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Quick Strikes for Monday, February 1

It hinges on Steven Stamkos. Not the KHL's expansion to Sweden (not happening), not John Scott's All-Star performance (woo!), not Gary Bettman contract extension (boo!)... Just the Bolts future. Your morning reads are here.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
  • It's been mused about and speculated upon and remains a truth: The future of the Lightning hinges on the future of Steven Stamkos and where things go with his contract extension. [Tampa Tribune]
  • John Scott, ladies and gentlemen: You cannot stop him, you can only hope to contain him*. [SB Nation]
  • If you missed it, Saturday night's NHL All-Star skills competition had the individualization and character that makes it the best aspect in the weekend of events. Chewbacca the Wookie would agree. [Tampa Bay Times]
  • One side-story for the All-Star weekend that deserves attention is the NHL coming to the aid of Denna Laing. Laing was crippled during outdoor play in the New Years Eve game between the NWHL and CWHL. [The Pink Puck]
  • Another side story which will not be taken so positively: Commissioner Gary Bettman has signed a seven-year contract extension with the national hockey league. [St. Louis Game Time]
  • Note - Fox Sports Florida will be carrying tonight's AHL All-Star game live at 7 PM. FS Florida Sun will carry a re-airing of the game starting at 11 PM. The complete broadcast schedule is here. [The AHL]
  • The days ahead in the second (not quite) half of the NHL season has a rare anomaly playing out worth keeping an eye on: All 7 Canadian based teams are all on the outside, looking in, regarding the playoffs and it may very well stay that way. They're all on the outside at the moment, Lyle speculates on why. [Spector's Hockey]
  • It wasn't long ago the Carolina Hurricanes were just above the basement of the NHL. Now they're part of the wild card race in the Eastern Conference. They're resurgence can continue going forward... [Canes and Coffee]
  • "Shoot! Shoot it!" It has been and is an influence to some. [CBC]
  • The Arizona Coyotes are moving, or working on the plans to do just that. Relocation? Not exactly; they're working on an arena deal with Arizona State University in Tempe. [ABC 15]
  • Sweden will not take on a Kontinental Hockey League franchise. [Today's Slapshot]
  • With the NHL All-Star game passed for 2016, trade deadline speculation and rumors go into effect immediately. One name of speculative writings is Florida Panthers center Brandon Pirri. [Canucks Army]
  • Of course your tip-top, wham-bam, summarized and satisfied place for transaction speculation is with Lyle Richardson at Spector's Hockey. He's got a special section just for some (other) bloggers speculating on possible transactions... Like Jason Reimer being traded to the Canadiens.[Spector's Hockey]
  • The Maple Leafs are retooling the team brand for their centennial season, a sneak peak lets you know the past is a major influence on the future look. [Today's Slapshot]

* The NHL tried to do just that, contain him if not outright stop him and fan influence in placing him in the 2016 NHL All-Star game. Their attempt backfired and one repeat factor in the Nashville game was fan revelry in Scott's presence and revilement of just about everyone else.