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Lightning Round: Cole Koepke makes NHL debut

and team hashtags

Tampa Bay Lightning v New York Rangers
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 11: Cole Koepke #45 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates in his first NHL game against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden during the season opening game on October 11, 2022 in New York City.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Cole Koepke making the Tampa Bay Lightning has been a very poorly kept secret since the summer when both coaching staff and management made it clear they like him and he’s going to get a shot. On Tuesday it actually happened as Koepke made his NHL debut on the third line for the Lightning in a 3-1 loss to the New York Rangers. In the game he recorded a shot in only eight minutes of ice time as the Lightning struggled to produce offense at 5v5 and leaned on their top six heavily.

Offense at even strength is going to be a struggle for the team this season. It would do Koepke a lot of good if he can fill the void of depth scoring in the time he has before Anthony Cirelli returns from injury in early November. Forcing the team to keep him in the lineup by scoring is the best path he has to play all season and not get shuffled out by the numbers game. Considering the offensive abilities he showed in the AHL last season, this is doable for him.

Koepke as a U Minn-Duluth grad is one of an ever-growing number of American players in the NHL. Last season 28% of players were Americans by games played. This year that number is 29%. Not a significant jump, but growing steadily since 2019.

The Lightning lost their opening game of the season 3-1 to the Rangers. They play again on Friday against the Blue Jackets.

Steven Stamkos scored the first (and so far only) goal of the season for the team.

Hedman and Stamkos teamed up in this very funny Mass Mutual commercial. I’m sure you’ve seen it already, but if not, check it out!

Love this merch style.

Here’s a list of the team hashtags for this season. And the proverbial meme riff on them. What do you think of the Bolts one?

Hockey is back in Ukraine!

Old friend Anton Stralman made the Boston Bruins out of camp and is on a one-year deal.

Considering it’s already 2022, this seems about right.