been "getting used to the system, being in different spots and getting used to the little things the coach wants you to do." ... Boucher said defenseman Bruno Gervais (shoulder) is "pretty close" to returning.