February 2, 2012; Tampa FL, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning center Vincent Lecavalier (4) shoots the puck during the second period against the Winnipeg Jets at Tampa Bay Times Forum. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Beyond the 'C': The Story of Vincent Lecavalier


April 5, 2012; Toronto, ON, CANADA; Tampa Bay Lightning forward Vincent Lecavalier (4) before the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-US PRESSWIRE

 

AGE

32

HEIGHT

6’4”

WEIGHT

218 lbs.

POSITION

Center

DRAFTED

1st   Overall in 1998

Many players who are drafted in the first round are expected to shine. Even more expectations when being selected 1st overall, like this gentleman did. Many players live up to expectations like Alexander Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos. It wasn’t right away when he stepped up to fill the skates of a first overall pick, but he came around after a while. This is Beyond the ‘C’: The Story of Vincent Lecavalier.

Vinny Lecavalier is a superb player and an outstanding gentleman. He is very giving. He does a lot of off-ice work. And on the ice, you better believe he does work. The owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Art Williams, had called Vincent the “Michael Jordan of hockey.” Not many people are called the Michael Jordan of anything, and to live up to that statement is a lot to do. Vince kind of made Mr. Williams eat his words when he didn’t perform as a Michael Jordan, but he has sprung back to show his true colors.

John Tortorella, the current head coach of the New York Rangers, used to coach the Tampa Bay Lightning. When Lecavalier was named captain, he was only 19 years old. He at that time was the youngest captain. He played one season as captain, and then was stripped of his title before his 2001-2002 season. Some conspiracy theories involve Lecavalier and Tortorella butting heads throughout the season. After watching Tortorella on 24/7 Rangers/Flyers, a show following both the Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers on the road to the Winter Classic, he seems like a coach that would pull some strings to cut off players he doesn’t like.

The Tampa Bay Lightning had a great push in the 2003-2004 NHL season. Lecavalier was a huge help in the Stanley Cup victory. Although he hadn’t been captain of a cup-winning team, he showed that he had what it takes to win a Stanley Cup. After an NHL lockout and a few more great seasons, Vincent was renamed captain. This came on September 18th, 2008 and he has remained captain ever since.

Editor’s Corner:

I had the pleasure of reading Dolly Reynolds’, editor of Bolts By The Bay, great articles and her informational tweets. This is what she had to say about Vincent Lecavalier.

“Vinny is a great fit in Tampa. He’s a good leader. A lot of people don’t see his leadership so much on the ice, but you definitely see it off of the ice. He’s a pillar in the locker room. He’s one of the nicest people that I have ever met. When he interacts with the fans, he represents the organization with class and takes the time to look them in the eyes, listen to them, and make them feel important. I’ve even heard him sing happy birthday in French to one. He’s been struggling with injuries for a couple of seasons, keeping him off of the ice for portions of the season at a time. Even when he’s inured, he still shows up and leads the team with confidence. Vinny is a great captain and has a true passion not only for the sport, but for the team. He has said many times that he wants to stay in Tampa, raise his children in Tampa, and retire in Tampa.” This is true. He likes to socialize with the fans. Not to make you think every player is rude when it comes to this, but he does represent the Lightning very professionally and the fans love it. He is a very kind and generous person.

Vincent is responsible for breaking a Tampa Bay record. He recorded a 95-point season, which surpassed the 94-point record Martin St. Louis had held during the season in which they had won the Stanley Cup. He, along with many other great players, appeared on EASports’ NHL 06 cover. Many captains have had this honor, and many more to come, I’m sure.

Everyone seems to have a background story for the 2004-2005 lockout season. Many played it smart and went to a different league. It seems that many players chose the KHL over anything else. Vincent was one of the smart ones.  He, along with Lightning teammate Nikolai Khabibulin and former teammate Brad Richards, went to the Russian Super League where he put up 16 points in 30 games, and scored 1 goal and 1 point in the post-season while only appearing in 4 games. I like players who go elsewhere to play during this lockout. It shows you they have the strength and ability to go find a new opportunity until they get back to normal. He could have just sat around and waited for the NHL to straighten everything out, but he took initiative and joined another team in another league to keep his “schedule” if you will. He didn’t take an extended off season. I liked it when players did that.

Here are two tables that show you what he has accomplished. These tables are for the NHL and the International play.

NHL

NHL Second   All-Star Team

2007

NHL All-Star   Game

2003, 2007, 2008*, 2009

Stanley Cup

2004

Maurice “Rocket”   Richard Trophy

2007

King Clancy   Memorial Trophy

2008

NHL   Foundation Player Award

2008

*This year Lecavalier had the honor of being a captain of an All-Star team.

International

World Cup of   Hockey

2004

World Cup   All-Star Team

2004

World Cup of   Hockey MVP

2004

Closing Argument:

Vincent Lecavalier is a leader. I cannot stress that enough. He won a King Clancy trophy and the NHL Foundation Player Award in the same year. When simplified, this means he is very charitable. In October 2007, Lecavalier pledged $3 million to a new All Children’s Hospital facility in St. Petersburg, Florida. They have decided to name it the Vincent Lecavalier Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorders Center in his honor. In my personal opinion, he has helped shape players like Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos, Teddy Purcell, and even any opponent he has faced.

As sad as it is, this ship has set sail and a new one is ready to dock. The Story of Vincent Lecavalier has ended and it’s time to move on. Join me on Wednesday when I take you to Pominville Island in Buffalo, New York. Next up is Beyond the ‘C’: The Story of Jason Pominville.

You can always reach me on Twitter to tell me what you think about the captain(s). Why am I wrong? Why am I right? I want to know how you like the information I’m giving you. I’m looking for some feedback. Thank you for reading.

@NardoneDylan

Tags: Brad Richards FanSided Hockey Stanley Cup Tampa Bay Lightning Vincent Lecavalier