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Lightning Round: Today would have been the last game day of the regular season

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It’s been ages since the last game.

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Detroit Red Wings Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Today was supposed to be the last game day of the 2019-20 regular season for the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bolts would have clinched their playoff spot probably a couple of weeks ago and their opponent for the first round of the postseason would already be known too. Today’s opponent would be the Detroit Red Wings, the worst team in the NHL this season (this decade?) and one of the most comfortable opponents for the Lightning over the last few seasons, although the Red Wings beat the Bolts in their last game on March 8.

Let’s quickly remember where were the Tampa Bay Lightning were at the day when the NHL suspended the current season. As of March 12, the Lightning were second in the Atlantic division, eight points behind the Boston Bruins with 12 games left in the season. The Toronto Maple Leafs, against whom the Lightning played their last game before the pause, were the most likely opponent for the first round of playoffs.

As you certainly know, instead of preparing for the playoffs, the league is currently in an indefinite hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. No one knows exactly when this situation will end, but available numbers and statistics suggest that the pandemic could last several months. The league has already released some wild ideas proposing playing the playoffs in September. But let’s be realistic, with rising numbers of the COVID-19 cases in North America, the probability that this season will be finished is becoming less and less with every day.

Other Hockey News

As always, don’t miss the latest edition of Lauren’s prospect report about Swedish youngster Fabian Lysell [Raw Charge]

Lysell is an electrifying and dynamic winger. Though on the smaller side, he can break games open with his offensive creativity. When Lysell is going, he’s almost machine-like in the way he can produce. He has incredible hands, and when the puck is on his stick, he will dangle through and around players to take it to the net.

The Syracuse Crunch collaborated with other AHL teams and the American Red Cross to give local fans an opportunity to support local blood supplies during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The Crunch have also created a fund to help healthcare workers in Syracuse.

If you’re looking for new hockey podcast, the Orlando Solar Bears have yesterday released one. Goalie Clint Windsor was the first guest.

Due to the pandemic, the annual OHL draft will be conducted online over this weekend. The North Bay Battalion, who own the first pick in this draft, have already announced that they will select defenceman Ty Nelson with their first pick.

The Anaheim Calling blog published an article with ideas how to renovate the NHL, our editor Achariya has also shared thoughts [Anaheim Calling]

Achariya from Raw Charge says: The hard cap actually works in Tampa’s benefit. We aren’t a small-market team, but we also aren’t a big-market team. The Lightning have been able to lure players to stay in Tampa with a combination of a great owner in Mr. Jeff Vinik, and the most unofficial of all “soft cap” items, the lack of state tax. This effectively gives hockey players additional income for home games while playing here, and Tampa exploits the hell out of this. Toronto doesn’t really need help luring players to stay — all it took was trotting out some Leafs pajamas for John Tavares to go back home, after all. But for a medium-market team in the south, this is what we’ve got!