TAMPA — Coach Barry Melrose said star center Vinny Lecavalier "plays the way I think the game should be played.
"He plays it fast. He plays with creativity and passion and courage. And he's a physical presence."
No surprise, then, that Lecavalier on Thursday was named the Lightning's 10th captain.
The move was expected, and Lecavalier, 28, said he was aware of the decision two weeks ago.
"I was, obviously, very proud," he said. "It's something I take very seriously."
Especially considering his history with the position.
Lecavalier, at 19, was the youngest full-time captain in NHL history when given the job March 11, 2000, by then-coach Steve Ludzik. But Lecavalier had the C taken away before the 2001-02 season, when the organization deemed him not ready.
The move was part of the rift between Lecavalier and then-coach John Tortorella.
"Any time someone takes something from you, it's tough," Lecavalier said and added, "I don't really think about it. This is my 10th season in this league, and I've got a lot of experience. I will do my best to be a good captain."
Lecavalier, with 92 goals the past two seasons, said he will lead by example and work with team leaders such as Marty St. Louis, Gary Roberts, Mark Recchi and Ryan Malone.
As for his style, Lecavalier said he would like to lead in the way of his childhood idol, Steve Yzerman, who was 21 in 1986 when named captain of the Red Wings.
"I don't think he was the rah-rah guy screaming in the dressing room," Lecavalier said. "He was a guy who led by example and played hard, and that's what brought the team together. He was a great hockey player and leader. I'll try to do the same."
"I think," Melrose said, "he's going to emerge as one of the best captains in the NHL."