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Tampa Bay Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier still committed to team

WASHINGTON — Vinny Lecavalier did not exactly say he would not waive his no-move clause, but he clearly is in no hurry to leave the Lightning.

"I want to stay in Tampa," the captain said. "I want to win with this team."

Lecavalier's no-move clause, part of the 11-year, $85 million contract that began this season, has been a hot topic since it became apparent Boston hedge fund manager Jeff Vinik is negotiating to buy the team.

The Hockey News reported that Vinik, if he takes over, could ask Lecavalier to waive his no-move clause as a way to cut payroll.

But Lightning GM Brian Lawton said Sunday, "No one has talked to me. … I have no plans, and I haven't approached him.

"Vinny has played very well after a slow start, and he needs to continue to play well and even pick it up in the push for the playoffs, so that should be his focus. At this stage, quite frankly, we're sorry he even has to read other things, but there's nothing we can do about it.

"It's a free country … and we respect the right to free speech, but we're not very happy about (the trade talk) when it's so erroneous and baseless. At some point you wonder, where is the accountability?"

Lecavalier's agent, Kent Hughes, confirmed last week that no one has asked his client to consider a trade. Listening to Lecavalier, even if anyone had, it might be a tough sell: "I've been here for 12 years, and my family is here. I love the support I've had from the fans. I love the city. I signed a long-term deal to be here."

ALL QUIET: Lawton said there was "no new news" on the ownership front and the media were ahead of themselves.

"I would say the majority of the reports are, again, it's just people wanting to say they had a story first," he said. "Our team is operating as we have from Day 1, and as I have wished it to be, which is focusing on our on-ice play, and I'm very pleased with how that has been handled.

"All the other stuff, we respect people's right to write whatever they like, but we don't agree with it, and a lot of it is erroneous."

HEDMAN SLOWED: D Victor Hedman, who missed 13 minutes of the first period with a lower-body injury, played just 16:30 in the 3-2 loss to the Capitals.

GREEN IS GOOD: The Capitals were without Mike Green, the league's top-scoring defenseman, who is serving a three-game suspension for elbowing the Panthers' Michael Frolik.

"He's one of those one-man forecheck-breakers," coach Rick Tocchet said. "He gets the puck, shakes a guy and makes a pass, when a lot of teams have to use D to D to center, three passes to get out of the zone. With Mike Green, he only needs one pass."

ODDS AND ENDS: D Mike Lundin had six of Tampa Bay's 24 blocked shots. … C Nate Thompson won 8 of 13 faceoffs and has won 33 of 45 in four games since being claimed off waivers. … F Paul Szczechura, with two goals and three points in 37 games, was sent to AHL Norfolk on a conditioning assignment so he did not have to clear waivers. … LW Stephane Veilleux was in the lineup after missing three games with a leg injury. … RW Brandon Bochenski was scratched.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier still committed to team 01/31/10 [Last modified: Sunday, January 31, 2010 10:08pm]
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