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Quick Strikes: First practice sheds some light on unresolved Tampa Bay Lightning roster

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The Bolts are only carrying 19 healthy skaters.

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Los Angeles Kings
Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) celebrates with defenseman Anton Stralman (6) center Steven Stamkos (91) and defenseman Slater Koekkoek (29) his goal scored against the Los Angeles Kings during the first period at Staples Center. 
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Bolts

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Louis Domingue joined the Lightning Power Play podcast to introduce him to the Tampa Bay hockey community. @Saima_1226 has transcribed the interview for accessibility. [Raw Charge]

Domingue: He’s the head coach, general manager, washes the bathroom - he wants to do everything, you know what I mean? [Engblom and audience laugh] My second year, he fired the goalie coach. He said, “I’m going to be the goalie coach,” but I’m like, “You don’t have that much time on your hands.”

Hey, remember when Wendel Clark was a Bolt? Well, he was the only Lightning representative at Tampa Bay’s first All-Star Game back in 1999. [Raw Charge]

“Wayne Gretzky was in his final year in the league while playing with the New York Rangers. All-Star Games are aptly named, but between Paul Kariya, Mike Modano, Dominik Hasek, and Jaromir Jagr, just to name a few, the ‘99 weekend was jam packed with talent.”

The Tampa Bay Lightning hit the ice for their first skate in five days and gave us a first look at the new defense corps sans top pivot Victor Hedman. [NHL dot com]

“In any situation like this, you’re thinking, worst case scenario, ‘Oh my gosh, he might be gone for the season,’” Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. “And now you get the word that it’s a month or whatever it is, and then you get selfish and say, ‘Well, why couldn’t it be two weeks?’ But, we’re happy that he’s going to come back.”

Slater Koekkoek “honored” to play with a defenseman like Anton Stralman. It’s a big opportunity for the former 10th overall pick in 2012.

And just for completeness, here’s how the forwards lined up on Wednesday.

Chris Kunitz is still on the top line, the new-look triplets line looks like they’re sticking together, Yanni Gourde has been a very solidifying presence on the third line, and Ryan Callahan is back to full health for fourth-line duty.

No one has been called up to replace J.T. Brown yet so the Lightning are still only carrying 21 healthy roster players. There is space for one more player, with a second being able to come aboard if Hedman is placed on retroactive injured reserve.

Speaking of scrambling to replace hockey’s Thor, what if Mikhail Sergachev replaces Heddy at the All-Star Game? [Tampa Bay Times]

“This still is probably a long-shot, however, for Sergachev to make the team as an injury replacement. Would think Morgan Rielly (31 points) could get picked. or Charlie McAvoy (24 points, plus-15). Both play bigger roles (and more minutes) with their respective teams, McAvoy and Rielly averaging more than 22 minutes per game (Sergachev at 15:41, but rising).”

The Prospects

This past week, the Syracuse Crunch extended their winning streak to nine games. Here’s how the players did. [NHL dot com]

Mitchell Stephens, 20, paced the Crunch with five points (2g, 3a) in Week 15. He highlighted the week with his first career three-point game (1g, 2a) in Saturday’s win against Rochester. He also had an assist Wednesday and a goal Monday in two games against Binghamton. Stephens, 20, has a team-high 10 points (6g, 4a) during the Crunch’s nine-game winning streak. He has 12 goals, tied for the team lead, and 20 points this season.”

Several Hours Later

The Syracuse Crunch see their second-longest winning streak of the season snapped just short of double-digits in a 2-1 OT loss to Belleville. [Syracuse]

“Mitchell Stephens scored the lone Crunch goal as the team picked up one point on the road and moves to 24-12-2-2 on the season... Connor Ingram stopped 23-of-25 shots between the pipes for the Crunch. His counterpart, Danny Taylor, earned the win for the Senators with 18 saves. Syracuse converted on one of their three power play opportunities and went a perfect 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.”

Sometimes it’s good to be Young, Dumb, and Broke.

That, in fact, is how the Syracuse Crunch have been able to stay competitive despite massive roster turnover. [Syracuse]

“This team’s a young team. I like the phrase young and dumb,” Erik Condra said. “They don’t know any better. They are just going out and playing and having fun. It rejuvenates me and some of the older guys to enjoy the game sometimes.”

Libor Hajek returns to Regina and contributes a shot and assist in the Pats’ 4-3 win over Price Albert. [Bolt Prospects]

“Hajek notched his first point as a Pat, a power play assist on a 3rd period goal by former Montreal prospect Matt Bradley. It was Hajek’s 26th point of the season, equaling his point total from all last season in 30 fewer games. Regina rebounded from a 2-1 deficit, scoring three straight, including two by Bradley, stretching out a 4-2 lead and hanging on for the win.”

The Game

Thoughts and prayers with Matt Murray and his family.

The Washington Capitals “Caps” have reveal their jerseys for their Stadium Series game against Toronto on March 3rd. [Russian Machine Never Breaks]

“The team will be sporting a predominantly navy jersey with a shortened Caps logo as the crest. The sweaters also feature red and white stripes. According to the team, ‘the overall design aesthetic pays homage to the U.S. Navy and highlights key elements of the Capitals’ identity.’”

Check out RMNB if you want to see stills of Alex Ovechkin in the new threads.

Due to six inches of snow about to fall on the Charlotte area, the AHL Checkers told their fans to stay in the safety of their homes. But that didn’t stop the players for playing the game anyway. [ESPN]

“It’s more fun to play with people out there, but we need to do our best no matter what the situation,” said Wallmark, who had his first multigoal game of the season on Wednesday. “It was the first time for me playing that type of game, but it’s good to learn from that, too.”

Side note, in my night job as a reporter, I have been empty arenas before and it’s one of the most tranquil yet eerie places I’ve been to. I kind of like it, personally.

Highlight of the Night: The Boston Bruins honor the man who broke the color barrier in hockey, Willie O’Ree.

Bonus footage that came across my “desk”: Roberto Luongo was on the Weather Network in Vancouver and no one noticed!