Quick Strikes: Steven Stamkos has his #91 retired in Sarnia

Bye Week Day 2: Victor Hedman disappears, but Jonne Tammela returns

The Bolts

Steven Stamkos travelled north of the border to Sarnia, Ontario for the retirement and banner raising of his number 91 with the OHL’s Sarnia Sting. Stamkos spent two seasons in Sarnia racking up an astonishing 197 points (100g, 97a) in 124 games. [BlackBurn News]

And in case you didn’t realize how much pull Stammer still has in Canada, the 50/50 raffle - the winning ticket in a raffle contest gets to take home half of all the money raised in the raffle. The other half goes to charity - reached a record number during the game that followed Stamkos’ banner raising.

The Tampa Bay Lightning have announced the extent of Victor Hedman’s injury. He will be out for 3-6 weeks. That is at least the Lightning’s next seven games and potentially as many as 17 or 18 games. Vegas, Nashville, Winnipeg, Los Angeles, and Toronto are some of the tougher teams the Hedman-less Bolts will have to face. [Raw Charge]

“If the pairing of Mikhail Sergachev and Anton Stralman does bump up to the top pair, that will present a new test for the Russian rookie. He’s been stellar so far this season but I doubt the team envisioned giving him top-pairing minutes this early in his career. He’ll also likely join the top power-play unit.

Speaking of Victor Hedman’s injury, who replaces him at the All-Star Game that is in two weekends time? Leafs fans almost immediately started hollering for their top d-man Morgan Rielly to get the nod. You might like one of the other three options Sportsnet put out as well. ;) [Sportsnet]

“Morgan Rielly is in the middle of a career year and has been so good that experts are even suggesting he could have gone to the Olympics. With 31 points in 45 games, he’s only six points away from setting a career high. In fact, Hedman is the only Atlantic defenceman with more points than Rielly. Add in his smooth skating ability and great passing and the Atlantic won’t miss a step.”

As promised, Saima has trascribed Steve Yzerman’s in-depth interview that addressed the defense, the depth, and the Syracuse Crunch as well. [Raw Charge]

Defense, collectively as a team, we’ve improved. Our penalty killing is greatly improved, although we’ve still got a lot of work to do. Dan Girardi - bringing Dan in has helped out on that. We’re getting more offense out of our D [defensemen] which is one thing we felt we needed. It wasn’t necessarily expected to be getting this much.

Nikita Kucherov is one of those players you pay the price of admission to see.

Nikita Kucherov is one of those players who gives you the jitters every time he touches the puck.

Nikita Kucherov has the “it factor” according to head coach Jon Cooper. [Sportsnet]

Tampa is an unbelievable place to play, but Tampa in July may not be the place you’re picking as your destination point right away just because it’s so hot and humid. He comes back in July, gets the ice at our practice ice facility, it’s a public rink and he rents it out and goes five days a week every single day and just worked on his game,” said Cooper.

Who says you need size to win. [SB Nation]

“According to Mirtle’s analysis of the 31 NHL teams by age, height, and weight for the 2017-18 season, the Lightning come out as the smallest. They’re the lightest team on average by nearly two pounds and stand right beside the Canadiens as one of the shortest.”

The Prospects

The Lightning might be off but the Syracuse Crunch are playing and winning! On this occcasion, the Crunch skyed over the Utica Comets by a score of 3-2. Daniel Walcott and Carter Verhaeghe both having big nights. Oh, and did I mention that this was their seventh straight win? Another streak! [Syracuse]

“Connor Ingram extended his streak to six consecutive wins with a 37-save performance. Thatcher Demko stopped 30-of-33 shots in net for the Comets. Syracuse struck on 1-of-6 power play opportunities and went a perfect 8-for-8 on the penalty kill.”

20-year-old Jonne Tammela made his 2017-18 Crunch (and hockey in general) debut this season, returning from a serious knee injury that has had him out since the summer. He had his OHL rights traded to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds a few days ago but it doesn’t appear as though he will join the best team in the OHL in the near future.

The Game

Andrew Cogliano has signed a three-year, $3.25 million contracct extension with the Anaheim Ducks. [Anaheim Calling]

“Cogliano’s defining characteristic to those around the league is his incredible streak of 829 consecutive games played, having not missed a single one in his NHL career. If he keeps up his current streak, he will break the all-time record of 964 set by Doug Jarvis sometime in 2019.”

After four long years, Nathan MacKinnon is finally scoring big on a competitive team. [Sportsnet]

“The main driving force behind that success has been Nathan MacKinnon, who will have a chance to smash some personal records when the Avalanche resumes play. The next time he registers a point, MacKinnon will match his output for all of last season.

Some players reeeaaally need the bye week. Here are 31 of them that probably do! [ESPN]

“Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri needs a reboot. After blasting out of the gates with 23 points, including 13 goals, in 27 games, the agitating centerman has one goal through 16 subsequent contests (zero assists). That’s just bizarre, even with coach Mike Babcock having him often matched up against the opposition’s best.

Highlight of the Night: Connor McDavid.