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Quick Strikes: Lightning head coach Jon Cooper for The Jack Adams Award?

...Maybe!

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NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Washington Capitals at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL season is half over with, which means draft predictions and season-end award guesses are starting to creep out of the woodwork. This time around, Russian Machine Never Breaks tackles their prediction for the Jack Adams Award: Mr. Jon Cooper of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Coach Cooper has the Lightning on pace for 129 points, which would be the highest total in the NHL since the Red Wings put up 131 points in 1995-96.

About that pace -

The Lightning defeated the Dallas Stars Tuesday night, and Sean Shapiro of The Athletic posted an episode of his Carcast podcast about the contest on Soundcloud. (NOT pay walled!)

Alan penned an incredibly in-depth article about the stories we tell when players pile up points but don’t appear to help their team win. Is there truth to this whole thing? Weeellll....Click and see!

We’re going to calculate how good players are at scoring relative to their peers and how much they contribute to winning relative to their peers. To do that, we’ll use percentiles so that we have both of these numbers on a similar scale. And then we’ll look at the difference between the two metrics. A player who’s great at scoring but doesn’t contribute to winning is our archetypal empty calorie scorer. And the inverse? That’s a player who contributes to winning in ways that don’t result in points.

The Lightning’s biggest challenge this season might just be not resting back and just depending on how good they’ve been.

Cooper admits he’s monitoring for signs of satisfaction inside the club’s bubble, a necessary daily process most outsiders might not appreciate. “If you’re battling for a playoff spot, you’re grinding every single day,” he said. “When you’re at the top of the standings, you’re grinding in a different way.”

The Bolts’ players recently spent time with active duty military members over at MacDill Air Force Base.

Yesterday was Wallpaper Wednesday, and it featured everyone’s favorite goalie: Andrei Vasilevskiy!

Coming soon to The Athletic: Watching Lightning hockey with the head coach of the Syracuse Crunch!

Justin took a look at the Crunch’s blue line yesterday and made his best guess as to where Jan Rutta will fit in once he’s healthy and ready to play.

Once Rutta is ready to play again—which should be in about a week according to The Post Standard—it will be interesting to see how Coach Groulx works him into the line-up. Rutta wasn’t brought in to ride the bench. He should be playing—and playing a lot—as he waits for an opportunity in Tampa. So, will the Crunch roll 11/7 every night like they did when Koekkoek was in town or do they scratch one of the six players that have been in the line-up night in and night out?

Orlando Solar Bears forward Ryan Lough has retired from the ECHL.

“I’d just like to thank everyone within the organization and the fans for making Orlando an incredible place to finish up my hockey career,” Lough said. “It was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make in my life up to this point, but I feel privileged to have been able to experience and be a part of what is truly the best place to play in the ECHL.”

The Stars hosted a Make-A-Wish game for young Anderson McDuffie. Anderson and his friends got the true NHL treatment, and also got the chance of a lifetime to play against Dallas. Sean Shapiro’s entire Twitter thread on this is amazing, but here’s some highlights.

The NWHL announced last week that the Boston Pride had formed a partnership with the Boston Bruins, but all isn’t as pretty and helpful as that phrase implies. Two writers from Pension Plan Puppets broke down why this emerging trend doesn’t really mean much.

However on second blush this is yet another NHL partnership where no one is willing to talk money and the support for the team appears to be more in the way of gestures like sending the Bruins mascot to a game and providing hats for a giveaway than anything that looks to improve the lives of the players, like a pay raise. We’ve seen these in both the NWHL and the CWHL; “partnerships” that are opaque and nebulous, with marketing help that slowly peters out over time.

It looks like Jeff Skinner and Buffalo are going to try to come to an agreement.

Bodgen Kiselevich - a person that sounds more like a Quidditch player from Bulgaria than a hockey player - of the Florida Panthers is apparently available as trade bait.

The Anaheim Ducks and the Minnesota Wild swapped organizational players yesterday, with Justin Kloos being exchanged for Pontus Aberg.

Here’s more on the pending Edmonton Oilers implosion.

It’s gotten to the point where a lot of hockey people wouldn’t trust Chiarelli to make a lunchroom snack trade with grade-school children, yet a bunch of factors point in the direction of another bold move … and in almost every case, bold trades have been unmitigated disasters for the Oilers.

Mike McKenna is a treasure and the Philadelphia Flyers better treat him well.

Paul Byron of the Montreal Canadiens was suspended three games for charging yesterday. He posted an acceptance and an apology to his personal Twitter in response.

The Kelowna Rockets announced yesterday that Erik Gardiner has retired from hockey.

“Due to health and personal reasons, I thought it was time to step away,” said Gardiner. “I want to focus on different things and take care of myself. I want to thank the Kelowna Rockets, my family and the Western Hockey League for allowing me the chance to live out my dream of playing Major Junior hockey.”

Molly Bozak, wife of Tyler Bozak of the St. Louis Blues, shared a touching story about her decision to be a bone marrow donor.

I think a lot about the man I am helping, although I still don’t know much about him. All they tell you about your match is gender, age and type of cancer. But I wonder - does he have a family? Does he have kids? Was he out there worrying whether or not I would follow through?

I won’t know for awhile whether my donation worked. They told me they might request that I donate again for him in the future, and that if they need it, they would reach out to me. If they don’t, I’ll take that as a good sign.

Several pro teams in Florida boast some of the most miserable fan bases, at least according to ESPN. This includes fans of the Florida Panthers.

The last thing we all knew about talks between the NHL owners and the NHLPA was that they were productive and maybe even heading towards a 2020 World Cup. Well...

The Rochester Americans, AHL team of the Buffalo Sabres, have a game every season where the proceeds from a post-game jersey auction go towards the Seneca Park Zoo. Their jerseys this season are particularly sharp.

If you haven’t tried AHL Live yet, take a look at their mid-season deal. You could watch the rest of the Crunch’s games for $35!

The AHL All-Star game is coming up at the end of the month. The league released the jerseys yesterday. They’re pretty spiffy!

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Pay Walled Heaven: The place pay walled stories get separated out for not being free.

Here’s another two trade rumors to add to the ever-growing pile: Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets has waived his no-trade clause (kind of) and the Toronto Maple Leafs apparently have laid their first-round pick on the table.

Andrew Cogliano talked about his trade from the Ducks to Dallas with Eric Stephens of The Athletic.

I’m sure we all remember John Scott. He’s back in the news after a near-death experience.

Can the Josh Ho-Sang Mystery be solved? I have no idea, because I don’t have a subscription to EP Rinkside, but...you know. Maybe you do!

After a rough week of no wins, the Crunch fell five spots in Patrick William’s weekly AHL rankings. Ouch.

Is Ryan Callahan on the Presidents’ Trophy path? Judging from this headline, I guess so!