Vincent Lecavalier

Video: Vincent Lecavalier enjoys Tampa Bay’s return to playoff relevance

A lot of people want to see Vincent Lecavalier return to the form that made him a 108-point player in 2006-07 and a 92-point guy in 07-08. The Tampa Bay Lightning might rank on top of that list considering the staggering amount of money* they’ll pay him through 2019-20 (barring a trade or retirement).

It seems like the true Lecavalier is the one we’ve seen during the last few years, though. Injuries shortened his 2010-11 regular season, but his 54 points in 65 games followed the pace he achieved during healthier seasons in 09-10 (70 points) and 08-09 (67 points).

Such productivity might be unsatisfying considering his enormous pay checks – especially after Steven Stamkos gets a huge raise this summer as a restricted free agent – but the team’s patience with Lecavalier is paying off in the 2011 playoffs. The large, talented captain of the Bolts is tied with his teammate Martin St. Louis and two other players for second place in playoff points with 17 in 15 games played.

That’s the kind of output you hope to see from your highly paid captain in the games that matter the most. Honestly, these impressive results are reminiscent of the kind of run Lecavalier, St. Louis and the 2004 Stanley Cup-winning Lightning produced seven years ago. Tampa Bay’s franchise has gone through some serious lows since then, with Lecavalier feeling some serious heat in that span.

Those bitter moments probably make the triumphant times that much sweeter, though. Lecavalier discusses his journey in the video below.

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* – Lecavalier’s contract calls for a $10 million annual salary through 2015-16, followed by $8.5 million in 16-17, $4 million in 17-18, $1.5 million in 18-19 and $1 million in 19-20. Yikes.

Add Lecavalier to list of expensive Flyers healthy scratches

Vincent Lecavalier
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Are the Philadelphia Flyers aiming for some sort of record when it comes to expensive (potential) healthy scratches?

While lineups are obviously subject to change, notes that Vincent Lecavalier appears to be among a rather rich group of Flyers who are expected to sit during their season-opener.

Also likely to be in street clothes: Sam Gagner and Luke Schenn.

That’s $11.3 million in cap space rotting on the bench, and that’s only counting what the Flyers are paying Gagner.

“I really don’t know what to say,” Lecavalier said. “I’ll practice hard and be ready when they call me up.”

The quotes from Lecavalier, Gagner and Schenn only get sadder from there, a reminder that there are human beings attached to these numbers – whether you focus on disappointing stats or bloated salaries.

Flyers fans with the urge to reach for an Alka-Setzler can at least take some comfort in knowing that the team will see $6.8 million in savings after this season, as both Gagner and Schenn are on expiring deals.

It could be a long season, though, and this Lecavalier headache may not truly end until his contract expires following the 2017-18 campaign.

Video: NHL drops hammer, suspends Torres for 41 games


One of the NHL’s most notorious hitters has been tagged by the league.

On Monday, the Department of Player Safety announced that San Jose forward Raffi Torres has been suspended 41 games — half of the regular season — for an illegal check to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.

The length of Torres’ suspension is a combination of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ history of delivering hits to the heads of opposing players, including Jordan Eberle, Jarret Stoll, Nate Prosser and Marian Hossa.

“Torres has repeatedly violated league playing rules,” the Department of Player Safety explained. “And has been sanctioned multiple times for similar infractions.”

The league also noted that Torres has been warned, fined, or suspended on nine occasions over the course of his career, “the majority of which have involved a hit to an opponent’s head.”

“Same player every year,” Ducks forward Ryan Kesler said following the hit on Silfverberg. “I played with the guy [in Vancouver]. He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game anymore.”

As for what lies ahead, things could get interesting upon potential appeal:

Torres successfully appealed a suspension under the previous CBA, getting his punishment for the Hossa hit reduced from 25 to 21 games.

Under terms of the new CBA, Torres isn’t categorized as a repeat offender because his last suspension came in May of 2013 — more than two years ago.

Of course, part of the reason Torres hasn’t run afoul of the league in two years is because he’s barely played.

Knee injuries limited Torres to just 12 games in ’13-14, and he sat out last season entirely.