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Quick Strikes: Victor Hedman named Assistant Captain for Sweden

Hedman will wear the "A" for Sweden, a full translation of Kucherov's interview, and a rebuttal to a local columnist's latest piece.

Swedish Ice Hockey Association

The Bolts

Nikita Kucherov gave a very candid interview in Russian on Wednesday. Thanks to the help of a couple of Russian-speaking Tampa Bay Lightning fans, we were able to compile a translation of the interview which we believe accurately reflects his thoughts and provides some important context for a couple of "bombshell" quotes that circulated online. [Raw Charge]

Erik Erlendsson offers his perspective on Kucherov’s comments. "There are two particular passages in there that made the rounds in social media that caught the attention of many. I’ll try to give my best interpretation, taking on one at a time." [Lightning Insider, subscription]

"Kucherov is a man of few words for the most part with the media (sometimes, only one word), but he certainly let them flow in this one. But if you are Kucherov, can you blame him for feeling frustrated?" [The Hockey Writers]

A local columnist recently suggested that Kucherov should "shut his yapsky" and "show some guts." We feel differently. "'Show some guts' — is a strange thing to say to the player who literally carried this team on his back this year; who played through injury; who was so frustrated by the on-ice results that he uncharacteristically led the team in fights at one point in the season. Here, I question why Fennelly didn’t put in a call to Kucherov’s agent to talk to him directly. Was it a matter of 'showing some guts?'" [Raw Charge]

"The two-starting-goalie system has been implemented by a handful of NHL teams in recent seasons, and quite frankly, for the most part, it has not worked out well at all... Let’s examine what went wrong with the Bolts' goaltending situation this year." [Raw Charge]

The Prospects

The Syracuse Crunch are delivering entertaining playoff hockey. "The Crunch marketing machine has tabbed the theme of the 2017 Playoffs 'Fin15h,' a clever play off the number of wins it would require to take a celebratory drink from the Calder Cup. They now have two wins marked off on that quest following Wednesday's win over St. John's. It's going to take 13 more wins like the one earned on Wednesday to win the Cup." [Syracuse.com]

Brett Howden continues to impress. "The Crunch's lineup of forwards is as deep with NHL-caliber past, present and future talent as it's ever been in the 23-season history of the franchise. And yet there's Howden, yanking away minutes of his own amid that group, both in crucial late regular season games (3-1 in five contests) and now in the postseason." [Syracuse.com]

Anthony Cirelli was named second star of the OHL for his two-point (1G, 1A) performance on Wednesday.

The Worlds

Team Sweden announced their leadership core for the IIHF Worlds. Joel Lundqvist, brother of New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, will serve as captain. Victor Hedman and Gabriel Landeskog were named assistant captains. [Swedish Ice Hockey Association]

Andrei Vasilevskiy will be between the pipes for Russia at the IIHF World Championship. "Because of his busy season, we have decided not to call Sergei [Bobrovsky] up. We have given Andrei Vasilevskiy an opportunity at the World Championship to be the number one goalkeeper." [Russian Ice Hockey Federation]

Hedman, Anton Stralman and the rest of Team Sweden defeated Vladislav Namestnikov, Kucherov, Vasilevskiy and the test of Team Russia 4-3 in overtime of the first preliminary game.

The Game

The first game of the Pittsburgh Penguins - Washington Captials series lived up to the hype, including two goals by Sidney Crosby in less than a minute.

A political speechwriter and lifelong Washington Capitals fan opened up about writing the only speech he didn't truly believe in. "I’ve believed in every leader I wrote for in the White House, State Department and Senate, and never was asked to promote a policy that contradicted my conscience or violated my values. With one exception: Last October, I helped President Obama honor the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. And I hate the Pittsburgh Penguins." [Washington Post]

The Ottawa Senators defeated the New York Rangers 2-1.