Vinny steps on ice, falls, saves his peach
Lightning superstar Vinny Lecavalier came out of the locker room Thursday to take his first skate at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon in preparation for training camp, took one step onto the ice and fell flat on his face. Went down like someone had tripped him. Actually, he tripped himself. (We didn't get a picture of that, but we do have the one at the left of Lecavalier skating during his workout, though it kind of looks like he's falling.)
Anyway, back to the story. Lecavalier had forgotten to take the skate guard off his left skate, so when he hit the ice, he wasn't skating but immediately falling.
"As I started walking on the ice, I was ,like, 'Oh, no,' " Lecavalier said later in the locker room. "When I put my skates on, I saw them and said, 'Oh,' and took one off. And I started talking to somebody else. I forgot about my left one."
Like a true athlete, though, Lecavalier was able to keep hold of the peach he was eating in his right hand.
"I made sure," he said, "that peach didn't hit the ice."
On a more important note, Lecavalier met Wednesday with noted orthopedist James Andrews, who did the arthroscopic surgery on Lecavalier's right shoulder to repair a torn labrum. Lecavalier said Andrews is pleased with his progress, though he has not been cleared for contact.
Defenseman Paul Ranger, who also had surgery on his right shoulder by Andrews to fix a torn labrum, said he is in the same situation.
"I'm taking it step by step," Ranger said. "It's just a matter of strength and getting my confidence back."
Said Lecavalier: "I still have to build my strength, and there's still a range of motion I'd like to get. You want to get 100 percent range back and I'm going to get that day by day by playing here and reaching with my stick. That's still a little weak, but every time I go on the ice, that feels a lot better."
Lecavalier generally does not show up this early before camp, but said his rehab dictated he keep team trainer Tommy Mulligan up to speed.
"I wanted to be here and meet with Tommy and get back into the season routine," Lecavalier said. "I'm sure the team wants to get a look at me, too. I want to be here. I want to be with the guys."
Probably a good idea considering the roster turnover.
"It's great. It's fun," Lecavalier said. "Guys I played against for a long time, now I'm playing with them. It's exciting."
Others skating Thursday were goalies Mike Smith and Olaf Kolzig, forwards Mark Recchi and Chris Gratton and Ranger. Joining them were former Lightning players Brad Richards and Nolan Pratt.
Richards said he is "excited as hell" for next season. He said he enjoyed last season's playoff run with the Stars but not as much as if he had been part of the team for the entire season.
"Now I know why guys don't like being rental players," he said.