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Tampa Bay Lightning's Vinny Lecavalier doesn't get shot at revenge

Vinny Lecavalier wanted to fight Matt Cooke after all.

The Lightning captain had said Cooke's hit, which last season caused a separated right shoulder that required surgery, was pretty much water under the bridge. But we found out exactly what Lecavalier thought of Cooke's methods when he went after him with 3:37 left in the first period of Tuesday's game with the Penguins.

Cooke refused to fight, though, and Lecavalier got a minor penalty for rouging.

Smart move, right? Get the superstar off the ice for two minutes? Perhaps. But the players' code of conduct required Cooke give Lecavalier a chance for payback.

Cooke decked Lecavalier on April 3 as a member of the Capitals. Looking to check Tampa Bay's Michel Ouellet, who was carrying the puck along the left boards, Cooke nailed Lecavalier, who was skating next to his teammate.

Cooke, who has a history of doing "stupid" things on the ice (just ask the Wild's Marian Gaborik) said it was an accident, though he was fined $2,500 by the league.

Lecavalier, who has said he believes Cooke could have avoided the collision, sustained a seriously injured shoulder that eight months after an arthroscopic procedure still is not completely healed.

That brings us back to Tuesday, when Lecavalier dropped his gloves and grabbed Cooke, who skated away.

"It was kind of a screwed up play," Lecavalier said. "As I first approached him, he turned the other way. I had him and had to, like, try to turn him around and tell him, 'Let's go.' I don't know what happened. We kind of tripped each other. I was hoping he would get up quicker. It didn't happen."

Despite rules that eliminated much of hockey's gratuitous violence, there is still an element of outlaw justice in the game. It is a pressure release and helps set boundaries as to what is and what is not acceptable on the ice.

It also ensures there are consequences for one's actions.

One player injures another. Who knows if it was accidental or intentional? Either way, Cooke should have given Lecavalier the chance, and shown him some respect in the process, to defend his honor.

Tampa Bay Lightning's Vinny Lecavalier doesn't get shot at revenge 12/27/08 [Last modified: Monday, December 29, 2008 3:19pm]
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