You could have hardly blamed Vinnie Lecavalier if he wanted to catch the first plane out of Tampa at any point the last two years. Surgeries on his wrist and shoulder, ownership that did more back stabbing than girls in high school or a General Manager that stocked his line with guys better suited for the AHL not NHL.
Persistent rumors that he is being traded, usually to the Montreal Canadians, yet Vinny never complained, he never called out the organization like other spoiled superstars in other sports. Imagine what the fall out might have been for the organization if Lecavalier had been that entitled superstar of today’s generation.
Well it appears that his loyalty to the team and the community ( Pediatric cancer center named after Lecavalier) might pay off.
Enter a hockey icon, Steve Yzerman rides in and brings creditability back to a tattered organization along with a number of talented players. Enter the next “Big Thing” behind the bench Guy Boucher, he will be bringing his energetic and some say “new wave “coaching philosophyto the sunshine state. We can all hope that Boucher challenges Lecavalier like former coach John Tortorella did on a daily basis.
So Lecavalier has a lot to be smiling about heading into training camp. Word is that he will be also reunited on a line with Martin St Louis, along with the addition former Flyer Simon Gagne, he will have the talent around him that he was lacking the last two years.
However, it’s not all sunshine and lollipops heading into the new season. There is also a great deal of pressure on the captain as well. There is were a lot of reports out of Tampa last year that Lecavalier did not play with a consistent effort night in and night out. Some wondered if he still had the passion to be great in the NHL anymore. These are not the kinds of questions a team needs about one of its leaders, if it hope to make a deep run in the Stanley Cup playoffs this year.
So as the team prepares for camp, you could say that this is act two in the career of Lecavalier. Questions will be asked, can he return to the form that won him a Rocket Richard Trophy as a 50 goal scorer in this league or will he be the player of a year ago, who only scored 24 goals his lowest total since his rookie year.
Well time and effort will tell its tale for the 2010-11 season.