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Quick Strikes: We all love Mike McKenna

This is my Quick Strikes, so...

Syracuse Crunch visited the Grand Rapids Griffins in American Hockey League (AHL) Calder Cup Playoff action at the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Tuesday, June 13, 2017.
Scott Thomas Photography

I don’t often jump the shark when it comes to Quick Strikes. Usually I keep it as relevant as possible, and I do promise that there will be some relevancy to the Tampa Bay Lightning and everyone else coming up. However...the 2016-17 Syracuse Crunch was a magical group of players who blessed us for a very short time. Too short, in many cases. Goalie Mike McKenna, for instance, was acquired at the deadline and was gone basically as soon the Crunch lost the championship.

Honestly, I’ve always felt cheated that we got so little time with him. This past Friday, McKenna returned to Syracuse for the first time since that fateful series back in 2017, this time playing for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. It was so good to have him back. It was so good to see him light up at the possibility of getting a Crunchman bobblehead or two for his family. It was good to get to talk to him, and to see him in the War Memorial again.

So, yeah. I need to get this out.

Look for another adorable picture from his return, taken by Scott Thomas, later today in Justin’s Crunch corner. Justin was kind enough to indulge me.

-Okay, now back to normal. Y’all ready for Montreal? Er, maybe?

-What are the Stanley Cup odds? Well...Currently they’re 4/1 for the Lightning.

We could go on and on about why the Bolts are the team to beat – the star power, the depth, the culture, the core, the motivation of several recent deep playoff runs that came up just short — but why bother? You already know about all that stuff.

-Nikita Kucherov - you know he was coming - has been named the Lightning’s Player of the Week.

-Alan argued rather effectively yesterday that rookie forward Anthony Cirelli deserves votes for the NHL’s Selke Trophy.

I’ll forgive you if you don’t believe me. His numbers were even better than I expected before I started digging, and I pay attention to this kind of stuff. But if you don’t believe me by the end of this article, I won’t forgive you. Because what follows is solid evidence that Cirelli belongs in the Selke conversation.

-Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller have a plan to fight cancer with Kan Jam.

-The Syracuse Crunch picked Mitchell Stephens as their Player of the Week.

-Here’s a shot from the celebrity bartending appearance in Syracuse last night with Taylor Raddysh and Ross Colton:

-The Crunch also put a definitive end to any goalie speculation when they returned Martin Ouellette to the Orlando Solar Bears.

-Yesterday, Tracey updated us all on how the Solar Bears are doing.

The team was put to the test this week. They took on the second best in the ECHL—and the only team ahead of them in the South Division—the Florida Everblades. With a retooled lineup thanks to two AHL returnees, and despite losing their #1 goaltender to callup, Orlando responded with two out of three wins for the week.

-Bolt Prospects helpfully provided some highlights from a French article about new Lightning organizational forward Jimmy Huntington.

-NHL GMs are arriving in Boca Raton for their annual meeting. As they gather, there’s some interesting issues they’ll be looking at. Here’s one:

The Leggio Rule: Goaltender David Leggio never made it to the NHL, but he may impact a rule change. In both the AHL and in Germany, he purposely knocked the net off on clear breakaways. Those both resulted in penalty shots. In this case, the proposal is to change the wording for when a goaltender does that, automatically awarding a goal instead of a penalty shot.

-Baby steps? Baby steps.

-Speaking of - is it time for a female on-ice official? Yes, the answer is yes.

Of the five major professional sports, the NHL is the only major league to not have a woman officiate on its stage, exhibition or otherwise, and it is actively looking to change that. To help identify potential future officiating talent for the NHL and other professional leagues, the NHL has been encouraging women to participate in its annual combine.

-Fashion and hockey? Fashion in hockey?

-The Buffalo Sabres got some bad news yesterday about defenseman Jake McCabe.

-Jesse Puljujarvi of the Edmonton Oilers had surgery yesterday. Ow.

-Former NHL forward Ted Lindsay has passed away.

-Blainville-Boisbriand forward Alec Reid died unexpectedly Sunday morning at the age of 18.

Reid had been closely monitored by a doctor and a neurologist due to epilepsy for quite some time. Over the course of the past few weeks, the Armada had been working in close collaboration with his physicians because of recent epilepsy seizures. Due to concerns over his condition, Reid hadn’t played since February 19, 2019.

-Morgan Gobeil, the last Humboldt player still in the hospital, has been released. We’re all gonna cry together now.

-This 7th grader definitely sets the bar for the science fair high.