For the last ten seasons, there has been a constant dogging Tampa Bay Lightning hockey. Through the tortured days of the late 1990's through a Stanley Cup championship and back again to the dregs of mediocrity, one chorus has sung itself silly every season. Every season with or without basis.
Vincent Lecavalier to Montreal.
There was the disrespect factor to begin, as Vinny entered the NHL in a non traditional market. Tampa Bay was the joke of the league and of course, fans from Canada treated the Lightning as the joke they were while making up all sorts of preposterous trade scenarios for Vincent's services.
As the lean years of Lightning hockey pressed on, some of those rumors weren't based off desire to mock Tampa as so much save Vincent from the lowest of low rungs of the NHL. "He deserves better than that" were the sympathies being sent to the player (but of course, not the hockey fans suffering in Tampa Bay. After all, it's a non traditional market. Who could care?).
Even with the Lightning on the up and up in 2002-2004, ventures to Canada in December resulted in the same rumors year after year: Lecavalier wants out, Lecavalier's not happy.
That's why I don't get too concerned about Vincent-Lecavalier-to-Montreal rumors that have sprung up today. Vinny-for-Garbage-because-he's-our-favorite-francophone; the cliché offerings of mediocrity that are supposed to seem all worldly.
Oh, don't get me wrong -- I am concerned about Vincent Lecavalier trade rumors in general right now as I lack faith in OK Hockey to make moves that make sense. Keeping the core intact and building around them imperative. But as I noted earlier today in a post, volatility has ruled the first half of the Lightning season.
And I'll say this as bluntly and openly as I can and hope to high hell someone with management and ownership actually reads this blog: If you guys seriously want to fuck up your investment in this franchise, trade Lecavalier. If you're more concerned about how happy you are with the club's makeup than how well you're drawing at the arena -- by all means, trade him for shit being rumored and continue on your directionless trek through the NHL.
It never fails that the Vinny-to-Montreal rumors surface... But the dealings of OK Hockey make me weary that something may happen that ruins the fragile stability that currently resides with this team. And the only thing worse than this would be to wreak havok on the stability of the Tampa Bay Lightning franchise in general by making a move with Vincent.