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Quick Strikes: Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik’s Community Hero program hits $15 million donated

Syracuse Crunch Karaoke Battles back for the Semi-Finals!

NHL: All Star Game-Skills Competition
Tampa Bay Lighting owner Jeff Vinik (L), poses with former hockey player Willie O’Ree and forward Steven Stamkos (91) and commissioner Gary Bettman (R) prior to the 2018 NHL All Star Game skills competition at Amalie Arena.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Bolts

The Tampa Bay Lightning kick their two-game losing streak to the curb with a nice thumping of the Detroit Red Wings. Plus, it looks like the the power play is waking up again. Now if only they can get the pesky penalty kill to sit still. [Raw Charge]

The first period wasn’t pretty, but the scoreboard said otherwise. The second was better, but they managed to keep their two-goal lead. The third was the best period they put forth this evening.

Nonetheless, the way Tampa Bay improved from period to period shows that they are adapting to what their opponent does to them. It might not always work, but that happens sometimes.

How will the Lightning play the NHL Trade Deadline? Geo looks at the past and assesses the present in order to shed some light onto the future. [Raw Charge]

While Yzerman’s answers were typically close to the vest for him, it did still remind us that he is very methodical when it comes to the trade deadline. He’s shown a willingness to buy pieces to make the team better and doesn’t make a move for the sake of making a move. With the 2017-18 trade deadline fast approaching, it’s worthwhile to look at what he’s done in the seasons when the Lightning were headed to the playoffs and sitting in a buyer’s position.

If the first step is finding what you need, the second step is finding who fits that mould. Is that player Mike Green? [Tampa Bay Times]

In some ways, Green makes sense. He’s a veteran right-shot defenseman with playoff experience. He’s a very good puck-mover and creator of offense, which would fit into the Lightning’s system. He’d be an upgrade on the right side over Andrej Sustr and Jake Dotchin, whose play has dropped off...And Green has a fan in the Lightning coach.

The Tampa Bay Lightning’s Community Hero program is meant to shed light on the great people doing selfless things in the community, but it must be acknowledged that Mr. Vinik has donated a grand total of $15 million. FIFTEEN MILLION DOLLARS! Thank you, Mr. Vinik!

Head coach Jon Cooper gives an update from his side of the Lightning organization in terms of the team, how they’re feeling, and what they’re in for during the final stretch before the playoffs. A spotlight also fell on Tyler Johnson, who hasn’t scored in 14 games. [Tampa Bay Times]

“We still like where we are in the standings. Would we love to win every single game? We would. But it’s 82 games and guys are giving us everything they have. Have we played the smartest hockey as of late? Probably not. But in the end, guys have been giving it their best, and that’s all you want.” - Jon Cooper

Should we call this goal Nikita Namestnikov? Or how about Vladdy Kucherov? Vladikita Namesterov? Either way, the Russian connection looked good here.

The Prospects

The Syracuse Crunch Karaoke Battle has reached round three and the winner of Reid McNeill vs. Daniel Walcott will decide who reaches the Finals out of the West.

Shane Conacher has been brought back up to the AHL Syracuse Crunch from the ECHL Adorindack Thunder. [Syracuse Crunch]

Conacher, 23, has played in 36 games with the Thunder this season, earning 42 points (11g, 30a). He has also appeared in seven games with the Crunch. Last season, he posted 11 points (2g, 9a) in 25 games with the Orlando Solar Bears of the ECHL. The 5-foot-9, 175-pound right wing also skated in three contests with the Toronto Marlies.

Speaking of Bolt relatives who are good at hockey, Christopher Paquette notched a goal and an assist in Peterborough’s 6-1 win over the Mississauga Steelheads. Here is him post-game.

Moose Jaw captain and first-round pick of the Lightning Brett Howden visited Warriors fan Tyler’s home to gift him with a couple sweet flags.

The Game

There were a couple of trades made in the NHL yesterday. One bigger than the other but neither really of any significance.

First, Nikita Soshnikov — who the Toronto Maple Leafs had left on IR for the majority of the season — has been dealt to the St. Louis Blues for a fourth-round pick in 2019. I know GM Lou Lamoriello didn’t “do anything illegal” but c’mon, we all knew what was happening there. At least it’s over now (for now). [Pension Plan Puppets]

The second trade was made between the Ottawa Senators and Chicago Blackhawks. The Hawks have traded 23-year-old defenseman Ville Pokka — who they recieved from the New York Islanders in the Nick Leddy trade — to the Ottawa Senatorsin exchange for former Crunch forward Chris DiDomenico. [Second City Hockey]

The Blackhawks acquired Pokka a few years ago as part of the deal tat shipped Nick Leddy to the New York Islanders. He was considered the centerpiece to the trade and remained one of Chicago’s top prospects for years, but failed to earn an opportunity at the top level.

Now the team has shipped him out for a player who cleared waivers on the same day. It’s a major fall from grace that shows how little value Pokka had to the Hawks and other teams.

After their 2-1 loss to Canada, Team USA needs to make some adjustments heading into the next stage of the 2018 Olympic tournament in Pyeongchang. [SB Nation]

There’s no guarantee that the United States will face Canada in the gold medal match in a week, even though the two teams are favored to compete for the top prize once more. Should the United States want to have the best chance at facing — and beating — Canada, though, here’s three things they can fix before the upcoming semifinals.

Highlight of the Night: Does anyone else’s brain get motion sickness after watch the Sedin twins play?