February 15, 2012

If he had really wanted to leave, he would have - a long time ago

Vincent Lecavalier Should Be A Hab, Not A Has-Been

It's a nice photoshop job with the jersey, don't you think? Though, I don't agree with the "has-been" part of the title. I think this guy is really stretching with that.

At first, these sorts of things annoyed me. Then, I got to the point where they just made me roll my eyes. Now, it makes me laugh. How delusional can one fan base be? I mean, seriously.

It's obviously a case of wanting what they can't have - on top of the fact that Vinny Lecavalier's one of the best French Canadian players in the NHL right now. But, c'mon. The guy had his chance to escape the ever despised so-called "Sun Belt" team that drafted him and...he signed up for 11 more years.

Yep, he really wants to go play in Montreal, can't you tell? He just jumped at that chance to become a Hab. Because, you know, he's a Canadiens' fan himself. Or so I've been told repeatedly by many Montreal hockey fans.

So, we'll just gloss over the fact that he was a Steve Yzerman fan growing up - therefore likely was a Red Wings fan. And we'll just flat-out ignore that Yzerman's now his GM. Oh, and we'll also gloss over the fact that his dad's rumored to be a Bobby Orr fan - thus, likely a Boston Bruins fan, which are one of the Habs' traditional rivals.

We'll also flat-out ignore that he's embedded himself into Tampa. His parents live there, his sister and her family lives there, and probably his kids were born there. He's invested much of his own money into charities and a medical treatment center - that is named after him, actually. He obviously hates the place, right?

You add all the up, and naturally he's dying to go play in Montreal.

Despite all of that, I actually don't see him finishing his career in Tampa. I don't see him going to play in Montreal, of course - I'd sort of expect him to avoid that place like the plague, at this point. But the fact of the matter is, once his career takes a definite downturn, and once Yzerman's set up the organization to his liking by drafting and producing players from within, he won't be needed.

Basically, once Steven Stamkos was drafted, Vinny's days in a Lightning uniform were numbered. And the fact that Stamkos has been playing extremely well from the outset, once Vinny's production falls off due to his age, that'll be it for him. That's just how the NHL world works.

The 500-lb gorilla in the room is his contract, of course. But in the end, that won't matter to a desperate team. Not even his no-movement clause will matter. No one wants to stay with a team that's asked them to waive those things. Who wants to work in a place where they're not wanted?

With the NHL's Collective Bargaining Agreement coming up this summer, his contract could become a moot point, anyways. There are a number of crazy contracts in the NHL that a few teams really regret now and would like for them to go away. So I wouldn't be surprised if they come up with some way for that to happen. Whether that's unpenalized/bonus buyouts or renegotiation of standing contracts, it's hard to say. But it seems logical that they'll figure something out with that.

So I see Lecavalier ending up in the Western Conference at some point. Calgary, Colorado, Vancouver, (if they get a team) Seattle, or on the way outside, San Jose. Pretty much the entire opposite corner of the NHL geographically from Tampa. He'll probably leave about the same time that Marty St. Louis retires - if he's not bought out because of the next CBA.

But I cannot see him ever playing for Montreal - no matter how badly their fan base wants him to.

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