Saturday, November 28, 2015

Bombshell: Lecavalier demoted to Flyers' 4th line

In a stunning move, Flyers coach Craig Berube demoted Vinny Lecavalier to the fourth line.

Bombshell: Lecavalier demoted to Flyers' 4th line

Vincent Lecavalier. (Yong Kim/Staff file photo)
Vincent Lecavalier. (Yong Kim/Staff file photo)

In a stunning move, Flyers coach Craig Berube demoted Vinny Lecavalier to the fourth line.

Lecavalier had been playing on the second line at left wing, but will be back at his natural position _ center _ for Friday's game against visiting Toronto.

"It wasn't working where it was, so I put him back in the middle, and it's where we're going to start right now," Berube said after Friday's morning skate at the Wells Fargo Center, adding he would take it "shift by shift for now."

Lecavalier will center Zac Rinaldo and Adam Hall. Tye McGinn will take his spot at left wing on a line with Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds.

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"That line wasn't doing what it was intended to do, so I made a change," Berube said.

Signed to a five-year, $22.5-million free-agent deal in the off-season, Lecavalier has just 15 goals (eight at even-strength) and 15 assists in a season that has been hindered by a back injury.

Berube said he expected more from Lecavalier, "and I think he expects more. We all do. I still think he can (do more)."

Lecavalier, 33, was visibly upset by the demotion, but deflected all questions about the surprising nature of the move.

"I'll do my best tonight to make sure our line is ready to go," he said.

Rinaldo said he was "really surprised" to have Lecavalier _ who has 398 career goals _ as his linemate.

"I've played with him maybe a handful of times," Rinaldo said, "and we've done pretty well. We'll see how it goes for a whole game."

Lecavalier has one goal in the last 10 games, and he hit three pieces of iron _ the right post, crossbar and left post _ while shooting at an open net against the Kings on Monday, a 3-2 Flyers loss.

In another change, Michael Raffl was moved to the third line, where he will play alongside Sean Couturier and Matt Read.

Breakaways. Steve Mason, who is 30-17-6 with a 2.54 GAA and .916 save percentage, will face Toronto's Jonathan Bernier. Bernier (25-17-7, 2.64 GAA, .925) is making his second straight start after being sidelined for five games with a groin injury....The Leafs have lost six straight and are in danger of missing the playoffs...The Flyers are 18-2-1 when Claude Giroux scores a goal....Giroux on tonight's game: "We have to play with an edge, an attitude."....Jake Voracek has a four-game points streak, which includes three goals....Former Flyer James van Riemsdyk (28 goals) said he will have about 40 friends and relatives at Wednesday's game. He had 150 at a Leafs' game in Newark against the Devils.

Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.

Inquirer Staff Writer
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