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Vinny Lecavalier’s impact on current Lightning team

Captain Steven Stamkos and defenseman Victor Hedman considered Lecavalier a role model
Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) celebrates his goal with teammate center Vincent Lecavalier during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Detroit Red Wings in Detroit, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) ORG XMIT: MICO106
Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) celebrates his goal with teammate center Vincent Lecavalier during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Detroit Red Wings in Detroit, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) ORG XMIT: MICO106
Published Feb. 10, 2018

Vinny Lecavalier may be four years removed from his last game with the Lightning, but his impact is still felt with the current team.

It starts with Steven Stamkos, who learned a lot from Lecavalier on how to handle the pressures of being a No. 1 pick, then captain and face of the franchise.

"When I came in, I could relate instantly," Stamkos said. "Both of us came in the same time in our careers at 18 years old, and being first overall pick and just dealing with the pressure. He was great.

"Then obviously his leadership. What stood out to me the most was what he did for this community. That's the special part when you leave your legacy. You look back, not necessarily what he did on the ice – he was a huge part in winning the Stanley Cup, all the individual accolades, which a lot of fans are going to remember him for. But what impressed me the most was his willingness to give back to the community. He was the guy that set the standard extremely high."

Stamkos said his leadership style is a mix between the "fiery" and emotional Marty St. Louis and the measured, lead-by-example approach of Lecavalier. "When Vinny did talk, you knew he had the attention the whole time," Stamkos said.

Defenseman Victor Hedman said it was an "eye-opener" to arrive as a teenager from Sweden and see what Lecavalier did off the ice charity-wise. But Lecavalier will also always be part of his favorite NHL memories, Hedman's first NHL goal, when the defenseman finished off a 2-on-1 with Lecavalier against the Islanders.

"A perfect pass," Hedman said. "I have the puck framed at home."

There is a framed photo in the Lightning dressing room of one of Lecavalier's signature moments – his fight with Flames captain Jarome Iginla in the 2004 Stanley Cup Final. Coach Jon Cooper said he wanted to use it as an example for his current team. It was Cooper's favorite on-ice memory of Lecavalier.

"For a guy known for his scoring and skill, it was a team-lifting play," Cooper said. "It shows the competitiveness and character."

More from morning skate: G Andrei Vasilevskiy will start in net against the Kings, which are coming off a win in Sunrise against the Panthers… Looks like it could be the same Tampa Bay lineup as Thursday with Cedric Paquette, Jake Dotchin and Slater Koekkoek scratched. The lines were the same, as well as d-pairings, with Hedman and Anton Stralman together… Those Ottawa-Lightning trade rumors (Erik Karlsson included) won't be going away, and Senators chief scout is expected to be at tonight's game in Tampa (along with a scout from Columbus).

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