By Jon Gabrielle, Stars correspondent
Aside from the fact both teams traveled to Dallas late last night for tonight’s contest at the American Airlines Center, there is one compelling story that should be of interest.
Vincent Lecavalier, the Captain and former 50 goal scorer of the Tampa Bay Lightning is seeing less and less ice time.
At one point a few weeks ago, head coach, Rick Tocchet had demoted the former Stanley Cup champion to the third line, in hopes of getting more out of his fallen star.
Despite the coaches assertion, to hourdes of media around before Wednesday’s game against Toronto, that his star center, “has picked up his game recently,” it apparently doesn’t apply to the power play. Lecavalier has now given way on the first power play unit to none other than Steve Downie!
In his last two games, the “face of the franchise” as he was referred to by Lightning co-owner, Len Barrie, last summer, has 64 and 77 seconds respectively, of power play time.
His five goals in 23 games so far this season ranks him at 128th in the league. And at about 10 million dollars a year against the cap, the Lightning have no choice but to stick by him, even as his ice time dwindles.
Never has the cliche, “oh how the mighty have fallen,” been more apropos.
Barring a streak of epic proportions most pundits in and around the game agree that Lecavalier has played himself off of the Olympic team as well. Seems to make sense that if he’s not even one of the five best players on his Lightning team…how could he be considered one of the best in all of Canada?
One other noteworthy happening will be the return of goaltender, Mike Smith, who spent two years with the Stars as Marty Turco’s back-up.
Coach Marc Crawford put former linemtes, Mike Ribeiro and Brenden Morrow, back together and they both scored in the third period of last night’s 5-2 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes. All signs point toward that duo staying together in hopes of igniting some offense.