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Quick Strikes: Gold-winning US women’s national team honored at tonight’s Tampa Bay Lightning game

Today’s morning links will catch you up on the US women’s national team!

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The US Women’s National Team

Great news for people attending tonight’s Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Buffalo Sabres game — you’ll get a chance to see the US Women’s national team honored at center ice. The team practiced in Tampa all season long for a chance to win Olympic gold, and they brought it back for all of us to see. [WFLA]

Tonight will be a special night for hockey fans, the Team USA Women’s Hockey team will be honored at Amalie Arena. According to the NHL, the team will be welcomed by the Tampa Bay Lightning during a pregame ceremony. They will also sign autographs for fans during the first intermission of the game against the Buffalo Sabres.

The team was welcomed earlier tonight at the Tampa airport. [WFLA]

“It’s crazy. It’s been a whirlwind. It’s really fun and for us. It’s exciting to see. Kind of all of America really bought into our team and what happened. We’re just hoping to inspire the future,” said Amanda Kessel.

...Where they’d just flown in from Los Angeles, after a spot on the Ellen show. [Valley News Live]

DeGeneres praised the women’s national team for fighting for increased wages and equitable support from their sport’s governing body. Last year, the team threatened to boycott the world championships and Olympics if they “didn’t see some major cultural changes in our program in regards to women and being treated with a little more respect.”

”We are trying to motivate people through sport and inspire and continue the dialogue for equality,” forward Hilary Knight said. “We needed to prove our worth too, and we came back with the gold, so we are pretty excited about that.”

Did you get hooked on women’s hockey at the Olympics? Here’s a way to follow more of it. [The Ice Garden]

The Bolts

There’s still some fallout from the Ryan McDonagh trade. Some of these takes are hot, some merely warm.

The Role Of Ryan McDonagh With The Tampa Bay Lighting. “Another comforting statistic to note as McDonagh joined the Lightning is their offensive prowess. The team holds the highest goal differential in the NHL with +57 and the most goals for with 227. There’s absolutely no pressure on McDonagh to be an offensive threat on the Lightning, a comfort for the defensive-minded 28-year-old.” [The Last Word on Hockey]

Steve Yzerman again shows why he’s the best GM in hockey. “Sure, Yzerman gave up potentially a big chunk of Tampa Bay’s future, but he picked up two key pieces, including a much-needed defenseman. And all he gave up off his current roster was Vladislav Namestnikov — a nice player for sure, but a player the Lightning can get along just fine without.” [Tom Jones for Tampa Bay Times]

No wonder this article got so many hits yesterday. Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller Trade: Analyzing What the Rangers Got Back. “But as Alan of Raw Charge pointed out last summer, Namestnikov’s previous point totals don’t do him justice. Namestnikov is the type of player whose overall game tilts the ice in his team’s favor. In a combined look at the 15-16 and 16-17 seasons, Namestnikov ranked third among Tampa Bay forwards in Expected Goals Percentage.” [Blueshirt Banter]

Yesterday Geo wrote about who else has had #10 and #27. “It seems like it’s a pretty easy decision for him to stick with #10 as it’s available with the Lightning. He would become the 11th player in franchise history to wear #10 with Mike Angelidis being the last in the 2015-16 season.” [Raw Charge]

And various staffers weighed in with their thoughts on the trade. “Overall, I have to say that I’m fine with this trade. None of the pieces given up were a surprise to me. I’d like to have hung on to Howden as he would have made a nice third line center in two or three years. With that said though, we still have Miller now and Matthew Pecathat can fill that spot in the next year or two.” [Raw Charge]

And in non-trade news...

The Tampa Bay Lightning have recalled forward Michael Bournival from the Syracuse Crunch. ”Bournival, 25, has skated in four games with the Lightning this season, recording five shots on goal. The 5-foot-11, 198-pound forward has played in 112 career NHL games over three seasons with the Lightning and Montreal Canadiens, notching 12 goals and 22 points to go along with 24 penalty minutes.” [Syracuse.com]

Eat like the Bolts: Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Blue release cookbook to benefit charity. “The Lightning teamed up with Florida Blue for the ‘Bolts Blue Flame: Cooking with the Tampa Bay Lightning’ cookbook, full of recipes selected by the players. Recipes in the book include Steven Stamkos’ Italian sliders and Ryan Callahan’s chicken parmigiana.” [WFLA]

The Prospects

TSN is airing the game today! Everyone get your DVR ready!