SAN JOSE, Calif. - Embarrassed and angry after being forced to sit out as a healthy scratch for the first time at any level of hockey, Vinny Lecavalier did his best to bite his tongue yesterday.
Lecavalier, 34, is only a quarter of the way through the second season of a seemingly interminable 5-year deal.
Asked if he agreed with coach Craig Berube's decision, Lecavalier said: "I'm not going to start arguing. It's his decision."
It's no secret the Flyers tried to move Lecavalier last summer. Flyers general manager Ron Hextall gave Lecavalier's agent, Kent Hughes, permission to negotiate a trade this summer. With Lecavalier's full no-movement clause, he calls the shots on any transaction, but he said yesterday he's not ready to ask for a trade.
"I don't want to be a distraction," Lecavalier said. "That's not my style. Some guys might be like that. I'm not. It's not a time now to say things that I might regret - and that's definitely not going to help the team."
He admitted, again, that he was swayed to sign with the Flyers in 2013 based on a sales pitch from Peter Laviolette. Of course, Laviolette lasted just three games before being fired last season.
"I'm not going to lie and say I didn't come here for 'Lavy', " Lecavalier said. "Of course I did. I met him and [Paul Holmgren] and had a great meeting. I liked what he said to me. But that's last year. It's a different system and it is what it is. Nothing is always going to be perfect. It's my job to try to work with it and do my best at it."
Lecavalier knows time catches up to all great players. But does he think he can still be a productive player in the NHL?
"Oh, definitely," Lecavalier said. "Yeah. I'm not a different player than last year. I didn't think I had a really good season last year. I had a great start and I had a lot of opportunities the first 20 games, then I got hurt - and not as much after that."