At 33, center Vinny Lecavalier may have slowed down a tad from his all-star days, but he is still a very productive player.
Also one of the most respected in the NHL.
You can almost hear reverence in the Flyers’ voices when they talk about their new teammate and his impressive resume.
“What he has done,” captain Claude Giroux said, “speaks for itself.”
Lecavalier, a four-time all-star with Tampa Bay and the owner of many of the franchise’s records, scored a power-play goal in his Flyers debut Monday night, but the home team lost to Washington in a shootout, 4-3, in an exhibition game at the Wells Fargo Center.
Sam Morin, the mammoth defenseman the Flyers drafted in the opening round in June, made a sensational play to keep the puck in the zone and fed Lecavalier for a one-timer from the right circle, tying the game at 2-2 with 19 minutes, 3 seconds left.
A little over five minutes later, winger Jason Akeson (two points), making a bid to stick with the team, knocked in a rebound of Sean Couturier’s shot to put the Flyers ahead, 3-2. But Ray Emery, who played well and made 29 saves, allowed a soft goal to Ryan Stoa with 21.2 seconds left in regulation.
Washington won it on a goal by Joel Rechlicz in the shootout.
The Flyers’ other split-squad team scored a 3-2 shootout win in Toronto. Tye McGinn, the Flyers' seventh shooter, deposited the winner.
Last season, Lecavalier had 32 points (10 goals, 22 assists) in 39 games with the Lightning, who later bought him out and will pay nearly $33 million for the last seven years of his contract. He signed a five-year, $22.5 million deal with the Flyers and is expected to be their second-line center, with Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds his likely wingers.
Lecavalier, who gives the Flyers some needed size (6-foot-4, 215 pounds) up the middle, centered rookie Michael Raffl and Simmonds on Monday _ Schenn was in Toronto _ and the unit played a strong game.
After spending 14 years in Tampa, Lecavalier is starting Part II of his outstanding career.
“It’s exciting for me; it’s something new,” he said, adding that his initial day with his new teammates “felt like the first day of high school.”
In Tampa, he collected 491 career assists _ that would be the second-highest total in Flyers history, behind Bobby Clarke’s 852 _ and 383 goals while winning one Stanley Cup.
“I'm 33 years old, but I don't feel old or anything,” he said. “I feel great.”
He was asked if he felt he had something to prove.
“I do, but not to prove Tampa was wrong or anything,” he said. “For me, it’s another challenge (because of) the way the year went last year with injuries and not winning. That is more the part of me saying I want to have a good year and help this team out as much as I can. Everybody has something to prove every year.”
Even a guy who had a legendary career in Tampa.
Breakaways. For the first time since his finger surgery last month, Giroux was able to take hard slap shots during practice Monday….Jake Voracek had a goal and an assist against the Caps…..Craig Berube, who coached the game at the WFC, on Couturier (two assists): “He looks quicker to me this year; he looks energized.”…..Winger Zac Rinaldo, who suffered an upper-body injury in Sunday’s 4-3 loss to Toronto, is listed as day to day…..Goalie Anthony Stolarz, who allowed just one goal while playing half of Sunday’s game, was loaned to London of the OHL. Stolarz, 19, is regarded as the Flyers’ goalie of the future.
Contact Sam Carchidi @firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @BroadStBull.