Quick Strikes: #BREAKING Pirates to steal Stanley Cup in Tampa Bay

Stamkos, Kucherov, Hedman, Vasilevskiy, Sergachev, and Cooper are heading to the All-Star Game.

The Bolts

The full NHL All-Star rosters have been unveiled and the Tampa Bay Lightning are out in full force. Nikita Kucherov, Victor Hedman, Andrei Vasilevskiy, and coach Jon Cooper will be joining Steven Stamkos for the party. Mikhail Sergachev too! [Raw Charge]

“Even rookie defensemen Mikhail Sergachev made the injured reserve list. This is probably not even an example of hometown favoritism, but rewarding an honestly talented group of players.”

“With Kucherov leading the league in points and goals, Stamkos second in the league in points, Vasy leading the league in wins and shutouts, and Hedman on the Norris watch list, it’s easy to understand the NHL’s decisions.”

Get to know some of the best players on and off the All-Star Game rosters. [Tampa Bay Times]

“Wild F Eric Staal, thought to be past his prime, was named to his fifth All-Star Game. It is his reward for a resurgent season that had him leading the Wild in goals (19), points (37) and shots on goal (122) entering Wednesday. Staal, 33, is on pace for his most points since 2010-11 and most goals since 2008-09.”

Tyler Johnson is back and better than ever. His return to form has made an already formidable Lightning squad that much better. [NBC Sports]

“With all of that in mind, Johnson’s lining up one of the best seasons of his career. He already has 34 points in 42 games this season, putting him close to matching his totals from two tough recent campaigns (45 points in 2016-17, 38 in 2015-16).”

“The Stanley Cup will ride aboard the Gasparilla pirate ship.”

Pirates. Always stealing your massive ornate drinking bowls. [Tampa Bay Times]

“Every year, the pirate ship José Gasparilla docks at the Tampa Convention Center to kick off the annual Gasparilla Parade of Pirates. But when the pirates invade the city on Jan. 27, the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup championship trophy will be aboard the 147-foot pirate ship.”

Speaking of hat tricks, where do your hats go after you toss them in honor of your favorite players achievement? To helping the less fortunate, of course! [Tampa Bay Times]

“Justine Burke, director of communications for Metropolitan Ministries, said the charity that helps the homeless in Tampa received hats from the Lightning on one occasion and they were put in the clothing closet in the group’s outreach center, free to those in need. The center serves 25,000 people a year.”

Kuch is selling merch!

The Prospects

The Barrie Colts have traded their top winger, Lightning third-round pick in 2017 Alexey Lipanov, to the Sudbury Wolves. [Raw Charge]

“Lipanov is a speedy, creative center. He’s already showing signs that he can be a possession-driver as well, which is always a big plus, and sign of how high his hockey IQ is. He spent last season split between the Russian minor league VHL and the Russian junior league MHL.”

Taylor Raddysh got his first goal for the Soo out of the way quickly. A bang-in goal but he’ll take it.

Steve Yzerman has always had a large contingent of his prospects not only at the World Junior Championships, but leaving with hardware too. [Raw Charge]

“With four more medals in the trophy case, let’s go through each of Yzerman’s drafts since the 2011 NHL Entry draft to see just how much success the Lightning’s prospects have had in junior level international tournaments.”

The Syracuse crunch sent the Binghampton Devils back from whence they came with a commanding 4-1 victory on Wednesday night. [Syracuse]

“Goaltender Connor Ingram recorded 34 saves in his fifth consecutive win. Devils netminder Eddie Lack stopped 12-of-16. Syracuse was able to convert on 1-of-2 power play opportunities and went a perfect 5-for-5 on the penalty kill.”

Mitchell Stephens is making strides to take another step forward in professional hockey. [Syracuse]

“Maybe some things weren’t going my way, I wasn’t doing things off the ice. Maybe I got a little complacent. But I had to sit down and sort of figure out what I needed to do in order to get back to playing the way that I play.” - Stephens.

The Game

Taylor Hall continues to dunk on the twitter competition.

The Arizona Coyotes have traded forward Anthony Duclair (and defenseman Adam Clendening) to the chiccago Blackhawks in exchange for Richard Panik (and Laurent Dauphin). Trade details here. Full analysis of the trade by Second City Hockey. [Second City Hockey]

“There are a lot of ways that this deal can fail to pan out for the Blackhawks, but none of them would be that painful. Duclair failing to acclimate himself in Chicago would be a minor issue this offseason when he’s a restricted free agent. The team could trade him to a new suitor or re-sign him to a cheap deal to take another shot at turning him around.”

Pierre McGuire has been diagnosed with stage 1 prostate cancer and is currently recovering from the surgery. [TSN] #F*CKCANCER

“You can’t take short cuts and you’ve got to stare things right in the eye,” McGuire said. “I’ve been fortunate to have really good medical people, my family’s been unbelievably supportive and I knew exactly what I was getting into. I chose to go the aggressive route and get the prostate out.”

Highlight of the Night: For the second time in three nights, Toronto played the only game (that was any exciting). This one featured Auston Matthews literally dangling in a phonebooth.

Your move, Patrick Kane.