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Quick Strikes: Erik Cernak to play for Slovakia in IIHF World Hockey Championships

and the Bunch of Jerks survive.

Tampa Bay Lightning v Columbus Blue Jackets - Game Four
COLUMBUS, OH - APRIL 16: Erik Cernak #81 of the Tampa Bay Lightning controls the puck in Game Four of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Columbus Blue Jackets on April 16, 2019 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

The Bolts

We’ve rather quickly reached the summer mode of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s season, so there’s not much news going around the NHL squad. The one thing that is beginning is the 2019 IIHF Men’s World Hockey Championships in Bratislava and Kosice, Slovakia.

Bolts rookie defenseman Erik Cernak will suit up in the red, white, and blue colors of Slovakia in his home country, which should be a very exciting experience for him. The tournament will begin on May 10th with 16 teams, including the USA, Canada, France, Italy, and England (for the first time!) taking part in the round-robin plus bracket-style affair.

The Prospects

The AHL Syracuse Crunch are in Cleveland, Ohio at this moment, preparing for game three of their five-game series against the Cleveland Monsters. The Crunch are down 0-2, and are fighting elimination, but hope always springs eternal.

It has been a very successful regular season for the Crunch, but not for a few players. Daniel Walcott, Michael Bournival, and Kevin Lynch all suffered severe injuries and barely got a chance to help their team all year. Here is their stories. [Syracuse]

All three veterans pushed through the months and months of rehab required to fight their way back to playing shape. And then all three endured the demoralizing twists of additional injuries that set them back long-term, making them spectators as Syracuse battles Cleveland in a North Division semifinal series.

Crunchman took the day with the Upstate University Hospital spreading awareness for Earth Day and healthy living with some other mascot friends.

And finally, it’s pretty cool to see Mike McKenna still carry around his Syracuse Crunch bag at home. He was a hero for the Crunch in his time with the team and an even bigger hero in the Calder Cup Finals last spring against Toronto. Hopefully he gets a chance at either Cup sometime soon.

The Game

The Dallas Stars completed the upset over the higher-seeded Nashville Predators in six games. Former Bolt Ben Bishop stopped 212 of 218 shots, including 47 in the game six overtime win to send the Preds home. [Defending Big D]

Without another heroic effort by starting netminder (and Vezina finalist) Ben Bishop, this game would have had a much different outcome. However, that’s been the story of the Stars all season. They just find a way to win those close games and make most of the huge efforts of their netminders stand up. Just as they did again tonight.

In the East, the Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes are heading to game seven after the Canes won 5-2 at home in Game six. Another potential upset? [Canes Country]

The Canes had a bit of a slow start early in the first. A rare lapse in judgement from Sebastian Aho early on in the first period allowed for Nick Dowd to receive a pass in front of the net unhindered, and he made easy work of Mrazek as he shelved a puck to the glove side to give the Caps a 1-0 lead. The obvious narrative at this point was that the first goal scorer in the past five games of the series went on to win the game. But this game, things changed.

If you look on the NHL website (I don’t know why anyone would), but you could see for years that the NHL had a tab that said “NHL Green” and it never really had anything of substance on the site. Today, the logo came back and the NHL announced that they will pay the monetary equivalent of using approximately 2,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide emitted into the air. It essentially donated the money to the Bonneville Environmental Foundation. [NHL dot com]

Today, the National Hockey League (NHL) announced it will purchase carbon offsets in an effort to shrink its environmental footprint. This marks the first time the League will offset carbon emissions caused by air travel for games during the Stanley Cup® Playoffs. As part of its commitment to sustainable business practices, and in celebration of Earth Day, the NHL® will purchase carbon offsets for all four rounds of the postseason, equaling approximately 2,000 metric-tons of CO2 emissions.

The Boston Bruins are really good at playing dirty and trolling the world to think it is not they that are the bad guys. Like an evil older brother. This “breaking news” from the Boston-area media is something else.

And finally, which is a better landing spot for Artemi Panarin: the New York Rangers or Florida Panthers? [Blueshirt Banter]

Regardless of what happens with the Blue Jackets in the postseason, Panarin will become a free agent on July 1. He and Erik Karlsson — if he gets there — will be the two most-desired players on the market. Both are players who can alter the fate of a franchise, which means that they will have no shortage of suitors.

Highlight of the Night: The Stars OT winner.