tampabay.com

Lecavalier sits out for high-stick suspension

By TOM JONES, DAMIAN CRISTODERO
Published December 24, 2005


TAMPA - Center Vinny Lecavalier was suspended by the NHL for Friday's game against the Sabres for a high stick on the Rangers' Dominic Moore in Thursday's 4-2 loss.

"I was very surprised I got suspended," Lecavalier said. "I don't agree with it, but what are you going to do?"

Lecavalier set up in the slot during a Lightning power play Thursday, then hit Moore across the shoulder and near the face when he swung his stick behind him.

"I thought he was right on me and I was trying to get him off so I could get the shot that I got," said Lecavalier, who scored a goal that was wiped out because of his penalty.

"Fortunately, I didn't hit him in the face," Lecavalier said. "I was just trying to push him back and my stick got a little high."

Lecavalier also had to forfeit one game's pay, $35,076. The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.

KUBY STILL HURTING: Defenseman Pavel Kubina limped and held in his hand a packet of X-Rays and images from Friday's MRI exam on his strained left groin.

"Not good," Kubina said when asked how he felt. "It hurts when I walk on it. When I skate I can't push out on my leg."

Kubina, who averages 23:01 of ice time, missed his second straight game and said he was not sure when he will return. He said he will skate Monday and, "We'll see how it goes."

Kubina said he was hurt in the second half of the third period of Tuesday's game against Carolina when he pinched into the offensive zone and a Hurricanes player ran into his right leg.

"I felt it right away," said Kubina, who is reeiving treatments of massage, heat and electric stimulation.

MRI results weren't available but the team did not change Kubina's day-to-day prognosis.

IRON MAN: With the Lightning down to five defensemen Thursday, Dan Boyle played an exhausting 36:35, most in the NHL this season.

"That's obviously a nice thing," said Boyle, who entered Friday averaging a team-high 23:56. "I'm glad (associate coach Craig Ramsay, who handles the defense) had the confidence to play me out there."

Toronto defenseman Bryan McCabe entered Friday with a league-high average of 28:29.

Boyle, 29, whose previous best was 28:39, said playing 36 minutes is not something to do every game, but against the Rangers, "I felt fine."

He said shorter shifts conserved energy.

ODDS AND ENDS: The Lightning's team-record streak of scoring power-play goals ended at 10 games. ... Center Brad Richards' eight-game points streak was snapped. ... Goaltender John Grahame has lost four straight games after winning nine in a row. ... Wing Dmitry Afanasenkov was scratched.