Thoughts of the Stanley Cup come to Vinny Lecavalier after trade to Kings

There can be the slightest of twinges when one of your best friends and former comrade-in-arms wins another Stanley Cup.

One of the newest Kings, center Vinny Lecavalier, put it charmingly when talking Friday about Brad Richards reaching the top of the mountain again, in June when the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Tampa Bay Lightning to win the Cup.

"I got kind of … I don't know what the word is when he won. In a good way, I got jealous," said Lecavalier, smiling. "I was like 'Wow, he's won it.' He just had a child."

In fact, there is a sweet picture on the home page of Richards' twitter feed, of his young son sitting in the Cup. Richards is now with Detroit Red Wings, who play Lecavalier and the Kings on Monday at Staples Center.

You might say that Richards put down the template that Lecavalier would like to follow after he was traded to the Kings by the Philadelphia Flyers.

Richards and Lecavalier won the Cup in 2004 with the Tampa Bay Lightning, beating the Darryl Sutter-coached Calgary Flames, and the 35-year-old Lecavalier is looking for the storybook finish in his final NHL season.

His two young children were born many years after the Cup victory with Tampa Bay, a place in which he still holds an iconic status.

"I talk to my kids about the Stanley Cup. 'OK, daddy,' " he said, mimicking them. "They don't really know about it so I kind of talk to them about it and stuff. To get a chance to do it with your family, your kids and everybody, it would definitely be something special."

Lecavalier had heard rumblings of a possible trade ("It was tough to wait. A couple of sleepless nights," he said). The move was close to becoming official just as the Flyers were getting ready to travel to Minnesota on Wednesday.

"I think they held up the plane because they knew it might happen. ... I knew a couple of days before there were some talks. I wasn't sure how far along it is. …It's a process. I understood that but when you're the player, you want to know, like now," he said.

That Lecavalier was planning to retire after this season came out shortly after he was traded by Philadelphia to the Kings, along with defenseman Luke Schenn, in exchange for rookie forward Jordan Weal and a third-round draft choice.

But the career decision had been made long before Wednesday. Lecavalier was bought out by the Lightning in 2013 and signed a five-year, front-loaded contract with the Flyers worth $22.5 million.

"It was mostly when I signed my contract," Lecavalier said. "I knew I wanted to play three [more] years. With the last two years, being a couple of tough years on the ice, I thought it would be a good time.

"At the same time, I don't want to make a big deal out of it. I just want to be part of a good team. I'm lucky to get a chance to play with the Kings. I can just tell how intense it is, in a good way in the room. Guys are just ready to play and are locked in."

Schenn and Lecavalier played Thursday night in the Kings' 2-1 victory against Toronto, and Lecavalier assisted on the game's first goal, by defenseman Jake Muzzin. It really shouldn't have been that much of a surprise that the duo played after a long travel day, considering how much Sutter likes and trusts his veterans.

Kings forwards Nick Shore and Andy Andreoff were scratched against the Maple Leafs and were the odd men out for Saturday's game against the St. Louis Blues.

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