TAMPA — The Lightning's flirtation with the Canadiens about trading C Vinny Lecavalier might have been more than rumors, after all.
Montreal GM Bob Gainey told Canada's Globe and Mail his team's ultimately successful pursuit of defenseman and power-play specialist Mathieu Schneider was thrown "sideways and backwards" while he talked to Tampa Bay about Lecavalier.
Gainey told the paper the players Tampa Bay was interested in included LW Christopher Higgins, D Josh Gorges and high-scoring junior D P.K. Subban.
The story was unclear about who contacted whom. The rumors broke in early December.
"All I can tell you is I haven't talked to Bob Gainey in months," Lightning GM Brian Lawton said. "Have I talked to him throughout the year? Yeah. But there's nothing to that."
Lecavalier said he was assured by the Lightning brass that if trade talks ever got serious, he would be informed. He said he never received such a call. He said of the episode, "I thought it was all just a rumor."
"They told me they would come to me, and I believe they will if something would have happened," Lecavalier added. "If I get a phone call one day and they want to talk to me, then, obviously, I have no choice. Tampa is the place I want to be, but you never know what can happen in business."
FATHERS' TRIP RETHINK: Fathers of 12 players and six staff members will travel to Carolina for tonight's game. They will eat at the players' meal, get a chalk talk from coaches and watch the game from a suite.
They also had a suite for Thursday's game and have one for Sunday's home game with the Bruins.
"At the end of the day, your family is still the most important thing in your life, and for a player, it's no different," Lawton said. "We're thrilled to be doing it."
There was a blip, though, as the team, Lawton said, was not going to pay for the fathers of staff members. Some pressure apparently was applied by the players, who also offered to pay their way.
Ultimately, the team picked up the tab, Lawton said.
"I called five GMs and asked them what they do," he said. "Four said they paid for only the players and one said they paid for the players and the staff. ... I made the decision to pay."
ODDS AND ENDS: Lecavalier won 11 of 16 faceoffs and is 25-of-37 in his past two games. … Tampa Bay has outhit opponents in 13 straight games. … LW Gary Roberts was scratched for "maintenance," coach Rick Tocchet said, and should play tonight. … LW David Koci and D Marek Malik (ankle) also were scratched.