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Line shakeup for the Lightning: Wright – Lecavalier – St. Louis? Oh My…

After the drubbing in Ottawa on Thursday and the less-than-stellar play in Pittsburgh last night (and that’s a nice way of putting it), head coach Rick Tocchet has shaken things up.

Everything except the 4th line has been turned on it’s head, as Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis are now re-united on the top line. Steve Downie hasn’t exactly been short-changed in taking over St. Louis’ spot on the 2nd line with Steven Stamkos and Ryan Malone. But the biggest oddity of them all is Alex Tanguay dropping to the third line with rookie James Wright moving to left wing on Lecavalier’s line. Take a look at the lineup yourself:

Tampa Bay Lightning Projected Lines

(updated October 18, 2009 by RawCharge subject to change)

Forward Lines:

James Wright – Vinny Lecavalier – Marty St. Louis
Ryan Malone – Steven Stamkos – Steve Downie
Alex Tanguay – Jeff HalpernDrew Miller
Todd FedorukZenon KonopkaStephane Veilleux


Mattias Ohlund | Victor Hedman
Paul Ranger | Matt Walker
Kurtis Foster | Andrej Meszaros


Antero Niittymaki (starter)
Mike Smith

Lecavalier is made to look like the centerpiece of the moves — trying to jumpstart him and what not.  Lecavalier spoke about the Tanguay-Lecavalier dynamic and the lack there of:

“Yeah, I’m disappointed. I’m sure he’s disappointed, too. Things weren’t going in. And when you lose a little bit of confidence, the last couple of games were tough. They weer tough on everybody. Nothing was going on five-on-five with all four lines. That’s why we made ail these switches.”

Tanguay is well aware of his struggles, as is coach Rick Tocchet who said that he “know(s) Tangs.  I know he gets like that every once in a while.”

And of course Tanguay is well aware of the funk he is in:

“I know I’m not playing the best right now. … I don’t care who he plays me with. I just feel that I’m not contributing. I’m not helping the team right now. But it’s a long season, so I’ll just keep working on my game. Things have always turned around. It’s certainly tough to sleep right now, but it’s part of the game, I guess.”

The first step in breaking a habit is admitting to yourself that you have a problem. Seven games into the NHL season, the Lightning have taken the first steps in order to do just that. If this is a remedy that starts the healing process… well, we won’t know that for sure until Thursday night against the Sharks at Times Palace.

But an intervention by Tocchet to jar his crew into action was overdue.

Lecavalier paired up with Martin St. Louis is not necessarily a panacea for what ails Vincenzo…  The St. Louis dynamic may jump start the captain’s offensive output, but he needs to be able to carry that output into pairings with other players.

And speaking of other players, how is this for a tip-of-the-cap to the effort displayed by a rookie?  James Wright playing left wing on the pairing of Lecavalier and St. Louis is a mountainous achievement.  He’s really impressed Tocchet with his dog-to-the-puck play.

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