Quick Strikes: Anyone else have a weird dream that Peter Chiarelli got fired last night?

2am, guys? REALLY?

The Bolts

During the dry spell of Tampa Bay Lightning hockey news, we at Raw charge thought we could bring you a quick little series entitled “Around the Atlantic.” It will be a full week of articles looking at the other teams in the Bolts’ division, including some potentially key playoff opponents. I’m personally really excited about this and can’t for you to read our work! Tuesday was Day 1 of the series. Achariya did an interview with J.J. From Kansas, a writer at our sister blog Winging It In Motown, about the Detroit Red Wings and why they’re so so sooooo bad. [Raw Charge]

I can’t remember when Tampa Bay last lost to the Detroit Red Wings, but we did deliver them the last playoff game (a loss) they ever played at Joe Louis Arena. It’s been a while since I’ve hated this team in playoffs, and it’s a damned shame. The league is better when the Red Wings are in contention, and in a few years (if a certain Steve Yzerman “returns home”) we might have serious work to upset them in the second round.

Keep an eye on Wednesday for the next article. It’s a real building situation.

Just because we’re going to be talking about the other teams a lot doesn’t mean there’s nothing at the site about the Bolts. Alan wrote up the regularly scheduled 10-Game Report. It’s a good snapshot of the team’s progress. A must-read, in my opinion. [Raw Charge]

As the Lightning enter their bye week, they are the consensus pick as the best team in the NHL. They have a seven point lead with a game in hand over the Calgary Flames in the President’s Trophy race. They’ve opened a sixteen point lead over the Leafs in the Atlantic division. In their last ten games, the Bolts have seven wins and three losses. So all is well, right? Well...maybe. But in some ways, maybe not.

When on vacation, most people want absolutely nothing to do with work, so naturally, the Bolts are taking the week off from hockey. Here are some of the fun, peaceful, and creative things the players are planning to do during the middle of January. [Tampa Bay Times]

While Miller enjoys his time in the woods and at Gasparilla, defenseman Erik Cernak will be using the break to catch up on some chores like moving all of his things from Syracuse, New York, to Tampa.

That doesn’t sound fun, Erik...

Sharing this solely for the headline: “One sniff and the Lightning is hooked.” [Tampa Bay Times]

Lightning captain Steven Stamkos doesn’t even try to describe the sensation that smelling salts produce.

“Why don’t you try one?” he offers. “I’ll get one for you right now.”

He darts out of the Lightning dressing room in his socks, not even bothering to take off his sweat-soaked practice pants. Moments later, he returns, grinning, with two white caplets the size of candy in his hands. He keeps one and hands over the other.

The Prospects

Considering his consistent, clutch play over the past week, Alexander Volkov was the clear choice for Player of the Week down (up?) in Syracuse.

We have another free Facebook game in the AHL! This time, you can watch the Crunch play the AHL Springfield Thunderbirds on Friday at 7pm! It should be a good one.

And lastly in the AHL, a roster move. Oullette heading to Orlando means Connor Ingram is ready to play.

The Game

First off, All-Star Game news! Along with a couple dozen of hockey’s best players, and Keith Yandle, the NHL All-Star Game will also see four of the best hockey players in the world attend the Skills Competition. Brianna Decker, Kendall Coyne-Schofield, Rebecca Johnston, and Renata Fast have all confirmed that they will be at the All-Star Weekend! [The Ice Garden]

Last season, we saw three US Olympians — Hilary Knight, Amanda Kessel, and Meghan Duggan — participate in the weekend by demonstrating a skill during the Skills Competition. Knight tackled the Honda NHL Accuracy Shooting while Kessel tried out the Gatorade NHL Puck Control Relay and Duggan did the aptly sponsored Dunkin Donut NHL Passing Challenge. Hannah Brandt participated in a pre-skills competition event showcasing the skills.

This news started breaking as I was writing this article, so who knows what’ll happen between now and tomorrow morning. Hopefully for Oilers fans, a lot of firings. Yes, I said a lot.

And finally at 1:57am, Ryan Rishaug tweeted the tweet that was a few years too late. Peter Chiarelli has been let go at GM of the Edmonton Oilers. Bloody finally.

And speaking of the Edmonton Oilers, they could still be well on their way towards making a stupid trade. The New York Rangers hope they are the ones who profit. It must also be said that the Lightning and Rangers have a very good working relationship with each other, and a selling team could help a buying team a lot, especially when they have pieces that could really help with a long playoff run. If you know what I’m saying. [Blueshirt Banter]

Here at Blueshirt Banter we’ve talked all first half about who the Rangers should and should not trade along with what the prospective values and returns for those players should be, but now it’s time to focus our attention on what teams the Rangers should be in business with. Phil got the ball rolling by taking a look at the Colorado Avalanche and how the two teams match up as trade partners, he also talked about how the Rangers should be aggressive this trading season and set the market in the lead up to the February 25th trade deadline.

Getting back to the Atlantic, the Toronto Maple Leafs are “collapsing” according to Stanley Cup of Chowder. See what they have to say on the topic and then what GM Kyle Dubas had to say about his team in a presser he called on Tuesday morning. Those words on Brayden Point comparables Auston Matthews and Mitchell Marner were quite interesting. [Stanley Cup of Chowder]

It was a really bummer of a week for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Aside from beating the first place Tampa Bay Lightning, they lost 6-3 to the Colorado Avalanche, 3-1 to the Florida Panthers, and 4-2 to the Arizona Coyotes. William Nylander has been moved to the fourth line after a dramatic start to his season and a flatlining upon his return. He has four points on the season. The Leafs play one more game before the All Star break against the Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals. Here’s to hoping they lose again!

Sharing this in case anyone lives in the Toronto, Ontario area. Having a Stanley Cup Ring stolen is the worst feeling imaginable.

ESPN has a story on the new Seattle franchise and what they’re trying to do in order to be one of the best organizations in hockey as soon as they can. [ESPN]

“It feels like it’s more than just an expansion team,” says Dave Tippett, who is still the only member of the team’s hockey operations department. “We’ve talked about it here -- we’d like this to be a legacy franchise, a franchise that 50 years from now, everyone looks back on and says, ‘Wow, that’s the way to do it.’”

Highlight of the Night: the Washington Capitals didn’t learn to stop this play? Really? IT LOOKS THE EXACT SAME BOTH TIMES!

In other sports news, Mariano Rivera, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, and Roy Halladay were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Rest in peace, Doc. And welcome to Cooperstown.