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Quick Strikes: Lightning’s Victor Hedman says he’s good to go

The defenseman ended the season with an injury.

2019 NHL Awards - Nominee Media Availability Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Bolts

-Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman and Norris Trophy finalist Victor Hedman spoke to journalists at the NHL European Player Media Tour in Sweden on Thursday. During the interview, he said that the injuries that plagued him at the end of last season and into the playoffs is taken care of and that he’s ready to go.

“Body is great,” Hedman said. “I’ve been able to do what I want to do this summer. I’m fortunate enough to skate with my hometown team Modo (in Sweden) and they’ve taken good care of me ever since I went over to Tampa. My offseason has been great and looking forward to the last few weeks before I head over to Tampa for the final touches.”

Hedman also spoke about the Lightning’s surprising first-round exit during the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs:

“It’s tough to really point at one thing,” Hedman said. “The NHL is a tough league. It’s tough to win and having the regular season that we had, we had that for a reason, but we put ourselves in the position that we were the favorites to win. We played a team that played us well, played us hard, played us physical ... just a matter of small details in the game that they did well and we didn’t. It wasn’t good enough. We learned from that and will try and improve this upcoming season.”

-Our Top 25 Under 25 continued yesterday with Syracuse Crunch defenseman Dominik Masin. Hardev discussed why the player had such a wide spread when it came to reader voting:

Over the summer, the team [Syracuse] brought in Cal Foote, Cameron Gaunce, Nolan Valleau, and Hubert Labrie to play with Masin and Thomas. With Foote stepping into the lineup, the Crunch had a top offensive prospect on the back end. That meant that he was used liberally in the offensive zone and on the power play. Same goes for Gaunce, who is reliable NHL/AHL veteran who also took on a lot of the load all over the ice.

While that was good for the Crunch on the whole — the two combined for 20 goals and 57 assists on 212 shots last season — it was bad news for Masin. While the third-year pro was still tasked with playing on the left side of the two primary defensemen, his role in the offensive zone was diminished. Combine that with his shooting luck falling to a third of what it was and Masin’s 24-point season in 2018 fell to 12 points in 2019.

-FYI - The Lightning’s ticket office has a new name:

The Pupper

-Oh, to have Bolt’s energy! Listen to that bark. Baby pupper going to have a booming voice when he grows up.

He’s also a little bit of a mischievous boy:

The Crunch

-Episode 11 of the Syracuse Crunch podcast Syracuse Speaks dropped yesterday! Alex (I’m never sure if I should say “I” or use the third person when talking about my own work in these articles...) had Raw Charge contributor Lauren Kelly on for a wide-ranging discussion!

In this episode, host Alex Ackerman welcomes guest Lauren Kelly to the pod! Lauren writes for both Raw Charge and Mile High Hockey, covering juniors. She is a wealth of information and passion! The two discuss Peter Abbandonato, an over-ager from the Q, and what Lauren expects out of his upcoming season with an AHL contract with Syracuse. They also parse out the expectations for forwards Taylor Raddysh and Boris Katchouk, and how the trajectories for the two have changed now that they’re in the pros. Lauren also expounds on why juniors are so fun to watch, and also which tournaments are must-sees. Lauren also answers a most difficult question: Which Foote brother is her favorite?

The Solar Bears

-The Orlando Solar Bears signed forward Jackson Playfair yesterday. Playfair had 14 games with Orlando last season:

“I was impressed with Jackson’s ability to step right into our lineup at a critical time in the season and deliver a strong contribution for the team,” Solar Bears head coach and general manager Drake Berehowsky said. “He plays an up-tempo game that allows him to make plays at a high speed, and I’m excited to see what he can do for us over the course of a full season.”

The Game

-The Metropolitan Riveters of the NWHL signed St. Louis native Nicole Arnold yesterday. Her career so far sounds like an interesting one:

-The NWHL also announced they have continued their sponsor partnership with VEDA.

In it’s second year of being an official partner of the league, will make its CBD products available to the NWHL’s athletes and will “continue to empower the female athletes through sponsoring multiple deal points”. The league’s players will also receive a 50 percent split of the revenue of the sponsorship in addition to their existing salaries. Furthermore, VEDA will continue to be the title sponsor of the NWHL Player of the Week Award.

-The Buffalo Sabres hinted at some jersey changes Thursday. Be sure to check them out at 10 AM today to see their 50th anniversary uniform.

-Alex Novet posted the final part of his series on the xG model yesterday. This is a great piece to read to help understand the model better.

The next step is to put them into practice; with better scoring opportunities identified, we need to design systems that encourage players to generate them.

-There were quite a few players with many different organizations whose signing rights expired last evening (None with the Lightning). Here’s the list:

-John Harrington and Mark Johnson, two players on Team USA in 1980, returned to Lake Placid recently and paid a visit to a very special place.

-Patrick Williams sat down with Bryan Helmer, vice president of hockey operations for the Hershey Bears, AHL farm team of the Washington Capitals, for a look at what it’s like inside the executive suite.

This past season tested Helmer’s liaison abilities. After missing the postseason in 2017-18, the Capitals had overhauled the roster and installed a new coaching staff in Hershey. By midseason, however, Hershey had dropped to last place in the Atlantic Division. As Bears fans continued to grow restless, Hershey regrouped and put together a league-best .789 second half and eventually reached the second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs before falling to the eventual Calder Cup champion Charlotte Checkers.