Last Updated: Thursday, February 16, 2017, 5:08 PM EST
They are some of the biggest faces to build the Bolts brand.
Thursday eight former Lightning players practiced ahead of Saturday's Alumni Game against the Boston Bruins alums. It is part of the 3rd annual Hockey Day in Tampa Bay at Amalie Arena.
The former Bolts skated down memory lane while preparing for the Bruins alumni.
"There was a special bond here in Tampa Bay that nobody can take away from us and all these guys to come back here," said the captain of the Lightning Stanley Cup team, Dave Andreychuk. "That’s the feelings that we have over the success that we had here and they’re good times."
"I played a lot of years with Vinny Prospal and just little plays that we’re doing’, kinda remember from back in the day, so it’s a lot of fun," said former Lighting first overall pick and Stanley Cup champion Vinny Lecavalier.
"But, it’s nice to be in the locker room. The guys together, that’s the best."
“Obviously you always remember the Stanley Cup when we won here that year and it always brings the good memories," said former wing Ruslan Fedotenko, who played with the Lightning for four seasons.
Whether they’ve been retired a while or less than a year, most admitted they are far from Cup condition and needed the practice.
"Everything’s kinda slow-motion now when you don’t do anything for 7 or 8 months," said Lecavalier who retired last June. "It’s seems like everything is 40% slower."
"I have actually been cheating a little bit," said 38-year-old Fedotenko. "I’ve been skating the last two weeks, twice a week, but prior to that I basically didn’t skate for a year. So I feel a little winded."
In addition to Andreychuk, Lecavalier, and Fedotenko other players practicing in the first group included Dmitry Afanasenkov, Nikita Alexeev, Chris Dingman, Vinny Prospal and Paul Ysebaert. Rob DiMaio and Tim Taylor are flying in on Friday.
The Alumni Game will benefit the Ritchie Hockey Foundation. It is for charity and overall fun, but as former pro athletes these guys are conditioned to compete. However, former Stanley cup captain, Andreychuk stopped just short of guaranteeing a win.
"I know we’re younger," said Andreychuk. "Let’s just say. I don’t know if younger beats older."
"When you play you might as well try to win," said Lecavalier. "They are stacking up their team and we are doing the same."
The Lightning-Bruins Alumni game is airing on Spectrum Sports, Saturday 18th at 9:00 p.m.
*TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING ALUMNI ROSTER:
Dave Andreychuk (C)
Vincent Lecavalier (C)
Freddy Modin (A)
Tim Taylor (C)
Paul Ysebaert (C)
Head coach: Phil Esposito
BOSTON BRUINS ALUMNI ROSTER:
Ken Hodge, Jr.
Head coaches: Don Awrey and Michael Thelven
HOCKEY DAY IN TAMPA BAY SCHEDULE – SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18
9 a.m. - Start of Chase Street Lightning Tournament
12 p.m. - Gear Sale Doors Open
12:30 p.m. - Regular Doors Open
1-2:15 p.m. - Sled Hockey Game with Lightning Alumni
2:45-4 p.m. - Honda LHSHL All-Star Game
4-4:30 p.m. - Lightning Made Skills Competition
5-6:30 p.m. - Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Boston Bruins Alumni Game
7-8:30 p.m. - LHSHL Championship Game
Tickets to Hockey Day in Tampa Bay are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. All proceeds for the event will go to the Jason Ritchie Foundation and Lightning Sled Hockey.
*Lightning PR contribution