Quick Strikes: Surprise! It’s Quick Strikeception!

This is a Secret Santa post celebrating Raw Charge’s boy wonder, Hardevlad.

What is a Quick Strike, anyway?

It’s the middle of the summer and I am here to tell you that doing the Tampa Bay Lightning daily news links is not an easy job. The daily links (named Quick Strikes long ago by John Fontana) have been around since the inception of SBNation — the premise is that it’s easy to take news, filter it through the intelligent perception of a fan, and come out with a cogent list of the most relevant stories of the day.

It’s easy if you’re a Leafs fan. You have a wealth of information to draw from.

Now try that for a small-market team with ONE newspaper and THREE dedicated blogs, and see how you fare. Because of the difficulty of finding news outside of the third round of playoffs, I swiftly handed over the daily task to researcher and smart person extraordinaire, Saima. It will probably come as no surprise that she wrote me a four-page manual on daily links best practices, including the proper Google search terms and carefully curated lists of twitter and instagram links for maximum enjoyment and SEO.

And when Saima moved on, I missed her daily attention to this fundamental element of our site. One day I posted plaintively on Twitter that I needed someone to do these links.

Enter Hardevlad

Who should respond but Hardev!

Hardev, a Toronto Maple Leafs fan, had been following Raw Charge’s work due to Saima — and when she graduated to her medical rotations, he volunteered to step in and follow her instructions to continue building the links.

The second Hardev stepped into SBNation, his boundless energy came with him, and soon he was not only doing our links, but things for Tom Hunter’s Mile High Hockey blog — and then there came a day when Species at Pension Plan Puppets needed a cowriter for Toronto Marlies coverage, and there was no looking back.

Hardev has had a special touch with daily links that I quite enjoy. When he pours his heart into it, it contains his own perspective on news articles that always ends with a nice overview of league games and the “highlight of the night” — something I value, because I never have time to watch games outside of our own club.

One of my favorite of Hardev’s Quick Strikes is this one:

  • Even though it highlighted a team that he covers yet dislikes (the Crunch) and a team that he covers and loves (the Marlies) he tried for even-handedness and was never unfair to the Crunch.
  • His League coverage was especially strong, with three videos of game play because it was pretty late in the playoffs. His enthusiasm is clear to see.
  • His links covered all the most important stories that we cared about on that particular day in the playoffs, with brief but clear descriptions. Looking back, it’s like a historical timestamp of that one day out of all days in the history of our team.
  • I think these daily links will be an important way to chronicle the history of the Tampa Bay Lightning, someday. I look forward to someone finding these troves of links pages and realizing what a historic treasure they are, especially with the way Hardev put the Lightning in context with the rest of the league./

There are a lot of relevant Quick Strikes that you can peruse to enjoy the past season, and you can click Hardev’s name to see a short list of the most recent ones he’s done, or click the Quick Strikes category to have access to endless archives going back to John Fontana’s time.

Hardev, Leafs fan

I’d be remiss if I did not mention Hardev’s Toronto Marlies coverage. Hardev headed over to Pension Plan Puppets to help out Species, and poured some of that boundless enthusiasm into credentialed coverage of the Marlies. Making the trek to Ricoh in the cold Toronto spring had to be tough, especially with college classes to attend, but Hardev did it. This was not without some cost. Covering the Marlies and Lightning late into the playoffs took a toll on Hardev’s health, and there was a span of several weeks where he was on enforced bedrest to recover from the season.

Hardev wrote one of the last Marlies game recaps, right before they won the Calder Cup.

Rosen to the Occasion: Toronto Marlies beat Texas Stars 6-2 in Game 5 of Calder Cup Final [PPP]

When this kid began writing up game coverage, like with any rookie, I had to beat into his head a few things to keep track of. (1) Quit shifting tense between present and past in the same paragraph and (2) check your work before you post it. This recap shows the maturing of his voice and his sense of responsibility. He learned play away from the puck over the course of the season, and wrote up a recap that combined all of his joy in the game with some interesting observations of the play on the ice, as seen from the perspective of the Ricoh Coliseum press box.

This paragraph, for example, has energy and observation AND the correct tense:

For the first time in Texas, and possibly the series, we got to see the relentless, four-line, fast, and talented roster the Marlies had to offer. Andy Nielsen has been, dare I say it, the best offensive defenseman on the ice for the Marlies. He’s jumped in plays, communicated with his wingers to make sure things are covered defensively, and made his presence known with his dangerous shot.

You can follow more of Hardev’s Toronto Marlies writing over here at Pension Plan Puppets.

Hardev, Avs fan????

Tom Hunter stole my rookie to cover news at Mile High Hockey. Hardev pitched in with breaking news like this piece and this piece. What it shows to me is the same commitment to watching the game league-wide that Hardev has in his daily links posts — a love for the game, a perspective that we all benefit from here at Raw Charge.

The Future of Hardev

Will our rookie forward continue to play the game with all the enthusiasm he’s shown thus far in his sophomore season? Here are the things that I want to see happen in his second season with SBNation: more play away from the puck (check your work before you publish); better time management on ice (don’t overpromise your time to three different SBNation sites); better SELF CARE (don’t exhaust yourself so that you get physically ill because of SBNation!); and finally, FICCXS YOUR STUCCK C KEY, KID.

Ultimately, I also hope our Hardev continues to bring his joy and clear love of the game to us next season.

Oh, daily news, right

Here’s our front page

Have an excellent day!