Quick Strikes: Nikita Kucherov cracks wise and Connor Ingram shows off in the AHL skills competition

The NHL finally returns to regular hockey tonight.

The Bolts

With the NHL All-Star game officially past and games not resuming until tomorrow, today was slow in terms of news. Lightning beat reporter Diana Nearhos filed a couple of quick pieces following up on the festivities this weekend.

In the first, Jon Cooper talks about appreciating seeing the star players having fun and enjoying the game.

“(You see) how much the players really care for each other,” Cooper said. “That was a really touching moment for me. The thing about coaching this game is you get to see the human side of all the players that you go against all the time.”

In the second, Nikita Kucherov gave one of his classic deadpan responses when asked what he learned from the Bolts’ last couple of playoff runs.

“Make sure we score goals in games six and seven,” he deadpanned to laughter. “Play more defensively, help Vasy more back there and make sure we score goals.”

Nikita Kucherov has become one of the best players in the NHL and that’s led to his rookie card climbing steeply in value over the last few years.

Since their release, they have all done fairly well. However, Nikita Kucherov has emerged as the card to have from that class of rookies. If he keeps up what he’s doing, he’ll soon eclipse MacKinnon as the rookie card to have from the entire 2013-14 season.

At the beginning of last season, Raw Charge highlighted the rising cost of his rookie card as part of the early season success of the Lightning. At the time, a raw, or ungraded, version of his Upper Deck card had risen from about $20 to the $45-$60 range. Since then, the only thing that has risen faster is Kucherov’s own bank account.

The Prospects

Cory Conacher and Connor Ingram are both participants in the AHL All-Star game. Yesterday was the skills competition.

Ingram put in some work during the pass and shoot event.

The Game

If you’re looking for a recap of the whole weekend of NHL All Star festivities, this is a good one.

Andrei Vasilevskiy spent most of the Save Streak Challenge thinking he’d walk away with the $25,000 cash prize. While plenty of talented goalies followed up his eight-save performance, none were able to take his crown with only player remaining. He likely made the mistake of thinking Henrik Lundqvist, the final competitor in the event, wouldn’t be able to do it, either.

Anthony Greco, a Florida Panthers prospect, set a new record in the AHL fastest skater competition. Not only that, but he beat Connor McDavid’s NHL record too.

This is an interesting article by Alyssa Longmuir about her journey to bring better statistics to the Australian Women’s Ice Hockey League (AIWHL).

I wish I could say that taking a league from one with delayed basic box scores to one that has a whole array of advanced stats takes a village.

In reality, it takes one person, three to four pieces of paper per game, some horrendously written code, and the willingness to accept that if you don’t do this then it’s not getting done. Possibly ever.

People may argue that there aren’t enough bodies or brains to compute stats in women’s hockey. This article is about refuting that idea.

The Boston Bruins have been a little under the radar this year but when they get healthy, they’ll still be a threat.

Their top trio of Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak is arguably the best scoring line in the whole league, but David Krejci did a stellar job during Bergeron’s absence. The 32-year-old center played seven games on the first line with Marchand and Pastrnak and had four goals and ten points during that stretch. This season could be one of the most productive seasons for Czech player. Krejci already has 40 points in 49 games and he is currently on pace for 66 or 67 points, which would be the third best season in his career.

Here’s some kids playing ball hockey during a traffic jam because Canada I guess? I told you this was a slow news day.