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Quick Strikes for Thursday, June 4

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There's nothing but love in today's edition of Quick Strikes.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
  • Apparently Tampa Bay Lightning fans aren't the only ones who adore majority owner Jeff Vinik. So does NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. And a whole bunch of other people, too. Like you needed to know that, right? [Tampa Tribune]
  • Speaking of love-fests, Wayne Gretzky is very impressed with both Stanley Cup Final teams' captains Steven Stamkos and Jonathan Toews for the Chicago Blackhawks. And it just degenerates into all kinds of gushiness by a number of other people from there. In a very hockey sort of way, of course. [ESPN]
  • Who doesn't love playoff beards? It was likely a difficult choice, and I put a couple of candidates out there myself, but the crew from What's Up, Ya Sieve? decided upon three from each team. Discuss and argue amongst yourselves.... [Puck Daddy]
  • Now it's time for some lovely nostalgia of the 2004 Stanley Cup win kind. Former Bolt Brad Richards is back in Tampa to try to win another Cup. But for the other team, as we all know. Let's take a little walk down memory lane, shall we? [Kelowna Daily Courier]
  • We move on to some hometown pride sort of love. Black ace Luke Witkowski may not see a minute of playing time during the Final, but he's soaking up the experience. And his town in Michigan couldn't be prouder of him. [Holland Sentinel]
  • If you're looking to catch up on some Syracuse Crunch news and features, here are some podcasts to help you do that. [ESPN Radio]
  • Former Lightning prospect Cory Conacher is playing for his second Calder Cup ring with the Utica Comets (Vancouver Canucks). And you can watch him do that versus the Manchester Monarchs (Los Angeles Kings) for online through AHL Live starting on Saturday. It's not the best quality video feed, to be honest, but at least it's free. [AHL.com]
  • Here's more news about another former Bolt, this time, he's also a former Syracuse Crunch player as well from back in the day. Zenon Konopka didn't play professional hockey this season, and he only played 23 games the season before. But, he would like to get back to playing again.  [St. Catherines Standard]
  • Owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle have requested an internal financial review of the Pittsburgh Penguins in preparation to sell part of the team. This isn't a sure thing, at this point, and both will retain partial ownership. They're just looking into their options right now. [Pittsburgh Penguins]
  • The Detroit Red Wings are expected to promote their AHL coach Jeff Blashill to the Wings new head coach. The Grand Rapids Team made it to the AHL Western Conference Final this season, before losing to Utica in six games. Two seasons ago, they beat the Crunch to win the Calder Cup. [Winging It In Mowtown]
  • This post caused quite a stir on Twitter yesterday. It's about the nature of hockey fandom, and how NHL fans treat those newbies just wanting to learn the game. There were a lot of good tweet going around about the topic, actually. [Pension Plan Puppets]