Quick Strikes: J.T. Brown and the art of fighting

Brown thinks fights can shift momentum, Boyle is inspired by the Patriots, and the Tampa Bay Area is lucky to have Jeff Vinik.

The Bolts

Lightning forward J.T. Brown believes fighting can shift momentum in a game. "More times than not, because of the situation, I didn't want to turn momentum in their favor. I took it upon myself to make sure it was going to be a good one, a lively fight. A lot more punches thrown, less defense. I was thinking about it right away right after we scored whether I should go or not. I went with it and thankfully it did energize us and the crowd." [Tampa Bay Times]

Brian Boyle is a huge New England Patriots fan. It’s safe to say he was happy with his team’s impressive comeback victory in Superbowl XLI - and maybe a little inspired. “They executed in the second half. They weren’t good in the first and they executed in the second half. That’s what you’re asked to do. That’s how you can get back into things.”

With the trade deadline less than a month away, the Lightning still sit outside of the playoffs. The underlying numbers explain why. “Stop me if you’ve heard this before. Kucherov is great. Everyone else is meh.” [Raw Charge]

Friendly reminder: Jeff Vinik is the patron saint of the Tampa Bay Area. “Vinik bought the Lightning in 2010 and moved his family to Tampa because he thought it was ‘an amazing place to live,’ he said. He soon began work to develop the ‘under-potentialized’ areas in the city, and with the help of Bill Gates’ Cascade fund, he is making his dreams come true. ‘It’s kind of fun to dream big,’ he said.” [TBN Weekly]

The League

Lightning fans are very familiar with the Lady Byng trophy for most gentlemanly player - Martin St. Louis won it three times between 2010 and 2013. Perhaps it’s time for Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon to be considered for the honor. “Playing defense well, taking minimal penalties, and drawing more penalties than you take is very difficult. Spurgeon accomplishes this with good vision, positioning, and mobility.” [Hockey Wilderness]

The Superbowl was exciting, but the hockey guys over at ESPN argue that the Stanley Cup Finals remain the best championship in sports. “In terms of pure game play and the skill it takes to compete, I'll stack the NHL up against any other sport in the world.” [ESPN]

Putin & the Russians vs. the Flyers? “A group of former Philadelphia Flyers are heading to Russia for a series of exhibition games this month, and they may face Vladimir Putin. Joe Watson, a Flyers defenseman from the 1970s who has helped organize the event, told the Camden (New Jersey) Courier-Post that the Russian president wants to play.” [ESPN]

Speaking of Putin, Broad Street Hockey wrote this: Flyers alumni most likely to kick Vladimir Putin’s ass, ranked. “Below, in order of least-likely to beat up Vladimir Putin to most-likely, is the roster of Flyers heading to Russia together. (It’s expected that several former Flyers who live in Russia will also join the roster, and it’s safe to say none of them will be beating up Putin.) Please tell my family I love them.” [BSH]

Being Gay & Playing Hockey. "The Ducks used rainbow tape in their game against Florida this week - a further nod toward LGBTQ inclusion and acceptance. To most fans - this probably seemed kind of “aww thats cute, good on them” but to me this really meant a lot. To see my favorite team, one I have supported since its inception and for which I have always stood up for during those very down and depressing years, to see that they now had my back, that gesture was beyond symbolic to me." [Anaheim Calling]