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Tampa Bay Lightning's Vinny Lecavalier will discuss trade rumors once at NHL All-Star Game

TAMPA — Lightning C Vinny Lecavalier knows reporters will swarm Friday to his All-Star media availability.

Talk about a perfect storm: a Montreal native returning home amid speculation he could be traded and the Canadiens assumed to be first in line.

"It's going to be pretty crazy," Lecavalier said.

The captain said he will talk about the rumors … once.

"Whatever questions they want to ask me, I'll answer, and after that, it's over," he said. "You can't say the same thing every day."

Lecavalier, 28, goes to his fourth All-Star Game playing his best of the season. He has a team-best 21 goals and entered Wednesday second in the league since Dec. 27 with 17 points on nine goals and eight assists.

"You can't hide," Lecavalier said. "You go there and know the questions are coming. It's part of it, and I'm used to it."

LOUIE, LOUIE: Marty St. Louis knew when he called out teammates he would have to back it up. Give the right wing credit, then, for entering Wednesday with a league-best 19 points (five goals, 14 assists) since Dec. 27.

You recall the moment: a 4-3 loss to Atlanta on Dec. 20, after which St. Louis said not enough teammates cared about winning and called some "clock killers."

"If somebody is going to say stuff like that out of emotion after a loss, I had to make sure I was working as hard as I could," St. Louis said. "You can't hide after you say those things."

"He shook some people up," coach Rick Tocchet said. "We needed to rattle some cages. Marty has definitely backed it up."

SIZE MATTERS: Bringing up D Ty Wishart from AHL Norfolk and sending down Kevin Quick might have been about a few inches and pounds. Tocchet said a bigger blue line on Monday might have had more success breaking up the Stars' cycles in the Lightning zone.

Wishart, who earned his first point on an assist of Jeff Hal­pern's goal, is 6 feet 4, 205 pounds. Quick is 6 feet, 175.

"A bigger body, a guy with body position clearing the front of the net. It's something we're really stressing," Tocchet said.

AN OPPORTUNITY: D Cory Murphy played only 47 NHL games last season and nine this season because of two left shoulder injuries. Acquired Monday off re-entry waivers from the Panthers, Murphy, who scored his first goal Wednesday, might have landed in a good spot given Tampa Bay's injury woes.

"He sees our blue line is a little thin," Tocchet said. "Maybe he can fill a role for us. It's up to him."

JUSSI SLUMPING: Jussi Jokinen has not scored in 28 games.

"Frustrating," said the forward, who has six goals and is minus-10. "The best way to try to get out of a slump is to shoot a little bit more and go to the net."

Jokinen has 12 shots in his previous nine games and none on Wednesday.

ODDS AND ENDS: RW Mark Recchi's 1,457th game tied Glen Wesley for 16th all time. … D Matt Smaby (lower body) and Marek Malik (ankle) were scratched. … RW Evgeny Artyukhin served the final game of his two-game suspension for a knee-to-knee hit on Florida's Ville Peltonen. … The Lightning Girls will sign their calendar from 8 to 10 p.m. today at The Venue, 2675 Ulmerton Road, St. Petersburg.

Tampa Bay Lightning's Vinny Lecavalier will discuss trade rumors once at NHL All-Star Game 01/21/09 [Last modified: Thursday, January 22, 2009 3:43pm]
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