Vinny Lecavalier, who hardly fights, engaged Steve Oleksy in Friday's loss to Washington. (USA Today Images)
Vinny Lecavalier will wear a helmet with a half-shield, half-cage when the veteran center-turned right wing returns to the Flyers' lineup Tuesday in Carolina.
He practiced on Claude Giroux’s line with Scott Hartnell.
Lecavalier has some facial swelling on his left side but not a broken jaw, he said. It’s the result of his fight during the 7-0 disaster against Washington on Friday.
Lecavalier tried a bubble shield Monday at practice but quickly scrapped it for a different version.
“I wanted to try both,” he said. “I was happy I started off with the cage because I felt a lot better with the thing [Sidney] Crosby wore last year – the little protective thing. It fogs up a little bit, but I had better vision with the second one.
“My vision was a little bit better with my half shield and the little protective thing to protect the lower part of my face. It fogs up and all that, but those are all things between shifts. Obviously I have to have that right now. I feel good today. Hopefully I’ll be able to play tomorrow. I felt fine on the ice. I just need to protect it and I’ll be good.”
You don’t often see skill players fight. Lecavalier is obviously not a fighter. Yet he says he supports fighting as a part of the game and even non-fighters such as himself get dragged into it. He took on Steve Oleksy who is better prepared at fighting.
“It kind of just happens,” Lecavalier said. “It’s part of the game. We needed a spark and Simmer [Wayne Simmonds] and Ray [Emery] obviously started that. There’s a lot of frustration with the players. We’re down 6-0 at that time. Frustration comes with it. It just happened.
“I don’t fight all the time, but it happens sometimes that I do. Schenner [Brayden Schenn], same thing. He’s an offensive guy, but he fought a few times in training camp and I’ve seen it in the past. Things happen. We’ll just try to definitely build from that moment.”
So he's supportive of fighting in hockey?
“For me, it’s always been a part of the game,” Lecavalier said. “There’s less and less fighting. That’s for sure. I think it’s part of the game. If they do stop it one day or whatever they decide to do, you definitely have to protect from those guys running other guys and stuff like that.
“Right now, the way the game is, it’s declining. It really is. Since ’98 when I got into the league to now, there’s less and less and I think it’s part of the game. I guess it’s not my decision to see what’s gonna happen in the future.”
In his 15 seasons in the NHL, this was just his 25th fight – less than two a season.