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Quick Strikes: Lightning, Crunch extend affiliation agreement

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As our world still reels from yesterday’s news, a bit of a bright spot shines through.

Syracuse Crunch Mitchell Stephens (67) and Mathieu Joseph (7) congratulate goalie Connor Ingram (39) for shutting out the Utica Comets in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the War Memorial Arena in Syracuse, New York on Saturday, March 24, 2018. Syracuse won 2-0.
Scott Thomas Photography

The Headline

The Tampa Bay Lightning have extended their affiliation agreement with the Syracuse Crunch, an announcement that was met with much joy yesterday from both sides of the agreement. The new agreement is for seven more years, keeping Syracuse in the fold until at least 2023. Here’s a rundown of all of the coverage and reactions we could find:

(Highlight here: Jeff Vinik has the goal of getting to a Crunch game this season to check out all of the new War Memorial improvements)

One of the benefits of the partnership is how the development model works. [Raw Charge]

49 players have appeared with both the Crunch and the Lightning. Of the Lightning’s expected opening night roster, both goaltenders, two of the eight defensemen, and ten of the 14 forwards have played for the Syracuse Crunch.

Around the AHL, the partnership between the two teams is unmatched:

The Crunch and the Lightning are unique in that Tampa doesn’t own their AHL team. Many of the longest-running affiliates in the league are owned by their NHL club. This makes the partnership - and how well it’s working - that much more special. [Syracuse.com]

The announcement was a joint one, with the Lightning announcing the extension at the same time as the Crunch.

The Bolts

The news that Steve Yzerman is stepping aside has brought out many pieces about his impact. Raw Charge contributor Matt Esteves maintains that Steve Yzerman did what he felt was best for himself and the Tampa Bay Lightning. [Raw Charge]

The move shocked me along with everyone else. But after attending the press conference, listening to what Vinik, Yzerman, and BriseBois had to say, and digesting it all, I can safely say I’m content with the move. Anyone harping on Yzerman for his “timing” because camp is two days away is digging for attention. He’s always done things his way and has always been up front about any decision he’s made.

The Rental Skates Podcast also addressed the organization’s shift.

Here’s yet another reaction, published yesterday morning. [The Hockey Writers]

When he took over the role of Lightning general manager in the summer of 2010, Yzerman inherited a largely stagnant franchise with one of the weakest prospect pools in the NHL. Outside of two franchise faces in Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis, and two more potential pillars in Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman, there was little to be excited about in Tampa Bay. The team had been, at best, mediocre and at worst a bottom dweller since winning the Stanley Cup in 2004.

However, it didn’t take long for Yzerman to start reshaping the franchise.

With the shift, some wondered if Yzerman could move onto the Seattle expansion team. The benefits could be quite the draw. [Sonics Rising]

But what else does Seattle have to offer you might ask? How about president and CEO Tod Leiweke, who held a similar position for five seasons with...the Tampa Bay Lightning. Leiweke and Yzerman took over the Lightning during the 2010 offseason and built the reigning Atlantic Division champions by adding studs like Nikita Kucherov and Andrei Vasilevskiy. It’s been reported that Leiweke is looking to bring in people he trusts. I’d have to assume Yzerman makes that list. Then there’s also big-shot Hollywood producer/long-time Detroit Red Wings fan Jerry Bruckheimer, a key investor in the team.

Meanwhile, the Lightning’s camp opens today! As such, their training camp roster was released yesterday. [Raw Charge]

The Lightning will bring 37 forwards, 19 defenders, and six goaltenders into camp this year. That includes all 24 players who participated in the prospect tournament in Estero earlier this week.

Speaking of, here’s a timely reminder from Bryan Burns about it:

Burns also took the time to pick out three things for fans to watch for as the Bolts open their camp today. [Tampa Bay Lightning]

As training camp gets underway for the Bolts, Bryan Burns will have his eye on the GM transition, position battles and the d-corps.

It’s the goalie! On rollerblades!

Corey Pronman has Top 100 NHL prospects entering the 2018-19 season. The Lightning’s rundown is certainly interesting. (paywall) [The Athletic]

Volkov, 71

Foote, 78

Katchouk, 83

Cirelli, honorable mention

Joseph, honorable mention

Ingram, 18th goalie

If you live in the Tampa area, you can register now for the Florida Hospital Bolt Run. The event will be Saturday, November 17, 2018 at AMALIE Arena. [Run Sign Up]

The Organization

In the middle of all the affiliation news today, it was revealed that the naming rights to the Onondaga County War Memorial will be sold as many had hoped. Selling the rights means more money for the building, which is county owned and operated:

War Memorial improvements continue and are (we hope) on track for an opening night reveal:

Nolan Valleau, who was a participant in the ECHL All-Star game last season, is returning to the Orlando Solar Bears.

Jared Fiegl of the Solar Bears was featured in the ECHL’s Rookie Round-Up. [ECHL]

As a teammate, I just love doing whatever it takes to make sure the guy next to me can get his job done. I just like to support guys on and off the ice. Beyond that, I’m a hard-nosed kind of player, I like to get in the dirty and grimy areas, and I’m competitive as heck. Off the ice, I’m more of a laid back, take in the scene kind of guy. When I’m on the ice, I play like I’m mean but I’m really a soft guy off the ice.

The Game

Hey, remember Erik Karlsson? You probably don’t, but here’s something new about him, just in case you recall his name:

The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed head coach John Tortorella to a two-year extension. [Blue Jackets]

The St. Louis Blues have announced a new way to give their fans a longer night out:

Speaking of the Blues, Jordan Schmaltz has agreed to a two-year contract.

The Colorado Avalanche have released their training camp roster. [Mile High Hockey]

54 players will step onto the ice on Friday September 15th to kick off the Colorado Avalanche’s training camp. There are 31 forwards, 18 defensemen, and five goaltenders at camp.

Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers has revealed his new helmet:

Speaking of helmets....Oh, my God, it’s Dobby.

The Nashville Predators will be without the services of Austin Watson for 27 games:

How are hockey teams in the Carolinas and Virginia bracing for Hurricane Florence? Matthew Harding reached out to a few of them to find out. [The Sin Bin]

Evacuations are currently underway in the areas impacted, including in Charleston, S.C., which is home to the South Carolina Stingrays. Team President Rob Concannon tells The Sin Bin that their offices are closed for the rest of the week in order to give staff the necessary time to make preparations and evacuate if needed.

“We hope all of our fans stay safe and the storm turns north and out to sea.”

The Sin Bin continued their coverage in episode #56 of the Inside the SPHL Podcast. [The Sin Bin]

Paul Bissonnette is a gem. A funny, funny gem. (A funny gem who uses adult language, so this is NSFW)

There’s been a lot of work done in the area of analytics for women’s hockey. A primer for it all is certainly needed! [The Ice Garden]

Last night was the home opener for the Humboldt Broncos. I’m not going to say any more. I’m already crying.