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Lightning's Lecavalier confirms he has sore wrist

SUNRISE — Vinny Lecavalier said he feels "fine." He said his visit to a Philadelphia orthopedist was not prompted by a new injury and he will play the Lightning's final seven games.

But the star center confirmed Saturday that he might need summer surgery on a left wrist he said has developed occasional "sharp pains." And while he did not completely rule out playing for Canada in the world championships, which begin May 2, he said, "We'll do more evaluation and go from there."

Lecavalier said how the wrist responds after the regular season will be key.

"Rest is the best thing to do right now," he said. "If it can get better by rest, that's great."

Lecavalier, the only Lightning player to score 40 goals twice, said his wrists have been sore all season, and last summer, the left underwent a previously undisclosed arthroscopic procedure.

Lee Osterman performed the surgery. Lecavalier visited him Friday for a consultation.

"He said it looked really good," Lecavalier said of the surgery.

As for this season's wrist problems, Lecavalier said, "It hasn't been very bad. … I don't want to get into it much."

HALPERN OUT: Jeff Halpern missed Saturday with an abdominal strain but said he will return, "Tuesday, for sure, I think."

Craig MacDonald took Hal­pern's spot on the second line between Mathieu Darche and Michel Ouellet. For the second straight game, defenseman Doug Janik played wing, this time on a makeshift line with Karl Stewart and Jason Ward.

PRAISE FOR RANGER: Coach John Tortorella said Paul Ranger is "untouchable" on a roster that could go through significant offseason change.

Tortorella said Ranger, 23, out for the rest of the season with a left shoulder subluxation (partial dislocation), was playing the best of Tampa Bay's defensemen.

"Losing him is a huge blow," Tortorella said. "To me, he's an untouchable because of what he's going to be."

And what, with 10 goals and 31 points, he has been.

"He's one of the most underrated players in the league," Tortorella said. "He's a huge piece of our team as far as transition, as far as his stick, getting us out of our end zone, penalty killing. Ranger is more physical than any of our D. He's grown."

ODDS AND ENDS: Defenseman Dan Boyle is at minus-21. "Danny has just struggled," Tortorella said. "I just think he needs a clean state to start a new year." … Left wing Andre Roy was scratched.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at cristodero@sptimes.com.

Lightning's Lecavalier confirms he has sore wrist 03/22/08 [Last modified: Sunday, March 23, 2008 9:43pm]
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