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Quick Strikes: The further adventures of ThunderBug

The off-season is approximately 202938403127410 days long.

2019 NHL All-Star - Fan Fair Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images

The Bolts and Friends

Tampa Bay Lightning mascot ThunderBug is living his best life lately. Not only did he just hang out with a bunch of mascots in the Tampa area for various shenanigans, but he’s also about to head to Chicago for the NHL Mascot Conference. Are you a Bolts fan in Chicago? You have the opportunity to go meet the bug himself (and portly, ginger megastar Gritty) tomorrow.

Gritty, Tommy Hawk, other NHL mascots to visit Mascot Hall of Fame [NWITimes]

The mascots are coming together for the 2019 NHL Mascot Conference, an annual gathering for training in the Chicagoland area. They will make a public appearance and pose for photos from 3 to 4 p.m. at the museum at 1851 Front St. in downtown Whiting.

Literally the only other Tampa Bay Lightning article yesterday was written by THIS VERY SITE: Tampa Bay Lightning 2019 Top 25 under 25, #20: Maxim Cajkovic could be a steal of a pick [Raw Charge]

As I said in the opening, Cajkovic was not on a very good team last season. There are 18 teams in the QMJHL and 16 teams qualify for the playoffs. Saint John was one of the two teams to not qualify. If they had been in another division, they may have finished with a record worse than the 13-49-6 record they had. One thing that helped was having a team in their division that was EVEN WORSE in the Acadie-Bathurst Titan that finished 8-54-6. Oof.

More about the ECHL-version of Staal: Youngest Staal hired as assistant in Orlando [TB News Watch]

Staal, 28, retired after spending the 2016-17 season with the Edinburgh Capitals of Great Britain’s Elite Ice Hockey League.

The youngest of four hockey-playing brothers from Thunder Bay, Staal was a second-round pick of the Phoenix Coyotes in 2008.

And this is a stretch but I’m going to post about a good Oviedo boy even though he works for the Blackhawks: New Blackhawks forward Ryan Carpenter has made a hockey career the hard way [Chicago Sun-Times]

A native of the Orlando suburb of Oviedo, Florida, Carpenter watched through his childhood as hockey took root in Florida. Then he personally helped bring hockey success back to Bowling Green. Then he fittingly evolved from an undrafted taxi-squad journeyman to an everyday professional player during Vegas’ inaugural season, the NHL’s own Bowling Green-esque story.

The Dog

The Lightning’s new pup is more than just a photo op prop [Tampa Bay Times, paid content]

The idea of a team dog started with Costello, manager of the Lightning Foundation and community events. She wondered about the Lightning raising a service dog after working with Southeastern Guide Dogs on its Tampa walkathon in April.

The Game

This is kind of neat: Exploring NHL Season Ticket Benefits [THW]

Our focus today is on the things teams offer that stand out from the rest. Ready to feel a little jealous? After reading this, I think many of you will wonder why your team doesn’t do something similar. We’ll start looking at what most teams offer. Then we’ll look at who stands out above the rest.

New Oilers third jersey leaks online [Icethetics]

Initial reaction on Twitter has been decidedly mixed, but isn’t it always? Personally, I think it makes for a great addition to the Oilers’ overall look. It’s what I like to see in a third jersey—a third color, a new or altered crest, and a fun theme, this one being the two-tone style. I’m eager to see how the full uniform comes together.

It’s fun to see Flyers fans Mad Online: Where does Flyers’ Sean Couturier rank among NHL’s best centers? [NBC Sports]

A considerable fuss was made on social media among Flyers fans when the NHL Network published a ranking of top-20 centers in the league. Jeremy Roenick chimed in, as well.

Couturier did not make either cut and Flyers fans justifiably took exception.

(You can read an Islanders writer’s take on it over here, heh heh.)

Hey Loserpoints, this is a cool idea: Where are they now? A look at the 2015 Pensburgh Top 25 Under 25 list [Pensburgh]

This will also show that they’re called “prospects” and not “sure things”. Young players don’t always reach their potential or the plans that teams may hope for early on in the process. The flip side is you can also see some diamonds in the rough really blossom out of seemingly no where to become real impact players.

The Town