News, Jazz, NPR
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Arts / Culture

Listen: Vinny Lecavalier's Press Conference

vinny_lightning.jpg
The Tampa Bay Lightning
/

The National Hockey League 2013-2014 season will be different in several ways this year in Tampa.

There's re-alignment -- which takes the NHL's six-division format -- and makes it four divisions.

The Tampa Bay Lightning will be in the Eastern Conference Division C -- along with Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, Florida, Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto.

Another change for the Lightning will be the absence of Vinny Lecavalier.

He learned Thursday morning while he was having breakfast with his family that his contract was being bought out by the team.

“You know when you get the phone call and you’re told that you can’t play for the Lightning,” Lecavalier said during his telephone media conference just hours after the news. “It was pretty rough on everybody. I mean my family, obviously myself. I’ve been there 14 years. So, it was definitely – it still is really hard.”

The Lightning organization said the buyout was necessary to keep the team under the new salary cap of the Collective Bargaining Agreement or CBA.

Now, center Lecavalier will become an unrestricted free agent on July 5th after the contract buyout of more than $32 million.

Lecavalier was the first overall pick in the 1998 NHL draft and was key to the Lightning's 2004 Stanley Cup championship.

During his almost half-hour telephone news conference, Lecavalier said he was not angry about the situation. But he is sad he cannot finish his career with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Yet, Lecavalier said that he’s ready to embrace the challenge of playing with a new team.

WUSF 89.7 depends on donors for the funding it takes to provide you the most trusted source of news and information here in town, across our state, and around the world. Support WUSF now by giving monthly, or make a one-time donation online.