Former Lightning star Brad Richards knows what his close friend Vinny Lecavalier is going through with trade rumors swirling.
Richards, a cornerstone during the Lightning's 2004 Stanley Cup run, was shipped to Dallas last season after spending his 61/2-season career to that point with Tampa Bay. But Richards, in town Monday to play his former team for the first time, said Friday that the rumors are "unfortunate" and "something (Lecavalier) shouldn't have to deal with."
"It's crazy," Richards said. "I think I went through it for a week last year where you have to deal with media every day. It's unfortunate. I think for what he's done for the organization and everything, it's just pretty crazy he had to go through a few days of that. He'll be fine. He's a professional and a great player, and all of (the rumors) will go away."
Richards said he has spoken with the 28-year-old center and captain, whom he has known since they were teenagers, and one thing appears clear: Lecavalier, a native of Ile Bizard, Quebec, would like to stay in Tampa Bay.
"I've never heard him once in his life say he wants to leave Tampa and give up on the team," Richards said. "The people who know him know what's going on."
ODDS AND ENDS: Goalie Olie Kolzig practiced, with Karri Ramo getting reassigned to Norfolk. … Left wing Gary Roberts, who has missed 25 games with an elbow injury, skated with the team before practice. Coach Rick Tocchet said he wasn't sure of Roberts' status. … Right wing Mark Recchi missed practice for what the team labeled "body maintenance."