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Quick Strikes: NHL Network ranks Nikita Kucherov best winger in the game

And are y’all going to #BoltsFanFest?

New Jersey Devils v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Five

The Bolts System

Congrats to our own Nikita Kucherov, who made it to first place in the NHL Network’s list of wingers. There’s another, less accurate list of fan votes that places him second to Alex Ovechkin.

Here is the full list per the NHL Network:

And here is the list voted on by viewers. In the words of Raw Charge writer Igor Nikonov:

Speaking of Kucherov, why is he so great? Read yesterday’s words from GeoFitz, if you haven’t already: Tampa Bay Lightning Hat Trick Retrospective: Nikita Kucherov against Ottawa Senators [Raw Charge]

One of the big bright spots of the season was Kucherov’s dominance. He posted his first 40 goal season, which was also the Lightning’s first such season since Stamkos scored 42 in 2014-15 and the ninth time overall in franchise history. He also put up 85 points, the first Bolt to hit that plateau since Stamkos in 2011-12.

Here’s a name I haven’t heard in a ... well, OK, since the Cup was won: Brett Connolly’s day with the Stanley Cup included a zamboni ride and a visit to a retirement home [RMNB]

Connolly brought the Cup to a locker room so minor hockey players could get a first look and photo opportunity with the hometown hero. Next, Connolly was escorted by mounties out to meet fans on a “fanboni,” while “We Are the Champions” blared throughout the arena.

This is a neat feature that Bryan Burns has started, kind of like a miniature Player’s Tribune: In their own words: J.T. Miller [NHL.com]

As told to tampabaylightning.com beat writer Bryan Burns, Miller describes how he found out he’d been traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning, what it was like going from a team out of the playoff hunt to one with Stanley Cup aspirations midseason and how the Lightning finishing off the New Jersey Devils in five games in the First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs turned out to be the best news for Miller and his pregnant wife.

In some ways, I feel like Joe’s article is sliding just a tad into the “can we blame Kucherov’s lack of leadership for the ECF loss.” In other ways, maybe the lack of leadership trope points to a lack of teaching players how to communicate information (on plays, whatever) to their teammates. What do you think? It’s The Athletic, so it’s paid content.

Edit: Joe says that he wasn’t trying to pin Kucherov down about leadership so much as ask him various questions to help him reflect on the ECF.

This is adorable:

Best of luck to him -- New York Rangers Sign Goaltender Dustin Tokarski [Last Word on Hockey]

Dustin Tokarski was drafted in the fifth round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning. He only started seven games in 2009 and 2011 for the Bolts. Most of his professional career at that point was spent with their AHL affiliate Norfolk Admirals and later the Syracuse Crunch. His 32 wins in 2011-12 were good enough to lead the Admirals to the playoffs and eventually win the Calder Cup Championship.

So, anyone going to #BoltsFanFest?

Happy Mid August, everyone!