As always when news about players in the Tampa Bay Lightning organization trickles into the Raw Charge room, the story builds slowly and with much speculation. First, a friend of Alex sent her this Tweet, and we scratched our heads mightily about Jan Rutta’s absence.
Then, we figured out what was up with Rutta when the Crunch tweeted the recall, and finally we figured out why when Bryan filled in the details.
Anton Stralman is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Rutta recall makes sense now. #Bolts— Bryan Burns (@BBurnsNHL) March 9, 2019
It’ll be interesting to see 28-year-old Rutta play his first game in a Bolts sweater tonight against the [checks schedule] ... Eh, he’ll be fine.
You know what’s good? Reading an expert’s opinion on a topic, like Lauren’s take on which CHL overager would fit TBL’s system. [Raw Charge]
With Felhaber off the market, the attentions of scouts now turn to the next best available players. There are a plethora of undrafted overagers having massive, point-producing seasons. Their one last chance at major junior — their final season to catch NHL teams by surprise — could very well lead to NHL contracts at the end. Here are four players to keep an eye on for the rest of the season.
DGB Grab Bag: Can anyone beat the Lightning in the playoffs? [The Athletic, paid content]
Pittsburgh Penguins – Could throw out a blueline pairing of Jack Johnson and Erik Gudbransson, which could give the Lightning all sorts of trouble because they’d feel sorry for them.
Are the Lightning the best team of the NHL’s analytics era? [ESPN insider, paid content]
So as we head down the final stretch of the regular season, we can compare the Lightning to teams of the last decade-plus. Are they truly the best team in the analytics era? Or have things just bounced their way?
Hey #Bolts fans!— Lightning Foundation (@LightningFDN) March 8, 2019
If you’re joining us for the #TBLightning game tomorrow night, we’ll be having a mystery puck sale!!
Come see us at Sec. 123 starting @ 6pm to buy! $30 each. Max of 4 pucks per purchase.
Four lucky winners will win a team-signed jersey!
The Tampa Bay Lightning is rewriting the record books as it surges into the postseason [Washington Post]
The best matchup for the Bolts resides in Pittsburgh. Defenders Kris Letang and Olli Maatta are both nursing injuries, calling into question whether the Penguins have the defensive depth to counter both the Kucherov and Stamkos lines. The Penguins can’t rely on goaltender Matt Murray to bail them out, either: he’s saved just 185 of 226 high-danger chances faced this season (. 819), giving Tampa Bay a 77 percent chance to move on to the next round at the expense of Pittsburgh.
“They have the complete package,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “You have to be structurally sound defensively and try to take away all their time and space. When you talk about all the best teams and players, you try to take away their time and space and be strong in front of your net.
Justing caught us up on organization goalie shenanigans in the Crunch preview: Expect to see a lot of Eddie Pasquale this month [Raw Charge]
If Ingram hasn’t returned to the team by then, expect to see Pasquale start most of those games. During head coach Ben Groulx’s two-and-three-quarter seasons in Syracuse, he has shown a reluctance to start goalies who have been called up from the ECHL. Despite long stretches of being with the team this year, Martin Ouellette only has a total of 137:45 of ice time. When Pasquale was called up to Tampa due to Andrei Vasilevski’s injury, Ingram started all of the games for Syracuse. When Ingram was injured, it was Pasquale starting almost all of the games.
Daniel Walcott ready to turn up the volume for Syracuse Crunch [Syracuse.com]
”I have fresh legs. I have a lot of energy to put out there on the ice. So I’m excited to get the OK from the medical staff, and once it’s done, then, yeah, I’ll bring all that energy,’’ Walcott said. “I’m sure Ben will manage my shift lengths and my shift amounts. But every shift I’m out there I’ve got to give it my all. I can’t hold anything back.’’
Happy #InternationalWomensDay to the women we work with, cheer with and grow with.— Syracuse Crunch (@SyracuseCrunch) March 8, 2019
From the women working in our organization to the wives and girlfriends and our female fans, we’re proud to call you #CrunchFamily. pic.twitter.com/mF8gZgDMXB
We have @RussianRocket13 and @jtmmela’s @PWATDeWittNY artwork up for auction!— Syracuse Crunch (@SyracuseCrunch) March 8, 2019
The remaining paintings will be available through a silent auction at an upcoming home game. All proceeds will go to #ChangeForChange benefiting @UpstateGolisano.
Bid now: https://t.co/HaosUe8Mqt pic.twitter.com/AMTppqm7ZV
Everyone’s favorite little brother section
Shane Conacher rebounding from testicular cancer [Post Star]
“It’s one of those things no one wants to hear in their lifetime, but it’s part of life,” Conacher said. “A lot of people go through it. It’s (prevalent) with men in their mid-20s. They said that’s the most likely age to get it. It turned my world upside-down. It was kind of a shock. When I went in there, it was in the back of my head that it could be this, but you don’t actually expect it to hear those words from the doctor.”
WELCOME THE PUCK BACK, SHANE!!!!! CONNY TIES IT!!!!— Adirondack Thunder (@ECHLThunder) March 9, 2019
2-2 | 1:23 3rd pic.twitter.com/TeQ0mU8oB4
Our ECHL reporter, Trace, was at the above game in which Shane Conacher returned to the Adirondack lineup — and reports that he got first star of the game.
(It’s dusty in here.)