In virtually every game he's played this season, Lightning center Vincent Lecavalier has shown he's an all-star. Fans have now given him the chance to prove it while playing among the best in the NHL.
Voted into the starting lineup for the 2008 NHL All-Star game for the first time in his career, Lecavalier garnered 224,661 votes to place second among all forwards in the Eastern Conference.
Lecavalier, 27, will make his third All-Star appearance at the game in Atlanta on January 27. He will be joined by Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, the East's top vote-getter with 507,274 votes, and Ottawa's Daniel Alfredsson with 224,483 votes. Through 42 games played, Lecavalier leads the NHL with 62 points (28g, 34a).
"It's a great honor to have been selected for the starting lineup at the 2008 NHL All-Star Game," Lecavalier said. "Thanks to the fans in Tampa Bay and throughout the NHL who voted me into this position, and I look forward to representing the Tampa Bay Lightning in Atlanta on January 27."
Joining him in the Eastern Conference starting lineup are Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara and Montreal defenseman Andrei Markov. In goal will be New Jersey's Martin Brodeur.
Lecavalier, the Lightning's only starter at this year's All-Star game, is the fourth player in Tampa Bay history to be named to the starting lineup for this event. The rest of the Eastern Conference All-Stars will be announced at a later date. Lecavalier joins Dino Ciccarelli (1996-97), Martin St. Louis
(2003-04) and Nikolai Khabibulin (2002-03) who were also previously selected to represent the Lightning as starters in the game.
Lecavalier had a breakout season last year, scoring 52 goals to lead the NHL and take home the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy. He set franchise records for goals in a season as well as points in a season with 108. He is on pace this season to surpass both numbers.
As we have been saying consistently for quite some time now, we here in Tampa have the pleasure of watching Vinny night after night, game after game, and we are convinced that he is the best two-way player in the NHL today," Executive Vice President and General Manager Jay Feaster said. "It is very fitting and appropriate that Vinny has now received this well-deserved recognition by fans throughout the hockey world. We are very proud of Vinny and we wish him all the best as he participates in this year's All-Star Game festivities in Atlanta!"
Opposing the East in Atlanta will be Detroit forwards Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, along with Calgary right wing Jarome Iginla. On defense will be Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom and Calgary's Dion Phaneuf. Vancouver's Roberto Luongo will start in goal.