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Quick Strikes: Christmas wishes from the Bolts

Dogs, more dogs, and sweet family photos from Ryan Callahan.

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NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Washington Capitals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Bolts posted a few Christmas messages yesterday. I’m sensing that Palat and Johnson celebrated Dogmas too.

Merry christmas everyone ☀️

A photo posted by #18 Ondrej Palat (@pally_18) on

Merry Floridian Christmas from Riesling and I!

A photo posted by Tyler Johnson (@tjohnny09) on

Merry Christmas @nesterova_katya89 ❤❤❤

A photo posted by NikitaNesterov (@nikitanesterov_official) on

The Bolts

Lightning's Brown mentors at-risk kids in team outreach program (w/ video). "Brown, 26, is ... a mentor and hockey coach to the 36 at-risk kids in the Lightning's "Guide the Thunder" program. Especially for the black students, Brown is a relatable example. The former University of Minnesota-Duluth star is one of about 30 black players in the NHL." [Tampa Bay Times]

The League

Top NHL moments from 2016. "NHL.com looks at 16 of the moments that helped define hockey in 2016." [NHL.com]

Top NHL personalities of 2016. "NHL.com looks at 16 of the people who helped define the sport in 2016." [NHL.com]

Top NHL viral moments of 2016. "From cats, dogs to penalty-box photobomb, League caused internet stir." [NHL.com]

Top all-time NHL scorers unlikely to be challenged. "Unless there are some major rule changes like shrinking of the goalie’s equipment or widening of the net, the top three all-time goal scorers: Gretzky (894), Howe (801) and Jagr (755), also seem as reachable as Neptune." [St. Louis Dispatch]

BCHL and U.S. colleges create an alternate route to the NHL. "[T]he number of players in the NHL coming from the college ranks, the preferred route for many American players, has climbed significantly. Collegiate alumni account for about 30 per cent of NHL players, up from around 20 per cent in the early 2000s." [Globe and Mail]

Larry Brooks decided to spend Christmas ranting about statistics. Why is NHL hiding valuable stats and keeping fans in the dark? "What is the NHL doing with the data? How do goaltenders stack up on breakaways? Who knows? There is no data. Which skaters have the most breakaways? Who converts most? Who is the worst? Who knows? Which team creates the most breakaways? Which team yields the most? Who knows? There is no data. Why not? Who knows?" [New York Post]

WJC

Bolts give Canada F Joseph a contract ahead of WJC. "I thought it would happen at the end of the season, but I guess it was a good time for Tampa to sign it," said Joseph, who is one of five Lightning draft picks playing for Canada at the world juniors. "It feels good, honestly. Everyone knows there's a lot of prospects in Tampa so it was good to sign this contract and get it out of the way before Christmas and now I can focus on the tournament." [TSN]

Comrie lives out dream. "Growing up in Edmonton, Alberta, Eric Comrie dreamed of an opportunity to represent Canada at an IIHF World Junior Championship." [World Junior 2017]

TSN Hockey Bobcast: Tales from the World Juniors. "And if you’ve never seen the highlights of Wayne Gretzky against the Czechs on December 26, 1977, look it up on YouTube because he just danced his way through the Czechoslovakian team." [TSN]

Five stories to watch in the World Junior championship. [Globe and Mail]

Excitement, skill give World Juniors a well-earned spot on the hockey calendar. “All the scouts are watching,” says Jakub Zboril, who skated with the Czech Republic in 2016 after being drafted by the Boston Bruins and will make his second appearance this year. “North American scouts will not be at European games as much. You are representing your country and have to be passionate about it, it’s really important for us.” [Sports Illustrated]

What did our prospects do for Christmas? Hang around the team:

Merry Christmas everyone! #santasreal

A photo posted by Mitchell Stephens (@stephens2727) on

SANTA!! Merry Christmas ❤️

A photo posted by @connoringram on