Vinny Lecavalier is not a Lightning hockey player anymore, at least not on paper. But in the minds of Lightning fans he will forever be connected to the Tampa Bay area, both for his achievements on the ice, as well as, if not more, for his personal commitment to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, which he hopefully will continue.
Vinny was the victim of the team's previous owners' fiduciary irresponsibility of offering a huge multiyear, multimillion-dollar contract, which present owner Jeff Vinik inherited, only to be trapped by the collective bargaining agreement that followed this year's lockout, mandating a decrease in the salary cap. Vinny became the Lightning's prime target. It was actually a wise business decision for the team in order to build for the future, but not a favorable one in the eyes of its fans.
That said, the announcement was handled in a most professional manner by Vinny and management. We'll eventually get over it, and a run for the Stanley Cup would certainly help. But just like the stars in the past who left teams - Esposito, Gretzky, Jagr, etc. - Vinny will do fine. We all wish him the best.