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Quick Strikes: Yanni Gourde suspended two games for hit to head on Jordan Staal

And Daniel Walcott returns to the Syracuse Crunch!

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Washington Capitals
Mar 20, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde (37) and Washington Capitals left wing Jakub Vrana (13) fight during the second period at Capital One Arena. 
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Bolts

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Yanni Gourde has been suspended two games for his clip to the head of Jordan Staal on Thursday night against the Carolina Hurricanes. Gourde was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct on the play in the first period and will miss Saturday on the road against the St. Louis Blues and Monday at home against the Boston Bruins before taking a week off before playing the Capitals again next Saturday. A loss against a pair of playoff teams that hopefully helps him learn his lesson as the team prepares for the playoffs. [NHL dot com]

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Yanni Gourde has been suspended for two games, without pay, for an illegal check to the head of Carolina Hurricanes forward Jordan Staal during NHL Game No. 1138 in Carolina on Thursday, March 21, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.

Five wins in seven games and the NHL record for wins in a season is property of that ice hockey team in some southern State in America. St. Louis Blues, Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals, Ottawa Senators, Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Boston again. Those are the opponents coming up to end the season.

What’s it like to send a NHL team to Europe? The Tampa Bay Lightning will be playing the Buffalo Sabres next preseason so I highly recommend reading this piece on how the NHL has succeeded in Europe. [The Hockey News]

The NHL has announced its latest slate of games in Europe and it’s important to realize just how valued these matches are for both the countries and franchises involved. As North American-centric as the league is, no one can deny that growing the game globally has tremendous benefits all around.

The Prospects

The Lightning have signed their seventh-round pick in 2016 Ryan Lohin to a two-year NHL contract after a very successful career at UMass-Lowell. [Raw Charge]

Lohin just wrapped up his junior season with UMass-Lowell. Over three seasons of NCAA hockey, he averaged 27 points per season and scored at a 0.74 PPG pace with 81 points in 110 games. Lohin has good size for a forward prospect at 6’0” and 195 pounds. He is a left-handed center, but could also play left wing as a professional. I recently wrote about the Lightning’s unsigned prospects and gave Lohin a 50/50 chance of signing because he still had another year of NCAA eligibility.

Martin Ouellette needed surgery to fix his fractured tibia and fibula so he won’t be around for a while, meaning Connor Ingram was on an airplane to re-join the Syracuse Crunch.

Seldo is back! I know, I know, it breaks our hearts, too. He has a new prospect update report, I guess. I bet he has spelling mistakes in there. [Raw Charge]

The Pioneers played a great series against the Fighting Hawks, and Cole Guttman had one goal and one assist in game two. This weekend is the NCHC finals, and Denver will take the on University of Minnesota-Duluth tonight at 5:08 PM ET. You can stream the game at the CBS Sports Network. If they win tonight, they will play either Colorado College or St. Cloud State in the final on Saturday night, then move on to the NCAA bracket.

The Syracuse Crunch is back at the office.

And finally.............. DANIEL WALCOTT RETURNS!!!!!!! Wally will clear waivers tomorrow and be assigned to the Syracuse Crunch where he will begin playing games.

The Game

Eugene Melnyk said some things. It was not quite the best lesson in PR, to say the least. [CBC Sports]

He also tore into the Ottawa media, and recounted an incident where he accused one reporter of “bush league” tactics. Melnyk did not name the media member in question, but TSN 1200 reporter Ian Mendes claimed on Twitter that Melnyk was referring to him.

Following the alleged drama between Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock and KYle Dubas, Katya at PPP wrote a great article outlining what the hell is going on. Spoiler alert: nothing. [Pension Plan Puppets]

There is so much gossip about Kyle Dubas and Mike Babcock right now, you’d think they were fronting some K-pop sensation. The result is the inevitable group-narrative about their relationship that essentializes their characters into simpler and simpler archetypes so the trope of the story can play out while the popcorn is popped and much entertainment is had by the consumers of all this gossip.

Highlight of the Night: If you haven’t seen Ron Burgundy on the LA Kings broadcast, you’re missing out.