Jan 21, 2013, 11:09 AM EDT
The No. 1 pick of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft will make history this afternoon.
Vincent Lecavalier — captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning — will play in his 1,000th NHL contest when the Bolts take on the Islanders in a matinee affair.
“I’m excited about it, but you don’t take it for granted,” he told the Tampa Bay Tribune. “When I came in (to the league) at 18, I wasn’t telling myself I was going to play 1,000 games, because you never know what’s going to happen.”
The 32-year-old was taken by Tampa Bay at the ’98 draft and has spent his entire career with the organization, putting him in some distinguished company among players that have played 1000 games with the same franchise.
Notables include Nicklas Lidstrom, Steve Yzerman, Alex Delvecchio (Detroit), Stan Mikita (Chicago), Gilbert Perreault (Buffalo), George Armstrong (Toronto), Henri Richard, Bob Gainey, Jean Beliveau (Montreal) and Denis Potvin (New York Islanders).
Now one of the oldest players on the Lightning roster, Lecavalier is looked upon for veteran leadership and experience — though that doesn’t mean he’s not a vital on-ice contributor.
Bolts head coach Guy Boucher praised his captain for being in fantastic shape to start the year, impressive given that Lecavalier didn’t play during the lockout.
“It’s the best shape I’ve seen him in,” Boucher said following Tampa’s 6-3 season-opening win over Washington. “The league has changed. For the big guys who didn’t necessarily have great speed, that’s a tough thing. They have to elevate their game.
“Not many guys all of a sudden can have jump and speed at that age. Vinny just did that now.”
Update: NHL.com’s Dan Rosen provides this unique factoid:
Again, Lecavalier will become the 5th former first overall pick to play 1,000 games WITH HIS DRAFTING TEAM!!!
— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) January 21, 2013
May 28, 2015, 8:58 PM EDT
Victor Hedman: “We’re prepared for this.”
May 28, 2015, 7:47 PM EDT
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May 28, 2015, 6:35 PM EDT
Even their first names are similar (Jordan and Jaden). Fun times ahead …
May 28, 2015, 5:30 PM EDT
Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, specifically.
May 28, 2015, 5:28 PM EDT
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May 28, 2015, 4:52 PM EDT
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May 28, 2015, 3:48 PM EDT
Meanwhile, in the West, Corey Crawford has the edge in big-game experience over Frederik Andersen.
May 28, 2015, 3:39 PM EDT
Was set to become a UFA on July 1.
May 28, 2015, 3:26 PM EDT
Bit of a theme developing here…
May 28, 2015, 3:15 PM EDT
Pens to receive third-round pick in 2016 as compensation.
May 28, 2015, 2:21 PM EDT
After scoring 80 points in 56 games for Youngstown.
May 28, 2015, 2:08 PM EDT
Rangers goalie knows he can’t rely on history to defeat the Lightning.
May 28, 2015, 1:04 PM EDT
The former Penguins coach is still under contract to Pittsburgh.
May 28, 2015, 12:27 PM EDT
Former Preds forward, who played for Roy in junior, is currently with KHL club CSKA.
May 28, 2015, 12:22 PM EDT
Has spent the past three seasons coaching the Flyers’ AHL affiliate.
May 28, 2015, 12:05 PM EDT
Spent part of last season with the Bruins
May 28, 2015, 11:49 AM EDT
Which they lost by a score of 6-2.
May 28, 2015, 11:41 AM EDT
Which is next Wednesday.
May 28, 2015, 10:50 AM EDT
The former led Canada to gold at the most recent World Junior tourney.
May 28, 2015, 10:15 AM EDT
He’s expected to be ready for the start of training camp.
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