Lecavalier on board with Tocchet
Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier said Wednesday his hour-long meeting on Tuesday with coach Rick Tocchet was a good one, and that he and the coach are definitely on the same page.
"Tocc is talking to players, he's listening to players," Lecavalier said. "He's telling us things and how to be better. It was a good conversation."
Tocchet wants Lecavalier, as captain and part of the team's leadership group to help shore up a couple of "sloppy" areas in and around the team, including off-ice stuff such as being on time for team buses, meetings and practices.
"It's not like we were out of control, but we can be more precise in what we do," Lecavalier said. "If there's a 12 o'clock bus, be there at 11:55, not 12:01. It's little things, meetings, video, maybe show up a couple of minutes early, things like that, just to make the place more precise; little things that might not look like a big deal but at the end, it is. The way you act in the dressing room and toward your teammates, translates to the ice."
Lecavalier acknowledged that as captain, he has to take a hand in keeping things professional.
"That's what we talked about too. It's not only the coaching staff that has to tell guys to be on time, when the bus is and all the other stuff that surrounds the locker room," Lecavalier said. "It has to be the players, myself as team captain. I have to do that, too."
Tocchet said he liked the way Lecavalier responded to the conversation.
"I've talked to players in the past, I've played with players, you're having that talk with them and they look at you, like, 'when am I going to lunch, where can I get my car fixed?' where as he's actually looking at you," Tocchet said. "There's no question he was absorbing. He understands it. He knows there are some things he has to do better and he's willing to do."
In other stuff: Center Jeff Halpern and left wing Ryan Malone are ready to play and will be in the lineup Thursday against the Avalanche. They played on the same line in practice with right wing Paul Szczechura. Tocchet said Halpern, playing his first game since May reconstructive knee surgery, will likely get "spot duty." ... Goalie Olie Kolzig has a minor upper body injury, Tocchet said. It must have happened in Tuesday's practice. However it happened, Tocchet said Karri Ramo will be called up from AHL Norfolk to back up Mike Smith. ... Right wing Mark Recchi had the day off, so did center Jussi Jokinen with a lower-body injury that should not keep him out of Thursday's game. ... Tocchet said he mostly was pleased with the players' work during three days without a game. He said he it was a good sign no one bitched. "I think they know they really needed something," Tocchet said. ... The coach called the next five games against Colorado, Atlanta, Pittsburgh and two against Florida, are critical if the team is going to have any chance to get back into the playoff chase. "We have some teams trying to find themselves," he said. "We'll see what kind of team we have in the next five games."