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Quick Strikes: On Detroit trip, Yzerman speculation rose to epic heights

Will Stevie Y be Detroit’s next President of hockey ops, or just GM? Or stay put?

NHL: New Jersey Devils at Detroit Red Wings Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Headline

The speculation was bound to happen simply due to the coincidence of Ken Holland’s contract coming to an end at the same time as Steve Yzerman’s, who also let slip that he wants to spend more time “at home.” We gather that home isn’t Cranbrook, Canada, for Mr. Yzerman and family — it’s Detroit. On the Bolts’ first trip to Pizza Pizza Arena, two interesting ideas surfaced amid all the noise.

The first is via Chris Nichols, who transcribed an excerpt from Elliotte Friedman’s 31 Thoughts podcast. Friedman speculated that instead of Yzerman taking Ken Holland’s position, would he consider being Detroit’s Brendan Shanahan instead? I’m not sure, as a Tampa Bay Lightning fan, which I’d hate more.

The second was an entirely reasonable take from Joe Smith in The Athletic. To summarize his article, nobody knows what Yzerman will do next — and it could be status quo. He likes his work/life balance in Tampa now that he’s semi-retired, so maybe he’ll keep it that way.

Steve Yzerman’s future remains uncertain after year behind the scenes with Lightning: ‘We’re still his team’ [The Athletic, paid content]

The Lightning are not rushing Yzerman’s decision.

“He has the luxury of being able to wait a little later,” BriseBois said. “But we’ve discussed it. I think he’s happy right now. He’s found some balance that he’s happy with. But I can’t speak for him. I know I’ve enjoyed working with him. I’m trying to make it so it’s a good experience for him. But that’s all I can say right now.”

What do you guys think?

The Bolts

Tampa Bay’s St. Patrick’s Day game will also be the long-awaited Eastern Conference Final rematch with last year’s victor. There are obviously a few storylines about it, especially since the Washington Capitals apparently spent the day sunbathing. I hope Tom Wilson forgot his SPF 100 in the hotel room.

Lightning-Capitals: What will be revealed Saturday night in Tampa [Tampa Bay Times, paid content]

The regular season is the regular season. The playoffs are the real deal. Only it will feel like playoffs Saturday night when Alex Ovechkin and the Caps return to the scene of their crime 10 months ago, when they took everything the Lightning had and more, when they outplayed the Lightning when it mattered and dashed Tampa Bay Cup hopes with a Game 7 win at Amalie in the Eastern Conference Finals, pitching a shutout for the series’ final 160 minutes.

The most excellent Isabelle wrote up her own take on the rematch. I am honestly traumatized just reading these words: Capitals, Lightning have been eyeing each other all season. Now they play three times in two weeks. [Washington Post]

What Orpik remembers most from last year’s series is Game 6, a must-win for Washington after Tampa Bay won three straight games. That was the most dominant performance of the Capitals’ postseason, with the team imposing its will on the Lightning in a 3-0 win. “Game 6 is what won us Game 7,” Orpik said. Tampa Bay’s talented offense was shut out that night and also in the decisive contest two nights later as Washington’s bruising play wore down the Lightning for a 4-0 victory.

Ugh, Tom Wilson. ‘Let’s call it a playoff series’: Capitals, Lightning renew rivalry with three games in 15 days [NBC Sports]

“Let’s call it a playoff series. Why not?” Capitals forward Tom Wilson said. “It’s that time of year. I’m sure it’ll have that feel. It’s a good challenge. They’re playing really good hockey. There’s no hiding that. We’re familiar with them so it’ll be good to see what they got.”

This was kinda poetic: Steven Stamkos’ Lightning goal record will be a signpost along a greater journey [Tampa Bay Times, paid content]

This record is about goals, yes. The new number will be 384, if you want to be exact. And if it matters to you, Stamkos will get there around 300 games faster than it took Vincent Lecavalier to reach 383.

But this is not about the numbers recorded on a page. It’s about the memories and moments shared along the way. It’s about a teenager from Ontario who came to represent the best of Tampa Bay.

The Prospects

Syracuse Crunch hold on to beat the Hartford Wolfpack, 3-2 [Raw Charge]

After controlling play for most of the first two periods, it was the Crunch holding on in the third against a very determined Wolfpack squad that made the difference. The Crunch did seem to tire as the game went on and struggled at times to clear the puck, something that Coach Groulx won’t be happy about. Still, they did hold the fort and secure the victory.

Tampa Bay Lightning prospects head into the playoffs [Raw Charge]

Aside from the OHL and QMJHL teams, the playoffs are here for the Lightning prospects. Today we’ll look at each prospect’s chances of the playoffs, and for the college kids, what their schedules look like for this weekend and how you can watch them.

The Game

A lot of terrible things happen in this world, mostly when people disconnect their hearts from their actions. In light of that, here’s a dog. Bless you and your families this Sunday!