Pressure building for Vincent Lecavalier

Pierre LeBrun

Any other year, and Vincent Lecavalier’s so-so start to the season wouldn’t have generated this much attention.But this happens to be the first season of an 11-year, $85 million contract, a deal which pays him $10 million a season for the first seven years.

This also happens to be an Olympic year, which means, at least in Canada, his so-so start has generated big-time buzz.

And believe me, the people who will be picking Team Canada’s 2010 lineup have also noticed. The 29-year-old Lecavalier is very much on the bubble after producing just one goal in the month of October.

Lecavalier, speaking to a handful of us Tuesday night in Toronto, said his first concern is always the Tampa Bay Lightning, but, obviously, the Olympics are also weighing on him.

“It’s also in the back of my mind that I want to be part of this Olympic team,” Lecavalier said after Tampa Bay’s 2-1 overtime win over Toronto. “Even though I struggled a little bit in the first month, I really think if I have a good month of November — I don’t know exactly when they pick that team — but if I have a good month and a half, hopefully I can be part of that team.”

Team Canada will announce its roster Dec. 31. Lecavalier has some work to do in the meantime. He played one of his better games of the season Tuesday night at Air Canada Centre with Team Canada GM Steve Yzerman and his management staff looking on. The relief on his face after scoring his second goal of the season was palpable. He needed that goal.