Dave Andreychuk has said he wants to play at least one more season. But he added a caveat before Game 7. The Lightning captain said he might retire if Tampa Bay won the Stanley Cup.
"It would change things, sure," Andreychuk said. "I still like playing. I still want to play, but it would be nice to go out a winner."
Andreychuk has played 22 seasons, and until this season had never played in a Cup final. His 634 goals are 11th all time, and his 270 on the power play are an NHL record. He is seventh all time with 1,597 regular-season games.
Andreychuk, 40, said during the regular season and playoffs he wanted to play next season, but he said the opportunity to win the Cup has made him think.
"Obviously, I'm going to wait and see what happens in the game and then talk to (GM) Jay Feaster to see if they want me back," Andreychuk said. "But I've been doing that for the last few years. Nothing ever changes with this game. But it would be nice to go out with a win."
Sitting out Game 7
After playing 21 and 18 postseason games, respectively, wing Andre Roy and defenseman Brad Lukowich were scratched for Game 7. Roy was a healthy scratch. Lukowich is believed to be feeling the effects of an upper-body injury sustained in the East final.
"It's tough. It's disappointing," Roy said. "I know I'm part of it because it's a team concept, but to be on the bench and in the action would have been great. But I can't just think about my person. It's more about the team and a decision for the team. I have no control over the decision, but I can be behind my teammates."
So is Lukowich.
"After the Philly series, I just haven't been myself," he said. "I'd be hurting the team if I would be playing right now. There's no reason to be sulking. Every guy in the room knows what you've done for them. It's about the guys' achievement for the whole season. Being the odd man out is no big deal at all. I'll be in the players' lounge with a blood-pressure thing on this arm and some Valium on the other side."
Entering Game 7, Lightning center Vinny Lecavalier said he didn't believe he had played his best game of the series. He corrected that in the most important game. Lecavalier was plus-1 and assisted on Ruslan Fedotenko's second goal.
"At the beginning of the year, no one really thought we'd win the conference, and we did," Lecavalier said. "Coming into the playoffs, the first series, people didn't believe in us. But we kept working hard. We didn't care what other people said."
With his name on the Cup, Lecavalier finally appears to have fulfilled the promise he showed when the Lightning made him the first overall pick in the 1998 draft.
"It's unbelieveable," Lecavalier said. "It's a great feeling. We'll enjoy this for a while."
Before Game 7, it was even odds the Lightning's Brad Richards or Calgary's Jarome Iginla would win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. That Richards received the trophy can be attributed, in part, to the work of Pavel Kubina and Darryl Sydor .
The defensemen limited the regular season's leading goal-scorer to two shots in the final two games, none in Game 7.
"It was a great team effort," Kubina said. "It's a big challenge playing against those top lines for me. Sometimes, you're going to get beat, because that's why they are good players. But we did the job in the last two games, and it was a great team effort."
Kubina said the team adjusted to Iginla's skill and speed as the series progressed.
"I knew he shoots the puck from everywhere, and I was trying to block the shots," Kubina said. "He's a (heck) of a player, and that's why they went all the way to the finals."
"In the last two games, I didn't find a way to contribute," Iginla said.
When it mattered most
It wasn't an easy series for Lightning forward Cory Stillman, who seemingly had to watch over his shoulder every time he took the ice after elbowing Calgary's Marcus Nilson late in Game 1. But Stillman got the last laugh by assisting on Fedotenko's winning goal.
"It was back to our game, cycling the puck down low, holding on to it," Stillman said. "(Lecavalier) and I sort of played give-and-go, and it was a bit of a pick. I don't know whether he dragged it through his legs. But he fed (Fedotenko), and (Fedotenko) makes a great shot and scores the game winner."
Stillman battled through a hip injury.
"It was a really grueling series," Stillman said. "I got one point, and it ends up being on the game winner. I battled injuries all the way through. It's no excuse, but I wanted to be part of the team. I wanted to play through it, and I wanted to make a difference any way I could."
No stopping her
Poor Jerry the security guard. All he was supposed to do was keep the noncredentialed out of the tunnel leading from the underbelly of the St. Pete Times Forum to the ice during the postgame ceremonies. Then he tried to stop a certain woman with two children in tow.
"I am Mrs. Tortorella," said the coach's wife, Chris, who had son Dominick and daughter Brittany in tow. "Don't even try it."
She was allowed through without another word.
Odds and ends
Lightning owner Bill Davidson was mobbed by well-wishers as he headed downstairs from his suite after the game. "It's terrific. It's something I never counted on," he said. "It's a bonus in my life, and it's a great, great thrill." ... The combined 32 shots were the fewest in a Cup final game, 16 fewer than Colorado and New Jersey in Game 7 in 2001. ... A moment of silence was observed for Ronald Reagan before the game. ... Tampa Bay became the sixth team since the league expanded from six to 12 teams in 1967-68 to win the Stanley Cup in its first final appearance. The Lightning joined the 1974 Flyers, '80 Islanders, '91 Penguins, '95 Devils and '96 Avalanche. ... The home team has won Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final 11 of 13 times.