Quick Strikes: Brayden Point’s Homecoming Game

Brayden Point returns to his hometown, Nikita Kucherov misses practice, and prospect Mathieu Joseph impresses Bob McKenzie at Canada’s World Juniors camp.

The Bolts

Everybody’s favorite rookie hails from Calgary, Alberta - and he gets to play in front of his hometown crowd tonight. Brayden Point will have some tickets reserved at the Saddledome. “Yeah, I’m sure I’ll be buying a lot. My first game in Calgary. I mean, a lot of people supported me. I’m sure they’d all want to come out and watch. It’d be pretty cool.” [Raw Charge]

As much as a visit to Calgary is meaningful to Point, it carries some significance for another Lightning player. Ben Bishop was almost traded to the Flames over the summer, but he insists that’s not on his mind. "Zero thoughts," Bishop said. "It's over and done with." [Tampa Bay Times]

Nikita Kucherov left yesterday’s practice early. Let’s just hope it was a simple equipment issue and not something more serious. “Coach Jon Cooper did not provide a reason for Kucherov's early exit. Kucherov skated to the bench and checked on his blades before heading to the dressing room.” [Tampa Bay Times]

Ryan Callahan had hip surgery over the summer and aggravated that injury earlier this season, causing him to miss the past six games. The Bolts are hoping he will return to action on this road trip. [Bolts By The Bay]

Kristers Gudlevskis has been inconsistent during his time in the Lightning organization. Maybe it’s time to make a win-win trade with a divisional rival. [Raw Charge]

World Juniors

Hockey Canada’s World Junior Championship selection camp started on Saturday, featuring six Lightning prospects (Anthony Cirelli, Brett Howden, Mathieu Joseph, Taylor Raddysh, Mitchell Stephens, and Connor Ingram). Brett Howden was cut from the roster yesterday and Team Canada will cut five more players today. We’ll keep you up to date on all the latest highlights and interviews from camp.

Game Recap (Exhibition Game 2): Team Canada 3 vs University Sports 0

Team Canada won its second game against the University Sports team, which is composed of elite former junior hockey players who are a few years older than the Canadian prospects. Mathieu Joseph was impressive, skating across the ice with force and making his presence known. Overall, Canada dominated this game with a complete effort while the University Sports team had some trouble handling the puck. It was good preparation for the Canadians who will face the Czech Republic (including Lightning prospect Libor Hajek) today. Here’s how the Lightning prospects performed in yesterday’s game:

  • F Anthony Cirelli: 0G, 0A
  • F Brett Howden: 1G, 0A
  • F Mathieu Joseph: 0G, 1A
  • G Connor Ingram: 1.000 SV% on 11 shots/

Despite being cut from the roster, Howden maintained a positive outlook.

This is the first time Ingram has been invited to participate in a Team Canada camp. He is enjoying the experience regardless of the outcome. “Whatever happens happens, I guess. Everything happens for a reason. If it doesn’t go my way, it’s been an honor to be here. If it does, it’ll be a very exciting time.” [TSN]

Mathieu Joseph’s dynamic play earned him praise from Bob McKenzie. “Joseph is a really interesting guy because he’s got elite offensive numbers in the Quebec [Major Junior Hockey] League, but he doesn’t play like an elite offensive player. He plays very physically - the biggest hit in this game. He’s always playing ‘in-your-face’ hockey. He really plays the game the right way, so I like what he brings to the table.” [TSN]

The League

For the first time in his 11-year career, Henrik Lundqvist was the back-up goaltender for four consecutive games. It looks like there’s a goalie controversy brewing in New York. Does head coach Alain Vigneault know how to handle it? [Blue Shirt Banter]

The reigning Vezina Trophy winner did a very un-Vezina-like thing last night. Lucky for him, no damage was done and he was able laugh it off with a teammate.

P.K. Subban has snagged the lead in the All-Star voting race to captain the Central Divison. That reminds me, have you been voting for Kucherov? Because you really should be voting for Kucherov. He absolutely deserves to go to the All-Star Game. [Puck Daddy]