The Vincent Lecavalier Debate


February 5, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning center

Vincent Lecavalier

(4) during the third period against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers defeated the Lightning, 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Is Vincent Lecavalier A Hero Or Just As Bad As A Philadelphia Flyer?

There is much debate over whether or not Vincent Lecavalier is a ‘good captain’ of the Tampa Bay Lightning or not. Haters gonna hate, Lovers gonna love, Vinny’s gonna strike. When he’s not injured. Perhaps that’s not the case anymore as he didn’t miss a game with his bone bruise that he got as a result of Sami Salo‘s slapshot that hit him in the ankle in the last game of the recent home stand.

I was just reading a Facebook post earlier discussing Vinny, and his character of leadership. It was brought up by the fact that he hit Maxime Talbot after he was down at Tuesday’s Philadelphia Flyers game. A few people were going back and forth, and the just of it was talking about how they do support Vinny as captain, however, when he was injured it didn’t appear that he was even coming to the arena to support his team. He was there, but wasn’t in front of the cameras. The main point of the conversation that I wanted to pick up was one person was saying that the ‘C’ meant leadership amongst the team and not the media. The other felt that, as captain, he should be the ‘face of the franchise’, leading by speaking for the team in front of the media as well as his on ice and locker room duties.

Here’s my take. The role of captain on a team is a position of leadership. That means that the moment that you put on the ‘C’, you become a role model for the team, the junior teams in your organization, the children who play hockey in your city and look up to you. This isn’t a title to be taken lightly. I’m not saying that Vinny’s not a good leader. I have seen leadership from Vinny this year. He’s played better than he has in a long time. He’s been carrying himself on the ice like a captain. However, I must put in to question his behavior on Tuesday night.

Everyone knows my opinion of the Philadelphia Flyers, and how I tend to think that most of the team are classless thugs who like to bully the rest of the league. Most of their fans, not all, but most that I’ve dealt with personally, are the same. Don’t even get me started on the “Day Hockey Stood Still“. If this offends you then I apologize, however, I have the right to my opinion. Even the sports media is calling them the Broad Street Bullies again,  a name that the team was called in the 1972-73 season due to their nasty on ice dispositions. Maybe it’s the city. Perhaps the color orange drives them crazy. Maybe they didn’t get their Distemper shots. Who knows why they act the way they do, and why they feel that they have to be mean. Maybe they puff up to not look like the Sidney Crosby‘s of the league, as they took some slack for complaining and some of the actions that head coach Peter Laviolette has had them take. (Or lack of, in the case of holding the puck to dodge the 1-3-1. Then they used it on the Lightning on Tuesday. Again, another day’s writings’ waiting to happen.)

On Tuesday night the Lightning played in Philadelphia. We knew before the game happened that there would be fights. It’s against Philly. Not only are they rivals, but tempers are always flaring when the two teams meet. I thought for sure that there would be a big brawl when I saw the fact that Pierre-Cedric Labrie aka Nacho aka PC = PeliCan finally got the chance to play, but he stayed out of the boxing ring and behaved himself all night. Early on in the game B.J. Crombeen and Zac Rinaldo had a scrap. In seconds Rinaldo had Crombeen down, crushing him like a tin can. It’s clear that Rinaldo punched Crombeen after he was down, though Rinaldo is disputing the fact. (Like a Flyer to do something and not own up to it.) First of all, let me say that I’m not too sure of Crombeen’s role on this team. He was brought in to fill a hole in play. Some think that he’s trying to fill the Downie hole with the fighting. However if you look at his extensive fight card, he has always had a problem with his temper. It’s getting ridiculous if you ask me. Even still, the unwritten code is that you don’t hit a man after he’s down.

The teams exchanged words, and Pierre McGuire said that Marty St. Louis was saying that they don’t have a problem with the fighting, however, it’s the fact that he hit him after he was down. Towards the end of the game, nerves were up. Crombeen still wasn’t on the bench. He had been medically cleared, however, they kept him out of the rest of the game as a precaution. The Lightning were down and in desperate need of scoring to avoid two losses in a row. It’s not the way to set the tone for an extensive road trip if you lose the first game.

Maxime Talbot

was being annoying as ever, and to Vinny’s credit, I wanted to smack the man myself. Vinny and Maxime had a fight that was over quickly, as Vinny laid him out and got a couple of hits in on him after he was down.

I respect Vinny for going out there and trying to get retribution for B.J.’s incident. However, Talbot was not the one who hit him, and if he was, two wrong’s don’t make a right. He could have won the fight cleanly if he hadn’t gone after him while he was down. You just don’t do that. What Rinaldo did was classless. So win the fight, hold your head up high, knowing that you’re the better man. As the team captain, he sets the example for the team and his actions speak for the organization. What his actions said in this fight was that he was just as low as Rinaldo. He wasn’t the better man that night. He didn’t even the score, he brought the image of the Lightning as a team as low as the Flyers. He sank down to their level, bringing the Bolt Blue with him. How can we say that the Flyers are dirty players, and that Rinaldo was in the wrong, when Lecavalier did the same thing? A team is judged by it’s leader. I’ve gone on and on before about the class of the organization. This was a classless move on the part of their leader.

This wasn’t the first time that Vinny’s gotten in a couple of cheap shots:

Evgani Malkin was standing up, so technically this was ok. However Malkin’s hands were bound and he couldn’t punch Lecavalier. This was a heated game. The Pittsburgh Penguins were whipping the Lightning at home at a time when the Lightning were not winning often last season. Malkin had a hattrick in that game. I can’t remember if this fight was after his hattrick or before the third goal was scored. Vinny was provoked when Malkin ducked to avoid a hit. Again, something that you don’t do according to ‘the code’. It can cause serious injury to the one doing the hitting. Man up. Put your big girl pants on and take the hit. It’s hockey. I’d hardly call Vinny a hot-head like I would Crombeen, but it appears that sometimes he just doesn’t think before he acts.

Watch your actions, Vinny. You carry a team on your shoulders. Or you’re supposed to, anyway. Crombeen, learn to control your temper. Both of you, install a brain-to-fist-filter. Get yourselves together. Your team needs you, especially now when this road trip is not starting out good.

Dolly Dolce