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's Vinny Lecavalier hopes healthy summer leads to productive season

Vinny Lecavalier, working out in Brandon on Tuesday, had 25 goals, 54 points last season.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Vinny Lecavalier, working out in Brandon on Tuesday, had 25 goals, 54 points last season.

BRANDON — For Vinny Lecavalier, the best part of his offseason workout program was it began a few weeks early.

He didn't do anything major, he said, just some extra skating. But given how his past few summers have been more about rehabilitating repaired body parts than preparing for a season, the quick start felt good.

"It was such a relief," the Lightning captain said, "not having to think about healing something."

There has been a lot of healing.

Tampa Bay's training camp opens today at the Ice Sports Forum, and for the first time in five years, Lecavalier comes in healthy.

"In five years?" exclaimed coach Guy Boucher.

In five years.

The center had arthroscopic surgery on his left wrist after the 2006-07 season to clean up cartilage. He had right shoulder surgery after 2007-08 for a torn labrum.

Cartilage in his right wrist was repaired just as the 2008-09 season was ending, and his right knee had arthroscopic surgery in August 2010.

"It just drains you," Lecavalier said. "Summer is a time to recharge your batteries. When you have surgery, they don't recharge."

Lecavalier, 31, never used injuries as an excuse for his statistics, which dwindled from 52 goals, 108 points in 2006-07 to 25 goals, 54 points last season.

Still, teammate Ryan Malone said, "for him to have short summers does have an effect."

"It just throws you off course," said center Dominic Moore, who added that a healthy summer "is a big head start."

The biggest head start might be how Lecavalier played the second half of last season: 18 goals, 37 points in his last 39 games, when, as Moore said, "he tapped into that love of the game. You could see his energy."

Lecavalier credits working with Chuck Lobe, then the team's strength coach, to get in better shape while missing 15 games from Nov. 12 to Dec. 11 with a hand injury. But it took until Jan. 9, another 13 games, before Lecavalier's scoring outburst began, so perhaps other factors also were at work.

"He just really started paying attention to the little details, getting the pucks in and making the right plays at the right time," Malone said. "He paid attention, and he got rewarded."

The question is, can Lecavalier, 6 feet 4, 208 pounds, regain more of the form that made him one of the best players in the world from 2006 to 2008?

And can he do it for an entire season?

"I want to produce," Lecavalier said. "I know if I played the way I played since January, things will come and the goals will come."

But, Boucher said, "the expectations are not in terms of a number of points. The expectation is he's going to be more in shape, more ready to start."

"We always downplay the effect of injuries, but they are devastating. The enthusiasm that comes from the fact that there's no injury and being able to train in the summer the way he wanted to train will be invigorating for him."

For a team counting on its captain, that may be the best part of all.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at cristodero@sptimes.com.

Lightning training camp

WHERE: Ice Sports Forum, 10222 Elizabeth Place, Brandon

WHEN: Today Off-ice testing and physicals (no scheduled practice). Saturday Practice, 10 a.m.; scrimmage, 11 a.m. Sunday Practice, 10 a.m.; scrimmage, 11 a.m. Monday — Practice, 10 a.m. (The remaining schedule is to be announced).

VIEWING: All on-ice activities are free to the public. Parking is free but limited.

Tampa Bay Lightning's Vinny Lecavalier hopes healthy summer leads to productive season 09/15/11 [Last modified: Thursday, September 15, 2011 9:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays vs. Orioles, 1:10 p.m. Sunday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Today: vs. Orioles

    1:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 760-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Pitcher Jake Odorizzi #23 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait at Charlotte Sports Park during photo day on February 26, 2014 in Port Charlotte, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
  2. ABC Racing kennel advances three into semifinals

    Parimutuels

    ST. PETERSBURG — The maiden voyage by Don Burk into the $30,000 St. Petersburg Derby series — his first as the ABC Racing kennel owner — went as easy as ABC.

  3. Bullpen melts down as Rays lose to Orioles (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Jacob Faria allowed his first two big-league home runs and was touched for a career-high three runs Saturday by the Orioles. Other than that, the rookie making his fourth major-league start did okay against the Baltimore bats.

    The bullpen, not so much.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Jumbo Diaz wipes his face as he walks off the mound after the Baltimore Orioles scored four runs during the eighth inning of a baseball game Saturday, June 24, 2017, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) SPD118
  4. Lightning shifts search for defense to free agency

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — As much as he tried, Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman left the weekend's draft without acquiring another top-four defenseman.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101
  5. Lightning journal: Russian forwards top Day 2 draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — After taking a big, right-shot defenseman in the first round, the Lightning's second day of the draft was headlined by a few skilled Russian forwards.

    Canadiens rookie defenceman Mikhail Sergachev with Brian and Michelle Reid, the billet family he lived with while playing for the OHL's Windsor Spitfires last season. COURTESY OF BRIAN AND MICHELLE REID