Make us your home page

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's injured Vinny Lecavalier returns to practice, will travel

TAMPA — If all goes to plan, captain Vinny Lecavalier will play on the Lightning's three-game road trip that starts Monday in Philadelphia.

The center, wearing a red no-contact jersey, skated Saturday for the first time with teammates since fracturing his right hand Feb. 18 against the Capitals. "It felt a little better," Lecavalier said. "But the strength in the hand is not there yet."

Even so, "when I'm ready to play, I want to play," he said. "That's why I'm joining the team (on the road trip). I don't want to set any dates, but I want to start practicing with the team and get the feel of the game. I want to play as soon as possible."

Lecavalier, 31, has missed 15 games since taking a puck off the back of his hand, breaking the bone next to one that had to be surgically repaired last season.

Lecavalier has 21 goals and 46 points in 58 games and an average 19:04 of ice time, so his absence left a huge hole in the lineup, forcing players such as Steven Stamkos, Marty St. Louis, Teddy Purcell and Ryan Malone to play extra minutes.

That only eight games are left raises the question of whether to just shut Lecavalier down, a notion the player and coach Guy Boucher shot down. "Our mentality," Boucher said, "is every game we want to put our best team on the ice."

"The guys have been working so hard, so as soon as I'm ready, I want to play, even if there's seven, five, three games," Lecavalier said.

WHAT'S IN A LOGO? The NCAA banned North Dakota from using its Fighting Sioux nickname and Indian-head logo during NCAA-sanctioned events, including the national playoffs that conclude with the Frozen Four at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. "It's disappointing on a personal level," said D Mike Commodore, who played for UND from 1997-2000. "I was proud to play for the Fighting Sioux."

But D Brian Lee, a Fighting Sioux from 2005-07, said because the nickname and logo prevent in some cases North Dakota teams from playing opponents who believe the monikers are demeaning to American Indians, it's time to "move on."

"For the sake of the other sports, you have to make a choice," Lee said.

20 STRAIGHT: Alex Picard's goal with 6:55 left in the third period was the winner as AHL Norfolk extended its league-record winning streak to 20 games, 4-3 over Albany.

ODDS AND ENDS: Tampa Bay blocked 25 shots against the Islanders. … G Dwayne Roloson played his 600th NHL game. … There was a big ovation for the USF men's basketball team in attendance. … Commodore, forwards Nate Thompson (upper body), Ryan Shannon (shoulder) and Adam Hall (upper body), and G Mathieu Garon (groin) were the scratches.

Tampa Bay Lightning's injured Vinny Lecavalier returns to practice, will travel 03/24/12 [Last modified: Saturday, March 24, 2012 11:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Crosstown rivals Bloomingdale-Newsome kick off season


    LITHIA — In a week filled with area football rivalries, there is a game on the east side of Hillsborough County — Bloomingdale vs. Newsome — that has matured into a classic crosstown battle, complete with classic cliches.

    Bloomingdale wide receiver Ed Amos charges through a drill a few days before the big rivalry game against Newsome on Friday night.
  2. Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: Several key players still sidelined


    Greg Auman gives an injury update, with several key players still sidelined from practice three days before the Bucs play the Cleveland Browns in Tampa, and a full recap of your favorite scenes from Tuesday …

    Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans was held out of practice Wednesday at One Buc Place. [CHARLIE KAIJO | Times]
  3. Playoff ambitions evident in opener for Zephyrhills, Wiregrass Ranch


    WESLEY CHAPEL — A new football season in Pasco County begins Friday night, but this one promises to be like none before it — with more math than ever. A new playoff system emphasizes schedule strength, making non-district tilts particularly important.

    Wiregrass Ranch wide receiver Jordan Miner catches a pass in spring practice at Wiregrass Ranch High School in Wesley Chapel on Monday, May 1, 2017.
  4. Dirk Koetter says Bucs used team meeting to discuss social issues


    Four days before their preseason home opener against the Cleveland Browns, which had 12 players not stand for the national anthem prior to their last game, the Bucs used their team meeting to discuss social issues that might have led to that demonstration, coach Dirk Koetter said.

    "The main thing is we have to respect everybody's opinion," Dirk Koetter said, "because everybody is not going to agree." [AP photo]
  5. Rookie tight end Antony Auclair making case to stick with Bucs


    Don't let his modest preseason stats fool you: Antony Auclair, the undrafted rookie tight end from Canada is making a strong case to stick around on the Bucs' 53-man roster this season.

    Bucs tight end Antony Auclair (82) collides with a defender following a catch during training camp. [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]