Vinny: I'll be ready for opener
Caught up with Vinny Lecavalier the other day, and the Lightning's superstar center, coming off arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder, said he is skating in his native Montreal and has no doubt he will be ready for training camp. As for being cleared for contact and being ready to start the regular season, he said, "I'm sure I'll be ready to play."
The key is being cleared for contact. By the time training camp starts, Lecavalier will have healed for five months. That, according to his understanding, is the quickest he can be cleared.
"Once training camp starts, basically I would be allowed full contact," Lecavalier said. "But the first days I would want to build confidence. Even though it might be good, it can still get very sore. One step at a time."
The steps have been long and grueling since Lecavalier sustained a torn glenoid labrum in what was supposed to be his last game of the season, April 3 at Washington. Lecavalier, you recall, was supposed to have arthroscopic surgery to repair his sore right wrist, an operation Lecavalier's agent Kent Hughes on Monday said is"off the table at this point". Lecavalier was going to skip the final game against the Thrashers. He missed it all right, but after his shoulder was hurt on a questionable check by Washington's Matt Cooke. He had surgery April 15.
Lecavalier said the first time he skated he had a stick in his hand and felt "terrible. It didn't feel like where I wanted to be. I couldn't shoot. I was like, 'Oh, my god, I'm not feeling right.' Not to be able to shoot like I normally can was disappointing."
He said he has skated five or six times since.
"It's not 100 percent, but it's getting better and my shots are getting better," Lecavalier said.
In addition to rehabbing, Lecavalier bought a house he said is about 30 minutes from downtown Montreal. And he recently took a week off from rehab for a getaway with long-time girlfriend Caroline Portelance. But clearly his days mostly have been taken up with rehab.
"With a shoulder injury like this, you do something for the first time and haven't done it in a while, it feels terrible," Lecavalier said. "But the second time it's way better. It's like the first time I did a push-up four weeks ago; oh, my god. But the next day I could have done 10. You just build your shoulder and confidence about not getting hurt again. You have to be careful. ... I'm still getting stronger and building it up, but I'm way better than the first day, so I'm excited."