Vincent Lecavalier

To the surprise of Tampa Bay Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier he was given a heroes welcome when he arrived at the Trudeau/International Airport in preparation for the NHL All Star Game being played at the Molson Centre in Montreal.

“When I walked through those doors and saw the hundreds of people there for autographs and waiting for the players arrival-my hair was all over the place and I really didn’t expect to have that,” he said on Friday. “I don’t think anybody expected to have a welcome like that.”

This former 1998 first overall Lightning draft choice who in his ninth season has scored 44 first half points has been rumored for weeks to be on the move in a blockbuster deal to the Montreal Canadiens. 

Lecavalier who got a thunderous ovation from the Montreal fans during Saturday’s skills competition signed an 11 year contract extension with the Lightning last fall but a few months into the season was rumored to be on the move to Canadiens.

“Usually there’s rumors, but this one seemed that it had a lot of legs,” said the veteran who was reassured by general manager Brian Lawton that he wasn’t going anywhere.

Talking about Montreal, Lecavalier didn’t sound like he would be to disappointed if traded to the Canadiens.

“I grew up here,” said Lecavalier. “I’ve always loved the Montreal Canadiens.” “It’s a great organization, it’s a great town.” “My family’s from here, I’ve got a lot of friends here.” He went on to add, “It would be a dream place to come and play for.”

Rumors have been circulating in Tampa that the new ownership of Oren Koules and Len Barrie are losing money, and apparently Montreal who want to make a big splash in their centennial campaign have been acquiring about the big forward.

The 28 year old who often used the word religion when talking about the Canadiens will get to fulfill a dream at this weekend’s All Star Game of dressing in the Canadiens home dressing room.

“To be getting dressed in the Canadiens room is something I always wanted to see,” he said.