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Quick Strikes: TGIF!

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Get your weekend started off right with a mix of news from around the sport.

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Colorado Avalanche Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Lightning News

You love it, I love it - it’s the Tampa Bay Lightning winfographic!

Ah, Dave Mishkin. Never change.

Speaking of Nikita Kucherov, is it just me, or did he seem a little put out over the separation of him and Lightning captain Steven Stamkos?

Bulakhova: You were really good with Stamkos at the start of last season. What do you need to do to get these conditions back?

Kucherov: We played very easy hockey with a lot of communication. We were enjoying the hockey, but coach decided to separate us without a reason. Don’t know what to say.

Russian Goalie Duels need to be a new thing we get to pay attention to all the time.

The Lightning are looking amazing defensively this season, including a fabulous penalty kill. Those things alone put them almost to the top of ESPN’s power rankings for the past week.

Almost to the top. Pfffft. Ain’t nobody got time for that. I mean, sure, Hardev goes by points and doesn’t pinpoint possible end of season success, but...meh. It’s Friday!

Michael Jordan - yes, that Michael Jordan - has joined Jeff Vinik’s esports ownership group.

“I’m excited to expand my sports equity portfolio through my investment in aXiomatic. Esports is a fast-growing, international industry and I’m glad to partner with this great group of investors,” Jordan said in a statement.

Crunch Stuff

Change for Change is a charity initiative created by former Crunch captain Mike Angelidis and his teammates during their time here. The Crunch has kept the initiative going, and is kicking off this season’s fundraising by auctioning off Angelidis’ jersey from the team’s 25th anniversary opening night ceremony.

The Crunch doesn’t yet have an identity, and is still missing a few big pieces due to injury. Until things start to shake out, the Crunch will probably continue to fluctuate in power rankings.

One thing is certain: Fun will be had this Saturday in Syracuse, one way or another, thanks to the team’s Halloween festivities.

The Crunch plays in Toronto tonight, and Crunch broadcaster Lukas Favale has done a nice job keeping fans in on the road trip through his Twitter account:

Brent Axe media talked the Syracuse/Utica rivalry, the Buffalo Sabres, and his fantasy hockey league, among other topics, on a local podcast the other day.

Photographer Scott Thomas put together some photos from the Crunch/Utica game last Saturday.

Solar Bears Happenings

The Orlando Solar Bears recently landed Mitch Hults on loan from Syracuse. How is he feeling about his new organization?

Other!

Things in the NHL’s Western Conference are settling in. Kind of. Right?

The Calgary Flames are in a bit of a weird spot with respect to core defenseman T.J. Brodie, the Oilers are playing Connor McDavid as if they have two of him, and the Colorado Avalanche are accepting their one-line fate and rolling with it.

Tom Wilson is still suspended.

The Buffalo Sabres are getting production from their defense this season, something which is a bit unheard of. [Paywalled]

Ryan Suter played his 1,000th NHL game last night, and the AHL celebrated with him.

An old picture of Keith Kinkaid of the New Jersey Devils from his Union College days made for quite a Throwback Thursday.

The IR list continues to get a workout. The Boston Bruins made some moves yesterday, recalling d-man Jérémy Lauzon from Providence with an emergency recall while also placing Kevan Miller on Injured Reserve.

The Texas Stars, AHL affiliate of the Dallas Stars, are welcoming fans out onto the ice this weekend.