*PPPW is a weekly feature that highlights a prominent power play performer from the past seven days. Whether it continues is largely up to you, so let me know if you find it worthwhile, as I could also devote that time towards more long term projects.
The Vincent Lecavalier was rightfully met with a lot of skepticism. The former first overall pick is now 35 years old, and had looked like a shell of his former self with the Philadelphia Flyers the last couple of years. Decline is always to be expected with older players, after all time has never lost. But there is something to be said for revitalization, a new environment, a reboot in confidence, and of course power play time.
Lecavalier has been playing on the L.A. Kings' second unit as a goal-line and right half-boards player. He seemed to savor the role almost instantly, as he connected on a rush chance early last week against the Ottawa Senators.
Hockey smarts tend to last much longer than the rest of a player's game, and Lecavalier knows where to go on this rush, capitalizing on some fortunate bounces but alert and ready to cash his first goal with his new club. Another characteristic that doesn't tend to decline that quickly: reach. Lecavalier has always been a tall center, standing around 6'4", and he uses his entire wingspan to reach back and get to this puck, executing a quick drag to secure the puck and then firing top shelf.
Lecavalier was back at it in his next game, early in his power play shift, winning the faceoff and then rotating down to the goal line.
Obviously this is a goal John Gibson would like to have back, but note how quickly Lecavalier is able to rotate and get his hands square to the net. He is decisive and composed. This isn't his first rodeo, after all. Gibson attempts the poke check, which may have worked against younger players more eager to shoot top shelf, but it doesn't here.
Finally, with the Kings taking on the Dallas Stars on Tuesday, Lecavalier has his best effort yet. After some slick puck moving around the top of the umbrella, Lecavalier unleashes a bomb on Kari Lehtonen, who just manages to see through the commotion in front. Defenseman Jamie McBain makes a great play though not allowing the penalty killers to reset and finding the new acquisition for a laser. Three goals in six games, all power play markers, rejuvenation for a former star, and the first power play player of the week award. Not a bad start in California.