|TAMPA BAY – Twelve-year NHL veteran Tim Taylor has been named the eighth captain in Tampa Bay Lightning history, it was announced by Lightning Executive Vice President & General Manager Jay Feaster. Additionally, the Lightning’s assistant captains will be Vincent Lecavalier and Brad Richards, Feaster announced. Lecavalier had served as an assistant captain the past three seasons, and Taylor wore the “A” the second half of last season following the departure of previous captain Dave Andreychuk.
"Tim Taylor has been a leader in the locker room since the first day he arrived in Tampa,” Feaster said. “What many people don't realize is how instrumental Tim's leadership was in helping us bounce back from what could have been a devastating loss to Philadelphia in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals in 2004. It was a very calm, cool, collected Tim Taylor who looked straight into the television cameras after Game 6 and said, 'We have to look the devil in the eye.' While other story lines may have been more glamorous at the time, we tend to forget that it was Tim Taylor who had 'been there, done that' in terms of having already won a Stanley Cup. He was a huge presence in our locker room at the time and he has continued to be a leader for this organization in every way possible.
“We are very pleased that Tim has embraced the challenge that comes with wearing the 'C' for this hockey team and we are confident that Tim, Brad and Vinny will provide the necessary guidance and direction both on and off the ice while helping to reinforce John Tortorella’s team concept within the room.”
Taylor, 37, appeared in all 82 regular season games for the Lightning in 2005-06 and played in all five games during the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs. He matched his best goal production with the team as he recorded seven goals while also registering 13 points. Taylor led the team in face-off percentage among players with more than 50 games played, winning 52.1 percent in 2005-06, and is annually near the NHL lead in that category. An important part of the penalty-killing unit, Taylor averaged 2:35 of shorthanded ice time per game.
The 6-foot-1, 188-pound Stratford, Ontario native appeared in 82 games for the first time in his career with the Lightning in 2002-03 and has played in all 82 games for three consecutive seasons. In 2003-04 he recorded more than 20 points for the first time since the 1997-98 season and led the Lightning in face-off percentage while ranking eighth in the NHL (59.6 percent).
“From the time we brought Tim into the organization he has consistently brought a quiet, steady leadership influence, unnoticed by the outside, but respected in the locker room,” Lightning head coach John Tortorella said. “With the new additions to the team this year, we look for just that in Tim, his steady, honest influence in re-cultivating the tightness needed in the locker room for us to continue our success on the ice.
“Also, we believe Brad, in wearing a letter for the first time in his career with us, is taking another step in his process of assuming leadership within a National Hockey League team. We look forward to his continued development.”
Taylor was acquired in a trade with the New York Rangers on June 30, 2001. Prior to joining the Lightning, he scored 50 goals and 106 points in 381 games during stints with the Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins and Rangers. Taylor set career marks with Boston in 1997-98 with 20 goals – three shorthanded – and 31 points. He also brought 44 games of previous post-season experience to the Lightning, including a Stanley Cup title in 1997 as a member of the Detroit Red Wings. He has appeared in 675 career NHL games and has scored 72 goals while handing out 89 assists in 12 seasons.
Selected in the second round, 36th overall, at the 1988 NHL Entry Draft by the Washington Capitals, Taylor made his NHL debut on December 18, 1993 with the Detroit Red Wings at Montreal (scoring his first goal). Regarded as one of the NHL's best defensive centers, Taylor was a prolific scorer in the AHL and OHL, leading the AHL in points (117) and assists (81) in 79 games with Adirondack during the 1993-94 season and the OHL in post-season scoring with 21 goals and 46 points in 21 games for London during the 1989 playoffs.
“I’m very proud and honored,” Taylor said. “During my career I’ve had the opportunity to learn from the best captains in the game such as Steve Yzerman, Raymond Bourque, Mark Messier, Brian Leetch and, of course, Dave Andreychuk. I understand a good leader doesn’t always have to be the biggest, the strongest or the best; he just has to be one who cares an awful lot. As a team we’re excited about our challenge this season. Last year was unacceptable after winning the Stanley Cup, and we want to come back and with more grit and determination as a team. I’m thrilled by this honor and looking forward to the challenge.”