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Quick Strikes: Have a basket of kittens, Bolts fans

In the words of Brian Boyle, “It’s disgraceful. We have ourselves to blame. We’ve got a lot more. But I am doing too many of these interviews.”

What else is there to say?

The Bolts

Lightning falls to Coyotes. “This has to be rock bottom. For the Lightning, Saturday was a must-win game. It had picked up just three points in the first three games of this make-or-break six-game trip. Arizona is next-to-last in the NHL, having lost 13 of 15 entering the day.” [Tampa Bay Times]

Tampa Bay Lightning embarrassed by a bad Phoenix Coyotes team. “No, the Tampa Bay Lightning isn’t the worst team. But it’s far from good, too. No one would argue it after a 5-3 blasting at the hands at the point-at-and-laugh Phoenix Coyotes.” [SaintPetersBlog]

Lightning’s Hedman (ill) returns after three-game absence. “Victor Hedman is finally back. But fellow D Jason Garrison had to sit out because he is now sick.” [Tampa Bay Times]

And to make up for all this, how about a few more kittens?

The League

Some NHL stars are packing less punch this season; why? Jamie Benn has 11 goals. Jonathan Toews has 7. Joe Thornton has 3. “Is this is a coincidence, a World Cup hangover or just another natural changing of the guard? Young players such as Edmonton’s Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, Toronto’s Auston Matthews, Winnipeg’s Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers are all thriving this season.” [Tennessean]

Grumpy old man yells about his favorite players from 30 years ago. Or, Strange omissions reveal NHL’s real motive for Greatest 100 list. “Why Johnny Bower and not Gump Worsley, each of whom won four Cups between 1962-68, when the Gumper had the edge in games played (681-582), wins (335-250) and shutouts (43-37)?” Okay, Larry Brooks. [NY Post]

Think this’ll work for the Bolts? Watch former NHL player ‘bribe’ for a goal in KHL All-Star shootout. “Watch as the former New York Ranger skates in on goaltender Igor Bobkov and makes sure the puck finds the back of the net … with a $100 bribe.” [Fox Sports]

I remember when the Bolts were one of these teams. Maple Leafs, Oilers among teams making most of players on entry-level contracts. “The Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs were among last season’s basement-dwelling teams but are currently in playoff positions, and it’s partly because of the financial flexibility afforded to teams with a lot of players on entry-level contracts (ELCs).” [ESPN]

This. Sucks. NHL Mid-Season Grades: Atlantic Division Breakdown. “Montreal leads the entire division with 138 goals for averaging 3.00 goals-for-per-game. And it’s a full team effort since three of the top ten scorers are the defenseman.” [Puck Prose]

Ranking the most overrated potential trade targets in the NHL. “The following slideshow ranks the most overrated potential trade targets in the NHL. We’ll examine their careers to date, their strengths and weaknesses and why they’re overrated in this year’s trade market.” [Bleacher Report]

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