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Quick Strikes: “Hope is a very powerful feeling” says Cooper

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Jon Cooper talks about the power of hope, Boyle scraps with Sustr, and a few injury updates.

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Bolts

Coach Jon Cooper understands the importance of tonight’s game against the Wild. “Our most desperate game this year has to be against Minnesota...Our hope now is we're still playing pretty good and now we're getting rewarded for it. Hope is a very powerful feeling.” [NHL]

Lightning prospect Bokondji Imama is having a stellar year in the QMJHL and he’s not taking anything for granted. “My parents came from far away and they didn't always have it easy here or (in the Congo). I always tell my mom and dad that I’m grateful for this and that I love them for this (opportunity). I'm lucky enough to be playing hockey and living my dream, so I know when things are not going well I don't have any excuses – I just have to make sure I go up the hill and not down it.” [Loose Pucks]

Andrej Sustr and Brian Boyle got into a little fight at practice, but both insist it was nothing serious. Sustr recently had dental work done and Boyle quipped that he would “absolutely not” pay if he accidentally caused any damage.

It looks like Alex Killorn and Ondrej Palat will suit up for the Bolts tonight. “Both players’ statuses are probable as the Bolts hit the road for a four-game trip starting with the Wild, who are only four points behind Washington for the league lead in points.” [Raw Charge]

Tyler Johnson missed practice yesterday and his status is uncertain, so the Lightning need another forward. You know what that means... It’s time to recall Erik Condra! [Raw Charge]

Jones: What's really wrong with the Lightning. "This Lightning's collapse has been a Molotov cocktail of underachievement, fatigue, injuries and staleness brought on by loyalty to a core that maybe should have been broken up long ago." [Tampa Bay Times]

The League

Mikko Koivu wrote a beautiful letter about his sixteen years playing for the Minnesota Wild. “Every time I run into a fan at the grocery store, or at the park, they’re always so kind. That’s the part that gets me. Even when we were struggling, people would come up to me and thank me. They’d tell me how much the team meant to them and that they knew we were going to turn it around. It’s unlike anywhere I’ve ever lived. I want to repay that faith.” [The Players’ Tribune]

With the 2018 Olympics less than a year away, the NHL has yet to decide if it’s going to send players to Pyeongchang. What’s holding them back? “It’s all about the money, baby. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. If you don’t mind NHL players skipping the Olympics (frankly, I don’t) fair enough. But don’t accept the NHL’s arguments for doing so.” [Fear the Fin]

After a promising start to the season, the Montreal Canadiens have recently struggled to find success. “So how to turn this season around again? Well, GM Marc Bergevin apparently wanted to hear it from his players. According to Danny Dube of TVA Sports (via Nicolas Poulin), Bergevin met with Max Pacioretty, Carey Price and Shea Weber on Wednesday without Therrien present. He later met with Therrien, without the players.” [Puck Daddy]