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Quick Strikes: Nikita Kucherov and Tyler Johnson injury updates

Kuch is more likely to play on opening night than TJ.

NHL: Preseason-Carolina Hurricanes at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Bolts

Tampa Bay Lighting head coach Jon Cooper provided updates on the statuses of forwards Nikita Kucherov and Tyler Johnson on Monday.

If we guess based on that statement that Kucherov will be ready and Tyler Johnson will not, that opens up a hole on the right wing in the top nine. Yanni Gourde seems the obvious candidate to slide into Johnson’s spot on the second line with Brayden Point and Ondrej Palat. If that happens, Adam Erne looks ready to take over for Gourde on the third line leaving a fourth line of Cedric Paquette, Mathieu Joseph, and either Cory Conacher or Danick Martel.

Speaking of Martel, he switched from number 61 to number 62 yesterday. I hope he adds one to his number every few days. That would be fun.

Alex Killorn is usually good for some laughs when mic’d up. I like the part where he’s on the bench and sounds like a Letterkenny extra. Good stuff, boys. Way to go, boys.

The prospects

The Syracuse Crunch play their final preseason game this afternoon against the North Division rival Toronto Marlies. This will be the first game where the Crunch have a full roster. If you’d like to watch the Crunch, AHLTV is running a free trial this weekend October 5th - 8th. The Crunch’s season opener on the road against the Hershey Bears on Saturday is one of the games that will be available.

Speaking of having a full roster, that includes Alex Volkov who figures to be a key offensive contributor in Syracuse this season.

The Game

Two players announced their retirements. Radim Vrbata and Scott Hartnell both called an end to long productive careers in the NHL.

Several teams made changes to the bottom of their rosters with trades or waiver movement.

The Oilers traded Jakub Jarubek to the Blues for a 2020 6th round pick. They also lost Pontus Aberg on waivers to the Anaheim Ducks.

The Maple Leafs traded Connor Carick to the Dallas Stars for a conditional 7th round pick.

The Flames traded Brett Kulak to the Montreal Canadiens for Rinat Valiev and former Crunch standout Matt Taormina.

The Sabres sent Nick Baptiste to Nashville in exchange for Jack Dougherty.

The Canadiens made another move yesterday announcing Shea Weber as their captain. He is currently recovering from surgery and might not be back until March. The 33 year old defender is a good choice for captain as he will carry a $7.8 million cap hit in Montreal every year from now until the heat death of the universe. Post-heat-death, the cap hit drops to $5 million as per the CBA.

Micah Blake McCurdy released his season preview. Micah’s work is always great so if you enjoy statsy stuff, this is a fun article. I look forward to his previews every year.

ESPN released their “experts” final preseason power rankings today. The Lightning are in second overall after the Winnipeg Jets. The only disappointing part is that ESPN doesn’t release each expert’s picks individually. How am I supposed to know what to expect this season without hearing from Barry Melrose and his JNCO suits?

The Boston Globe wrote another Brad Marchand image rehabilitation article. I get that they cater to the Boston market (which is much worst than getting catering from Boston Market) but the homerism is thick here. I write for a fan blog and even I was like, “Jeez, maybe tone it down a little.“ The only thing the article seems to have a problem with with is Marchand’s tonguework. I guess I’m weird but I think ignoring all the head shots and treating him like an incorrigible toddler is carrying a bit too much water. But what do I know. Maybe the the stale air in this windowless basement is getting to me.