Saturday, December 16, 2017
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning to honor Lecavalier on Oct. 18

TAMPA — Former Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier was a surprise special guest at Sunday's Fan Fest, getting a standing ovation from the crowd of season-ticket holders as he was introduced.

"It's nice to see them again," Lecavalier said, smiling.

Lecavalier, 36, will get to see more fans Oct. 18, when the Lightning honors the former face of the franchise before a home game against the Panthers. The club won't retire Lecavalier's No. 4, but it will welcome the retired center home.

"It means a lot," Lecavalier said. "I spent 14 years (with the Lightning). The fans, they seem happy to see me. It's pretty cool."

Lecavalier, the Lightning's No. 1 overall draft pick in 1998, played 17 NHL seasons. He retired after finishing last season with the Kings. Lecavalier said he'll live in Tampa full time with wife Caroline and their three children, Gabriel, Victoria and Amelia. "It's funny what Tampa can do to you," Lecavalier said. "Really feels like home."

Lecavalier brought his kids to Fan Fest and plans to take them to several Lightning games this season.

A record 11,082 attended Fan Fest. "This is really a hockey town," Lecavalier said.

Lecavalier said he will take a year off from the game to be a dad. He hasn't spoken with the Lightning about having a role in the organization, though he's willing. "I'm sure we'll do plenty with him in the years ahead," owner Jeff Vinik said at Fan Fest.

Lecavalier's former Lightning teammate C Brad Richards also retired after last season, and RW Marty St. Louis the year before. It wouldn't be surprising to see the Lightning honor Richards this season. St. Louis will likely get a night at some point.

"We are greatly aware and appreciative of the contributions made by Vinny and the other retired players in our history," Lightning VP Bill Wickett said. "We look forward to recognizing each of them appropriately and at the right time."

KUCHEROV UPDATE: With RW Nikita Kucherov done at the World Cup with Russia's loss to Canada in Saturday's semifinal, the clock is ticking for the Lightning to sign the restricted free agent. GM Steve Yzerman he now can "push harder" to get a deal done: "I'm very hopeful we'll figure something out." Kucherov can have up to five days off before joining Lightning camp. It was unclear if he would report without a contract.

VINIK ON STAMKOS: Vinik had expressed optimism all last season that Steven Stamkos, in the last year of his contract, would re-sign. But to actually have it happen was an "incredible moment." Said Vinik: "I told (Stamkos) after he signed, 'This is the second most important day in the history of the Tampa Bay Lightning, No. 1 is when we won the Cup.' To have our leader sign for eight more years, when everybody on the planet knew … he could get more money by going elsewhere, that doesn't happen much in professional sports anymore."

TORONTO — Tomas Tatar scored his second goal of the game 3:43 into overtime, lifting Europe to a 3-2 win over Sweden in the World Cup of Hockey semifinals Sunday.

The team made up of players from eight nations that didn't have their own teams in the tournament will begin a best-of-three final series against Canada on Tuesday night.

Europe will be heavy underdogs against Canada, which has won two straight Olympic gold medals, the 2015 World Championship and 14 consecutive games in best-on-best tournaments.

"This is our chance to go far in a tournament like this," said Mats Zuccarello, a Rangers forward from Norway. "I think we just cherish that moment and this chance."

With Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak (Slovakia), the Europeans seem to have a shot to stun Canada. Halak made 37 saves against Sweden.

The Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist, who helped the Swedes win gold at the 2006 Olympics, stopped 28 shots. He had a shot to prevent both of Tatar's goals.

Sweden's elimination sends defensemen Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman, who assisted on Sweden's first goal, back to Tampa Bay for Lightning training camp.

Canada's Steven Stamkos is the only Lightning player left in the tournament.

Comments
Ryan Callahan out at least 3-4 weeks for Lightning

Ryan Callahan out at least 3-4 weeks for Lightning

When Lightning wing Ryan Callahan took a nasty spill into the boards Thursday night, it didn't look good.Turns out, it wasn't. Callahan will be sidelined indefinitely with an upper body injury, evaluated after three to four weeks, per GM Steve Yzerma...
Updated: 6 hours ago
When you think you’ve got Brayden Point figured out, a surprise awaits

When you think you’ve got Brayden Point figured out, a surprise awaits

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Center Brayden Point is the Lightning’s calmest player, both on the ice and off, according to Victor Hedman.Point’s soft-spoken nature belies his baby face and 5-foot-10 frame. "I’ve never seen him angry before," Hedman said.That ma...
Published: 12/15/17
Ryan Callahan injury makes Lightning win ‘bittersweet’

Ryan Callahan injury makes Lightning win ‘bittersweet’

The Lightning's 4-1 victory over the Coyotes Thursday night still featured the usual post-game music in the dressing room.But there was more of a somber tone with veteran right wing Ryan Callahan's right arm in a sling. Callahan, who got hurt on a na...
Published: 12/15/17
Lightning routs Coyotes for sixth straight win

Lightning routs Coyotes for sixth straight win

GLENDALE, Ariz. — As much as the Lightning has been rolling, it remembered how it lost twice last season to the Coyotes.That included blowing a one-goal third-period lead at home down the stretch, with Tampa Bay missing the playoffs by a point."You l...
Published: 12/14/17
Updated: 12/15/17
Lightning’s Mikhail Sergachev earns more minutes, praise

Lightning’s Mikhail Sergachev earns more minutes, praise

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Coyotes center Clayton Keller is very familiar with fellow rookie Mikhail Sergachev, the dynamic Lightning defenseman. They both were top 10 picks in 2016, Keller at No. 7 and Sergachev No. 9 to Montreal. They faced each other in th...
Published: 12/14/17
Mikhail Sergachev earning trust – and more minutes with Lightning

Mikhail Sergachev earning trust – and more minutes with Lightning

Coyotes center Clayton Keller is very familiar with fellow rookie Mikhail Sergachev, the Lightning defenseman.They both were picked in the top-10 of the 2016 NHL Draft, Keller at No. 7 and Sergachev No. 9 to Montreal. They faced each other in three w...
Published: 12/14/17
Disney-Fox deal gives ESPN control of local cable rights to Rays, Lightning games

Disney-Fox deal gives ESPN control of local cable rights to Rays, Lightning games

As part of its deal to buy a massive package of 21st Century Fox assets, Disney will acquire Fox Sports Regional Networks, which control the local cable rights to a slew of professional teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Lightning.Assu...
Published: 12/14/17
Andrei Vasilevskiy’s dreams are coming true

Andrei Vasilevskiy’s dreams are coming true

GLENDALE, Ariz — Nikita Kucherov’s toughest challenge isn’t facing Canadiens goalie Carey Price, or Columbus’ Sergei Bobrovsky.It comes in practice against Andrei Vasilevskiy. "I’ve been saying, I thought he was going to be the top goalie in the leag...
Published: 12/13/17
Switch to wing helps Lightning’s Tyler Johnson

Switch to wing helps Lightning’s Tyler Johnson

ST. LOUIS — Tyler Johnson hasn’t played very much wing in his career, primarily sticking to his natural center position. But lately, Johnson has been stellar on the right side.Johnson’s assist in Tuesday’s win over the Blues extended his point streak...
Published: 12/13/17
Lightning opens road trip with shutout of Blues

Lightning opens road trip with shutout of Blues

ST. LOUIS — This showdown was supposed to be about the best team in the East versus the best in the West. In reality, the Lightning’s 3-0 win over the Blues on Tuesday night pretty much came down to this:Andrei Vasilevskiy is one of the best goalies ...
Published: 12/12/17