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Quick Strikes: Yanni Gourde skates on a lake in the summer, because of course he does

Welcome to the dog days, where everything is made up and even the season doesn’t matter!

Tampa Bay Lightning v Columbus Blue Jackets - Game Three

The Lightning/Crunch/Solar Bears organization

-Tampa Bay Lightning forward Yanni Gourde has just won the summer for us all.

Of course, it turns out he had a little help:

-Geo’s draft mulligan series continued its summer fun run yesterday, attacking the 1995 NHL draft and seeing what could have been for the Lightning.

Iginla is the easy pick here. Perhaps one of the greatest players to never win a Stanley Cup, Iginla has plenty of hardware to his name and is sure to add “Hall of Famer” to his accomplishments before too much longer. Four time All-Star. King Clancy Memorial Trophy. Mark Messier Leadership Award. NHL Foundation Player Award. Ted Lindsay Award. Art Ross Trophy. Two Rocket Richard Trophies.

-Don’t forget about the Beach Bash this Saturday!

-Organizational forward Cory Conacher is working with a high performance hockey camp for young hockey players with Type I diabetes.

A unique hockey camp is giving kids living with diabetes the opportunity to engage in sport while learning to take care of themselves. And as Audra Brown reports, NHL prospect Cory Conacher is hitting the ice to help inspire them.

-The Crunch is giving their Foundation a bit of a summer boost next week by partnering with a local sponsor for some outdoor festivities:

During Party @ The Plaza, the Crunch will have cornhole and a slap shot cage. The team will also have raffle items, including an Ultimate Crunch Experience with four tickets to any regular season home game, four passes to the All Who Served Club and a Bench Buddies experience, a team-signed black replica jersey, an autographed player card sheet and other fan packs. Additionally, the Crunch will have a table with the 2019-20 season schedule and information on ticket packages for the franchise’s upcoming 26th season along with a photo area.

-Have you ever thought about what you’d do if you bought the Crunch? I know I have. Well, there’s a new Syracuse-themed Monopoly game out, with the proceeds benefiting the Food Bank of CNY. The Crunch is among the premier properties available for development!

-I’m old, so I’m not really sure what’s going on here, but...enjoy a polar (Solar?) bear dancing.

The Others

-It appears as though the Toronto Maple Leafs have awoken from their deep slumber to find that it’s the end of July and that their long “to do” list needed some trimming.

Here’s each contract:

-Speaking of the trimming going on in Toronto, Knights on Ice did a piece about newly-traded Garret Sparks and his potential to assist their AHL club.

In the AHL, the man kills it. Sparks had 80 wins with the Marlies with a career .927 save percentage in six seasons. The high point of his time in the minors came in 2018.

The regular season numbers were absurd — 31-9-2 with a .936 save percentage and a goals-against average of *adjusts glasses* ONE POINT SEVEN NINE, WHAT IN THE LIVING HELL?

That play more than carried over into the Calder Cup Playoffs, as Sparks went 14-5 and a 2.22 GAA. The Marlies, behind their young goaltender, made an improbable run to the Calder Cup title in five games against the Texas Stars.

-Seems like a lot of bands have been through Winnipeg lately. The Backstreet Boys were the first I saw, but as most of you probably care more about rock than boy bands, here’s Disturbed hanging out in the Jets dressing room. Nice job staying off the logo!

-The AHL continues to play a big role in developing winners, most recently with the St. Louis Blues/Chicago Wolves connection.

“Every player in the AHL has the same dream, and that’s to get to the NHL,” said Whitecloud, who likely will be in contention for a Golden Knights roster spot in the fall. “The AHL is there to teach you how to be a pro, to season yourself.”

Whitecloud, a 22-year-old from Brandon, Manitoba, said it’s not a coincidence that successful AHL teams produce successful NHL players.

“They give you everything you need to succeed and a fun environment to play in,” Whitecloud said. “Everything is first-class.”

-The Blues added Marc Savard as an assistant coach yesterday.

“I was fortunate to play with Marc during my career and I’m very familiar with his passion and acumen for the game,” said Blues Head Coach Craig Berube. “He was a tremendous player and possesses an elite offensive mind. His addition to our staff will be a great benefit to our players and the organization.”

-It would appear that I can never speak to Mike Murphy of Blue Shirt Banter again.

-China’s Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays, formerly of the CWHL, have joined the Russian Women’s Hockey League.

-It turns out that NHL “insiders” aren’t really that different from the rest of us hacks: I’m pretty sure we’re all checking our phones for news pretty constantly. (pay-walled)

-WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!