A Quick step forward
Since the Vinny Lecavalier thing apparently has died down for now -- Lecavalier has decided he's talked enough and his agent Kent Hughes said the team still has not come to him to say it is actively negotiating with any potential trading partner, a heads up he asked the team to provide -- perhaps it's time to hit another subject.
In case you haven't noticed, 20-year-old defenseman Kevin Quick has been a pleasant surprise in his two games with Tampa Bay. He has averaged 12:53 of ice time and has impressed coach Rick Tocchet with his skating ability and poise with the puck.
You might remember Quick from some unflattering news last year when, in February, he was dismissed from the University of Michigan team for stealing and using a teammate's credit card. His agent, Steve Bartlett, said his client is in a pretrial diversion program that will clear his record if he stays out of trouble during a year of probation. Bartlett also pleaded that whatever is written about Quick stress the positive. Yes, he said, Quick made a mistake, but he is taking positive steps with his career.
"I know this year, every day, you wake up and you realize what you did," Quick said. "You kind of put that behind me now and just take it day by day, just think about hockey and do my best."
His best has been a stabilizer to an extent for a blue line having a terrible time with injuries. As Tocchet said, "For him to give us some minutes was huge."
Huge, certainly, for a team that has decided enforcer David Koci is a good option on defense. Yes, he was a defenseman before being converted by the Blackhawks, and it is a good way to keep him in the lineup. But it still is another indication how thin organizationally the blue line really is.
That is why any discussions regarding Lecavalier, with any team, if they develop, will be centered around defensemen. It is why the team has had interest in the Maple Leafs Ian White. It is why if the Lightning would have finished last in the league (something that certainly won't happen), it would have drafted Swedish defenseman Victor Hedman.
The Lightning's defense has a long way to go. It needs what they like to call a shut-down guy. It needs someone to be physical. It needs someone to spark the transition. Not that Quick is the answer to any of this, but it must be nice for the team to bring up someone so off the radar and get some tangible results.
"It's quite a ride," Quick said. "But it's hockey. You've got to take it as it comes and deal with what's thrown at you."