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Vincent Lecavalier back on the ice for first time since hand surgery

Dec 14, 2010, 11:41 AM EST

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The Tampa Bay Lightning are in the thick of things in the Southeast Division and they’re going to be getting a little bit better soon. Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier returned to the ice this morning for team practice. He was sporting a red non-contact jersey, but getting back on the ice nonetheless. It’s expected he’ll be able to return to the Lightning lineup in a week or two.

Lecavalier has been out the last few weeks with a broken hand suffered against Washington back on November 11th. While Lecavalier has been recovering from hand surgery, Steve Stamkos has officially taken over as the team’s main source of offense teaming up with Martin St. Louis to be one of the NHL’s top scoring tandems. Lecavalier will return to have Simon Gagne and Ryan Malone to skate with him on the second line. Both of those guys have had their issues scoring this year, but having Lecavalier return should help alleviate some of those problems.

The bigger problems in Tampa Bay, for now, surround having wildly inconsistent goaltending. If neither Dan Ellis nor Mike Smith can prove themselves to be capable of stopping pucks on a regular basis then the talk of having Evgeni Nabokov join the team when he returns to North America in the near future will only grow stronger.

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