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Quick Strikes: Do you think Mikhail Sergachev will outscore the Habs in this game?

And the hockey world mourns the loss of the greatest goaltender ever

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Vegas Golden Knights
Dec 19, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev (98) skates with the puck during the third period against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena.
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The Bolts

Mikhail Sergachev recently gave a Russian-speaking interview to NHL.com after a Tampa Bay Lightning practice. Natalia (@exxtragalactic) of Raw Charge was kind enough to translate the video for us to read! [Raw Charge]

“It's great because [the other Russians] know everything. They've been here in the system for--how long, five years? They know everything, and they're used to the league and to Tampa, so it was much easier for me to settle in.”

Nikita Kucherov also spoke with the same outlet after Lightning practice. Thanks again to Natalia (@exxtragalactic) of Raw Charge who translated it for us! [Raw Charge]

“It's always great to play with such guys. Stamkos and Vlad are very smart and quick, so we feel the game the same way and easily understand each other on the ice. There are no problems. We often talk on and off the ice, discuss where we could get better or work harder; we talk a lot, and that's probably why we have good mutual understanding.”

As we remember the Sergachev for Jonathan Drouin trade, we look back upon the wizardry of Lightning GM Steve Yzerman. [Raw Charge]

“Take Jo Drouin. Please. Puck’s bad boy, a precocious talent, went to the brink with Yzerman. Drouin wanted to go back to Montreal, his hometown. Yzerman eventually made the deal. In return, the Lightning picked up 19-year-old Mikhail Sergachev. Drouin and the Habs are struggling. Sergachev has more goals than Drouin and more points than anyone on Montreal. He looks like a generational offensive defenseman.”

The Prospects

The World Juniors are here! Canada and the Czech Republic both played meaning Cal Foote, Brett Howden, Boris Katchouk, Taylor Raddysh, and Libor Hajek all got their first bits of action in the tournament.

Here are some highlights:

That puck came within a Foote of going in! [SB Nation]

Taylor Raddysh scores the brace for Canada...

...And gives a world-class celly!

Katchouk doesn’t put the puck IN the net directly, but we knew where the net was supposed to be and Boris put it there.

Here’s the full clip if you would like to hear the explanation of the goal as well.

Hajek gets the secondary assist on this goal that was primarily set up by the best player in the AHL: Filip Chytil.

When all the dust cleared, here’s what the baby Bolts accomplished after one game.

[CAN] Foote: 1.000 SV%

Cal Foote plays HIM or ME with Canadian teammate Dillon Dube. Their smiles when they agree is so cute.

This analysis of Boris Katchouk by Corey Pronman makes him sound like the archetype of the Tampa Bay Lightning. [The Athletic]

Boris Katchouk, LW, Tampa Bay: Katchouk has some ability with the puck, but he gets his value through his speed, IQ and, particularly, his work ethic. In this game, he showed that he can out will opponents to pucks to generate offense and has enough talent to make a few plays when he does win the puck.”

Adirondack Thunder week 11 recap! [Raw Charge]

“After three days off for Christmas, the Thunder get back to work with 3 more games to close out the 2017 portion of the schedule.

Wednesday, Manchester returns to Glens Falls for the third midweek match-up in a row.

Saturday, the Thunder travel to Reading to start a home and home series with the Royals, then return home on New Year’s Eve to finish the two game set.”

You can read full prospect reports for all of the Lightning prospects over at BoltProspects.com [Bolt Prospects]

“A late rally by the Russian WJC squad fell short as the Czech Republic team held on for a 5-4 victory in the tournament opening match. Hajek started the game and played a whopping 9:24 in the first, leading all skaters by a wide margin. Hajek assisted on Ostap Safin’s (EDM, 2017 4th round pick) goal in the 1st to pull the Czechs ahead 2-1.”

The Game

The New Jersey Devils have hired Athletic writer and former Video Coach for the Sudbury Wolves Rachel Doerrie to be their Player Information/Video analyst. Oh, and did I mention she’s my age? (21 for those who are counting at home). Keep breaking barriers Rachel! [Why I’ll be the first female NHL GM]

The Toronto Maple Leafs organization — and the whole hockey world for that matter — lost a legend last night. Johnny Bower passed away at the age of 93. As a native Torontonian, we all genuinely thought Mr. Bower would live forever. Live to see the team bring back a Stanley Cup after he did four times in the 60’s. including 1967. It’s hard to describe how loving, warm, and precious Mr. Bower was to everyone he touched so I’m going to post some tweets and articles from people more eloquent than me. For a full list of heart-felt posts, go to my twitter.

“Johnny Bower is an instantly recognizable name in Toronto and beyond. It brings to mind a kind gentleman who would take time to speak to every fan he could, no matter where he was. He would sign every stick, card, jersey, and scrap of paper held out to him at a Leafs game, alumni event, or Tim Horton’s location near his home in Mississauga.” [Pension Plan Puppets]

“Even when he was long gone from manning the Toronto Maple Leafs’ crease, maskless face famously gnarled by bloody encounters with enemy pucks, he was with us. He remained one of the sport’s most beloved philosophers, as prominent in community outreach as any Leaf alumnus in history. He was a remarkably affable and intelligent storyteller even as he reached his 90s.” [The Hockey News]

Do the Edmonton Oilers still have a shot at the playoffs? [Copper and Blue]

“The team belched out to a 7-12-2 record at that point, a mere 16 points out of a possible 44.

“Since then, they’ve gone 10-5-0. In that time, they’ve outscored their opponents by a combined score of 55-41.”

Highlight of the Night: three words at high speed: Hand, Eye, Coordination.