Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Lightning sends comfort, joy to ill assistant coach Wayne Fleming

COLUMBUS, Ohio — When Lightning assistant coach Wayne Fleming returned home from the hospital, he had a surprise waiting: a reclining medical chair sent by Tampa Bay's players and a card filled with personal messages of encouragement.

Fleming, in Calgary being treated for brain cancer, had spent several weeks in the hospital. Assistant coach Dan Lacroix said his homecoming was described in a text message from Fleming's wife, Carolyn, as "the best medicine."

"Carolyn … was so happy the guys sent the card," Lacroix said Saturday. "It was very touching, and it was emotional."

The chair is built for comfort and designed to make it easier for Fleming to get in and out.

Fleming, 61, had surgery in April. He spent several months rehabilitating in a California hospital before going home to Calgary to continue treatment that includes chemotherapy, radiation and physical therapy.

"It's so hard for everybody," D Pavel Kubina said. "He's still a big part of this team. We know he is fighting."

And he is watching Lightning games on TV — now in a comfy chair — though GM Steve Yzerman has said Fleming generally has stopped sending text messages and emails with in-game observations. "But he sounds pretty good on the phone," Lacroix said. "He went home, and he's with his kid and grandkids. The whole family is there. It's like home for the holidays."

1,000 AND COUNTING: C Vinny Lecavalier presented Columbus forward and former Tampa Bay teammate Vinny Prospal with a framed Lightning jersey during a pregame ceremony to honor Prospal's 1,000th game.

Prospal hit the mark Nov. 25 against the Sabres, but the Blue Jackets delayed honoring him until the Lightning was in town. "It couldn't have worked out any better," Prospal said. "This is special. I'm just sorry (injured Lightning star Marty St. Louis) is not going to be here."

Prospal, 36, played 468 games — with 127 goals and 371 points — in three stints with Tampa Bay, more games than with any of the other six teams for which he has played. He has two homes in the Tampa area, where he said he eventually will retire. "We love the area," Prospal said. "It's just a great place."

Prospal's 26 points on seven goals, 19 assists, including two Saturday, lead Columbus.

"I've always said it: He's one of the most underrated players in the league," Lecavalier said. "He's probably the guy that works the hardest I've seen in my 13 years in the league. He's so hungry for success and to help his team out."

MEDICAL MATTERS: C Nate Thompson left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury. ... D Matt Gilroy (lower body) was out. Bruno Gervais took his spot, and D Evan Oberg was called up from AHL Norfolk for the third time this month. "Just in case," coach Guy Boucher said. … St. Louis (facial injuries) was put on injured reserve.

ODDS AND ENDS: Kubina had a season-high 22:31 of ice time. … D Victor Hedman turns 21 today. … Lecavalier is on track for his 1,000th game March 6 at the St. Pete Times Forum against the Senators. … Oberg was scratched.

Tampa Bay Lightning sends comfort, joy to ill assistant coach Wayne Fleming 12/17/11 [Last modified: Sunday, December 18, 2011 12:09am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs-Jaguars: Five things to watch Thursday in Jacksonville

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE — The Bucs have their second preseason game here Thursday against the Jaguars, and here are five things to keep an eye on as Tampa Bay moves closer to paring its roster from 90 players to 53 by Sept. 3.

    1. AVOIDING BIG PLAYS ON DEFENSE

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) participates in training camp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. We knew Aguayo was a goner, and 'Hard Knocks' still delivers

    Bucs

    Tuesday night's second installment of Hard Knocks, the HBO show that is going behind the scenes at training camp with the Bucs, had plenty of interesting tidbits, revelations and insights.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Roberto Aguayo (19) kicks during training camp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  3. For starters: Rays at Jays, looking for some carryover

    Blogs

    The six runs and 13 hits the Rays posted on Tuesday were a positive, but the true test if they are out of their historically bad hitting slump will come tonight and in the coming days as they try to build on their success.

    "Hopefully,'' manager Kevin Cash said after Tuesday's 6-4 win, "there is a …

    Daniel Robertson is expected to make a third straight start tonight, likely at shortstop.
  4. What you might have missed in the second episode of the Bucs on 'Hard Knocks'

    Bucs

    We're back for another episode of The Annotated Hard Knocks, trying to find behind-the-scenes insights and things you might have missed in Tuesday's second episode of "Hard Knocks," following the Bucs in …

    As the crowd recognized him and got loud, Jameis Winston jumped up and down in celebration. [GREG AUMAN | Times]
  5. Why Noah Spence could be the Bucs' X-factor

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE — Noah Spence crouched in a four-point stance, bending low like a sprinter in starting blocks. At the snap, he took one step to his right, startling Jaguars left tackle Josh Wells with his explosiveness. Wells went for the move and Spence countered with an inside swim move, flying past Wells' right …

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Noah Spence (57) participates in training camp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times