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Quick Strikes: All eyes on Vinny as Tampa Bay Lightning retire #4 tonight

And Olympic hockey coverage!

2018 NHL All-Star - Luncheon
Former Tampa Bay Lightning player Vincent Lecavalier (L) speaks on stage with Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper (R) at the podium during NHL All-Star luncheon at the Tampa Aquarium on January 26, 2018 in Tampa, Florida.
Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images

The Bolts

The Tampa Bay Lightning made from last season to this season. Who among the newcomers have you like? Who have you disliked? Have your say in our fan poll. [Raw Charge]

All three came to the team with some reservations from at least some of the fans. Mikhail Sergachev was young and unproven in exchange for Jonathan Drouin who had already demonstrated considerable skill with yet-untapped potential. Dan Girardi was seen as an aging veteran in decline with little to offer. Chris Kunitz was someone who people outside of Pittsburgh simply did not like.

Vancouver Canucks v Tampa Bay Lightning
Mikhail Sergachev

Elliotte Friedman had a few very interesting thoughts on the Tampa Bay Lightning. JustinG had a few thoughts about those thoughts. [Raw Charge]

Thought 12: “Quote of the week is from Steve Yzerman, asked what he learned about his team without Victor Hedman: “I like our team better when he’s healthy.”

Well, leave it to Mr. Yzerman to state the obvious. Of course the Lightning are better with Hedman. Just like hot wings are better with cold beer and Alex Killorn’s Instagram is better with Andrej Sustr.

Vincent Lecavalier and Jon Cooper finally have the same job. They both coach a handful of super-talented children. [Tampa Bay Times]

The Bulls were stunned to find the Stanley Cup sitting on a bar table in the driveway. They touched, hugged and kissed the Cup, posing for photos. The coach is former Lightning star Vinny Lecavalier, who will have his No. 4 retired Saturday at Amalie Arena in front of a sellout crowd, including 40 family and friends. Most of his Bulls team will be in the stands, too. But to them, he’s just “Coach Vinny.”

”That’s one of the benefits of having a Stanley Cup champion as your head coach,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “It’s like hitting the coaching lottery.”

In a blast from the past, here’s a “rough translation” of an interview Vinny did while playing hockey in Europe during the second Bettman lockout. [SP Times]

Tampa Bay Lightning star Vinny Lecavalier returns home this week after four months of playing hockey in Russia, exiled because of the NHL lockout. This month, Times staff writer Tom Jones and photographer Dirk Shadd traveled 26 hours over three days to Kazan, 412 miles east/southeast of Moscow, to chronicle what Lecavalier described as the experience of a lifetime.

We’re sitting in here, and I’m supposed to be the franchise player, and we in here talking about practice. I mean, listen, we’re talking about practice, not a game, not a game, not a game, we talking about practice. Not a game. [Raw Charge]

One of the cool things to do as a fan is to attend a practice or training camp. They are a chance for fans to get a rare insight into the fundamentals that build the team system and structure or the reinforcement of good game habits. Think of it as getting to see your favorite players in their own habitat!

The Prospects

The Syracuse Crunch came close but ultimately fell to the Hartford Whalers Wolf Pack 4-3 in the shootout. [Auburn Citizen]

“The first period we weren’t doing many things right. I don’t think we had our legs and it seemed we were sluggish a little bit. Second, like I mentioned, you take two goals like that and it’s tough to recover right away. I thought we did that in the third,” Groulx said. “We had a very good third period, good overtime and we ended up losing in a shootout.”

The young Lightning prospects keep up their fantastic pace on the scoresheet. Alexander Volkov, Mitchell Stephens, and Mathieu Joseph all scoring goals in this game. Anthony Cirelli threw in an assist for good measure.

In junior hockey, Boris Katchouk had a goal and two assists against the Niagara Ice Dogs (suck it, Seldo!) to earn him first star of the game, and the win of course. [Bolt Prospects]

Katchouk (pictured) scored on a 2nd period penalty shot and added two power play assists en route to earning First Star honors in the Greyhounds 7th straight win. Katchouk eclipsed his point and assist totals from last season in 23 fewer games. Frost and Katchouk are #1 and #2 in the OHL in plus-minus.

The Games

The New York Rangers President Glen Sather and General Manager Jeff Gorton released an open letter to Rangers fans. The letter essentially started that the team will be selling off the core and rebuilding. Unorthodox, but good move by the team to help ease a market who hasn’t seen losing since before the second Bettman lockout. [Blueshirt Banter]

It was 3-0. Then it was 3-1. Then it was 6-6. And then it ended 6-7. That’s how the New York Islanders Detroit Red Wings game last night went down. It included a match penalty to Tyler Bertuzzi for slashing, a historic five-point (all assists) night for Mathew Barzal, and an overtime goal by Brock Nelson for the hat trick. Phew. [Lighthouse Hockey]

Six minutes after puck drop in this Friday night tilt between the New York Islanders and the Detroit Red Wings, the score was 2-0 to the Red Wings. With less than two minutes left, it was 6-5 Islanders. And when the clock hit 0, it was 6-6. But then, after a messed up non-penalty call in overtime, Brock Nelson put the game to rest with his third goal of the game. That’s hockey, as they say. What a game.

At the Olympics, this early morning saw the Swedes beat Japan by a score of 2-1. Sara Hjalmarsson and Fanny Rask with the goals for Sweden. [Olympic Boxscore]

Switzerland and Korea is playing as I finish this and after one period it’s 6-0 for Switzerland. I wonder if it’ll end anything like the NYIvsDET game.

As for the men, they have not started their tournament yet, they begin on the 14th. In the meantime, here is a full breakdown of their brackets and what to expect. [Stanley Cup of Chowder]

Am I gonna be up that late to watch all of this?

Not gonna lie, you’re probably gonna miss a few games, but luckily the scheduling is such that many of the games happen just as you’re waking up or on your way/at work. It’ll be something to keep on in the background while you do your thing for the day!

Highlight of the Night: Henrik Lundqvist needed to be quick, but Curtis Lazar was quicker.