Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier says he is "very disappointed" about Vinny Prospal buyout

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July

Over the years, Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier and linemate Vinny Prospal have become great friends. So it was not unexpected that Lecavalier would react strongly to the news Prospal will be bought out of the last three seasons of his four-year deal.

"Obviously, I'm very disappointed," Lecavalier said from his Montreal home. "I feel for him. I know he really loves Tampa, so I was disappointed. I always said I like to play with Vinny Prospal, and every time he had a bad year, he came back and had a great one."

That is true. Prospal had five goals in 2000-01 for the Panthers and Senators and came back with 18 and 55 points the next season with Tampa Bay. He had 19 goals in 82 games with the Ducks in 2003-04, and bounced back with 25 goals and 80 points in 2005-06 with the Lightning.

So, after a 19-goal season in 2008-09, during which he was minus-20, tied for fourth-worst in the league, history would say Prospal is set to rebound. But he is 34 and the $10.5 million left on his contract apparently was too much for the Lightning to justify.

"A lot of it is the business," Lecavalier said. "But I like to play with Vinny Prospal. He's a great guy and works harder than anybody else on the ice. he has a passion for the game. He's a great friend , and it's always tough to see one of your friends leave. He made me a better player."

Lecavalier also hopes to have a bounce-back year next season. He said his surgically repaired right wrist feels good, and he already is skating, several weeks earlier than usual.

"You like to be off after a season but after a few months it's like, 'Are we starting yet?' I want to get going again."

As for the team, which has made major upgrades on defense and hopes to add one more top-six forward, Lecavalier said, "I'm excited about training camp and meeting the new guys. I'm very confident with the players we have we're going to be much better."

[Last modified: Sunday, August 16, 2009 4:39pm]

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