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Quick Strikes: The Return of Slater Koekkoek

Koekkoek gets recalled, Bowness has words of warning for the team, and prospect Ingram shares some amusing insights on World Juniors camp.

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Bolts

Less than 72 hours after sending him to Syracuse, the Lightning recalled defenseman Slater Koekkoek along with forward Erik Condra to join the team on their road trip. [Tampa Bay Lightning]

The Lightning are not mediocre any more, but that’s not good news. They are trending in the wrong direction. “The Lightning rank 20th in the league in shots-for percentage and 21st in expected goals-for percentage. Both of those are indications that the Lightning are allowing their opponents to control play at 5v5.” [Raw Charge]

Our friends over at Bolts Jolts share their take on what is happening in Tampa Bay. “While the standings may look similar to last year, the process on the ice is most certainly not. At least not yet. But with the right people doing the right things, the season is in fact still young, and things can turn around quickly.” [Bolts Jolts]

Associate Coach Rick Bowness wants players to understand the gravity of their situation. “Do we want to overreact? Well, I don’t know. We’ve lost a lot of games lately, so we certainly better not underreact.” [Raw Charge]

Ryan Callahan may be injured, but it looks like he found a tiny replacement to take his spot in the lineup.

World Juniors

Hockey Canada’s World Junior Championship selection camp started on Saturday, featuring six Lightning prospects (Anthony Cirelli, Brett Howden, Mathieu Joseph, Taylor Raddysh, Mitchell Stephens, and Connor Ingram). We’ll keep you up to date on all the latest highlights and interviews from camp.

Game Recap (Exhibition Game): Team Canada vs University Sports [TSN Highlights]

I don’t usually watch junior hockey, but I probably should. It’s fun and fast with so many goals and scoring chances going in both directions. It’s basically a track meet with hockey sticks. The “University Sports” team is a group of elite former junior hockey players who are a few years older than the Canadian prospects, with Ingram serving as their goalie for this exhibition game.

The beginning of the game was dominated by Canada going up 4-0 (including goals by Raddysh and Stephens). About five minutes into the second period, the momentum swung in favor of University Sports who scored 3 unanswered goes to bring the game to 4-3. Canada scored a power play goal in the third, making the final score 5-3. Now that the two teams know each other a little better, I expect they’ll make some adjustments. Today’s rematch should be fun to watch. Here’s how the Lightning prospects performed:

  • F Brett Howden: 0G, 0A
  • F Taylor Raddysh: 1G, 0A
  • F Mitchell Stephens: 1G, 0A
  • G Connor Ingram: 0.828 SV%
  • Did not play: F Anthony Cirelli, F Mathieu Joseph

Connor Ingram is one of three goalies vying for two spots on Team Canada’s roster. Ingram is well-known for his quirky sense of humor. When asked how he handles the mental aspect of the game, Ingram smiled and said, “Try not to cry, I guess.” [TSN]

The Bolts have more prospects attending this year’s camp than any other NHL team which speaks to the Lightning’s ability to draft well. "It's a credit to the management staff in Tampa Bay for the prospects they've put into their system," said Mitchell Stephens. "It shows they're one of the top teams in the league for a reason." [TSN]

The League

The NHL’s most dominant division is the Metropolitan - and it’s not even close. “So, how did we get here? And how did all of the Metropolitan Division GMs make their dreams come true at the same time?” [SB Nation]

Johnny Gaudreau successfully trademarked his nickname “Johnny Hockey.” Maybe the folks over in the Vegas Golden Knights front office should call him and ask for help. [SB Nation]

To get you in the holiday spirit, enjoy the South Carolina Stingrays’ rendition of “Jingle Bell Rock” in the style of the 2004 classic Mean Girls.