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Quick Strikes: Tampa Bay Lightning top Bovada odds for 2019 Stanley Cup

Now let’s play 82 games + 12 playoff victories to get there.

NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Bolts

The Stanley Cup just spend a boozy night in Las Vegas, and is making its way to Washington, where there will be a parade on Tuesday. After a 44-year “Cup drought,” Washington has finally taken the cup home. What does this mean for the Tampa Bay Lightning? That even if you have the best players in the world and a coach that wins you Best in East nearly every year, it’s still exponentially difficult to win a Stanley Cup.

Be that as it may, Bovada came in with their list of favorite odds for winning the Cup for 2019, and we like them. Here are the top 10:

Lightning open as early favorites to win 2019 Stanley Cup [NBC]

The Lightning make sense as an early favorite given that they were in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final this season (the third time in four years they advanced as far as the NHL’s final four teams) and will be returning pretty much everybody from that team.

Chris Ryan broke these odds down a little further into a list of why each team might be ranked where it is. [NJ.com]

Fortunately for Tampa, the team does not have any major players hitting free agency this summer, and the bulk of their roster will be back for another run in 2018-19.

What else is going on this week? Just our organization being awesome: An outdoor rink in Florida? A young Bolts fan has his wish granted. [NHL.com] See more photos of this lovely event here. [WTSP]

Thursday, on the back patio of a clubhouse in Weston’s Harrison Ranch neighborhood, the Children’s Dream Fund made Weston’s outdoor skating rink a reality.

After sending the youngster in a limo to lunch to eat pizza with his friends, Weston returned to find his hockey rink laid out on the patio surrounded by family members, ThunderBug, Lightning Girls, Lightning alum Paul Ysebaert and members of the local media.

It’s the time for mock drafts around hockey media, and THW has Tampa Bay picking a Russian in the 7th round. [THW]

I had Anokhovsky in mind for Chicago, when I took Polunin at No. 193, but Tampa Bay is another team that knows its Russians.

Meanwhile at SBNation, we’re still moseying through the first round. Here’s what happened yesterday. [Raw Charge]

From a Lighting perspective, picks ten through twelve are interesting. The Edmonton Oilers pick tenth and the New York Islanders have picks eleven and twelve. Both teams represent potential trade partners for the Lightning if they are looking to shop J.T. Miller for a first round pick.

Tampa Bay Times podcaster Rick Stroud discusses “What could have been” for this season. Too soon? Too painful? [TBT]

As the Washington Capitals celebrate their first Stanley Cup championship, Rick Stroud reflects on what could have been for the Lightning, which came within a victory of eliminating Washington in the conference final.

The Prospects

We’ll have a solid editorial about why the Syracuse Crunch should have a Hall of Fame next week, but for today look how adorable:

The Game World

Pardon me while I discuss yesterday for a moment. I woke up and was shocked to find that Anthony Bourdain, a social activist and cook who strove to break boundaries everywhere, had taken his own life. This was like a huge punch in the gut. I remember thinking in dumb, blind shock, “But we just watched his latest series.”

Last week we watched him in Argentina, in West Virginia, in Eastern Canada. In all of these places, he was building bridges between people he didn’t understand until he did understand them. Food was the basic common denominator, but it was just the starting point for an exploration of culture and why people are the way they are.

I don’t have a single preachy thing to say about this. I’m still mulling over my sadness, my anger. There are suicide prevention hotlines, there are mental health initiatives, but I think that the real lesson of Bourdain’s life is to always explore, always build bridges, and always reach out to people who you think are different from you.

We’re lucky to have our Tampa Bay Lightning fandom in common. And even if we disagree about the particulars, we can agree about one thing, and that’s the bridge that unites us all. And hey — I value you guys. Stay alive, stay in love with the Lightning, stay alive.