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Lightning Round: Ryan McDonagh returns from injury and other NHL news

It wasn’t the best return for the veteran defenseman, but there’s another game today!

NHL: JAN 04 Lightning at Senators
OTTAWA, ON - JANUARY 04: Tampa Bay Lightning Defenceman Ryan McDonagh (27) during warm-up before National Hockey League action between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Ottawa Senators on January 4, 2020, at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, ON, Canada.
Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With a game quickly on the horizon tomorrow, and the Lightning playing to a moderately disappointing loss with Curtis McElhinney in net, I don’t have much of a take to share other than sharing the stories I read yesterday and enjoyed intellectually and emotionally. So here it goes, a classic Quick Strikes Lightning Round.

First up, here’s the Quick Cap from the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 3-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild. They fell down early and tried to make a game of it late, but things just didn’t come together. However, it’s a quick turnaround as the Lightning play again today vs the Winnipeg Jets. They’ll have Andrei Vasilevskiy in net and a week and a half off to recharge their batteries. Might as well give it all. [Raw Charge]

The second period saw most of the scoring. It started with Nikita Kucherov tying the game at one. The Wild responded with two consecutive goals from Joel Eriksson Ek and Ryan Suter. They appeared to have added another but Lightning coach Jon Cooper challenged for offsides and the call was overturned.

The game saw the return for Ryan McDonagh, who had been out with an upper-body injury. His night wasn’t great by many standards. They were an outlier in terms of shot share, straggling behind the rest of the team mightily. McDonagh only managed 14:26 at even strength, but he did play over four minutes on the penalty kill. Hopefully he can return to game-shape soon.

Elsewhere in the league, the Carolina Hurricanes might be without their MVP Dougie Hamilton for a while after he suffered a terrible-looking knee injury after falling into the boards in a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

From one potential injury to a healed ailment, as Stephen Johns returns to the NHL after 22 months out with concussion-type injuries. He’s gotten a successful stint with the AHL and is off LTIR on the Dallas Stars. He should be your Masterton Award winner this season. [Defending Big D]

The scale of this injury is simply staggering. Johns was initially concussed on October 24, 2017. He would return about a week later (November 2), suffer another head injury later that month (November 28), and then shut things down for good on March 28, 2018. From that point on his playing profile reads like a tragedy. Each practice, each step forward, would bring headaches and as many steps backwards. Seriously, just keep scrolling.

John Scott wants to go to the All-Star Game again, but the NHL isn’t interested in having fun. Rick Tocchet of the Arizona Coyotes is heading to St. Louis in exchange for the now-fired Gerard Gallant.

What do you think of the Colorado Avalanche’s new Stadium Series jerseys? Yay or nay? I personally think the colors save what is otherwise a completely awful pattern.

Professional poker players have more hockey sense than NHL front offices, even if this one’s Canadian.