Quick Strikes: the Syracuse Crunch are on a roll

Martin St. Louis is a Hockey Hall of Famer, and news (not really) on Toronto’s William Nylander.

The Bolts

Tampa Bay Lightning great Martin St. Louis was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame over the weekend. JustinG. wrote an amazing story on MSL and the call to the Hall on Saturday and then shared some great video of the HHOF Celebrity Classic game in Toronto on Sunday, so here’s both. [Raw Charge]

By now, his story is well known to most Lightning fans. Undrafted. Undersized. Cut from the Calgary Flames. Even during his first season with the the Lightning he found himself on the third and fourth lines. “You don’t think about the Hall of Fame when you’re in Calgary,” he said after the ceremony. “You’re thinking about trying to find another game, your place in the league.”

Follow @RawCharge for more pictures and video from that night.

Apparently, every headline not from a local publication titling a story on MSL was legally mandated to include a short joke. At least that’s what it looks like as I scroll through Google News. This story but NHL dot com thankfully was the least creative: “St. Louis showed Lightning he could play despite lack of size.” [NHL dot com]

“We probably wouldn’t have known what we missed if he went to Europe,” said former Lightning general manager Rick Dudley, now the senior vice president of hockey operations for the Carolina Hurricanes. “Marty would have become a star there … but nobody, I don’t think, would have given him a chance here.”

Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Bay Times thankfully is local, and instead told the story of MSL’s drive and need to always be better through his teammates throughout all the years. [Tampa Bay Times]

“For me, I was amazed at how hard he worked at his age (he was 39 when he was traded), even after he’d become a star,” McDonagh said. “Coming in after a game, whether you won or lost, no matter how he played, he’d remember one or two plays where he’d missed a shot or a pass to somebody. He’d go up to that guy and say, ‘Small bucket for me tomorrow, small bucket.’ A small bucket of pucks, to work on his game.”

Switching gears slightly, does Ryan McDonagh have what it takes to be in the Norris conversation? [The Hockey Writers]

Once Hedman suffered his injury, though, McDonagh took on a new role. He became their defacto top-line defenseman, carrying play alongside former Rangers teammate Anton Stralman. Along with those responsibilities, he also took over the Lightning’s top power play unit while maintaining his spot on the penalty kill. With this increased presence over the next seven games, he posted one goal and eight points while averaging roughly 24 minutes of playing time a night.

The Prospects

The power play propelled the Syracuse Crunch to a 7-2 victory over the Hershey Bears on Sunday night. The Crunch now have brought home seven of a possible eight points over the last four games and have clawed their way back to .500 after a dismal start to the season. Back in the playoff conversation, baby! [Syracuse]

The Syracuse Crunch put up four power-play goals in a 7-2 victory over the Hershey Bears tonight at the War Memorial Arena. Twelve different Crunch players collected points, including multi-point performances from Carter Verhaeghe (1g, 1a), Erik Cernak (1g, 1a), Cory Conacher (1g, 1a), Andy Andreoff (1g, 1a), Taylor Raddysh (1g, 1a) and Ben Thomas (2a). The win pushes Syracuse to 5-5-1-0 on the season while sweeping the two-game season series against Hershey.

“The guys are moving the puck with a lot of confidence... I really like our work on defence, Benny Thomas had a great game.” - Benoit Groulx

“We kept moving the puck [on the power play], we got all five guys working on the unit, and now chemistry’s starting to come.” - Taylor Raddysh

We thank every woman and man who run toward the shower of bullets to protect this country. Thank you for your service.

The Game

After a confident start to the season, the New Jersery Devils just can’t seem to put any wins together. “Something’s Gotta Give: Devils Defeated Easily by Jets 2-5.” [All About the Jersey]

Dump the Defense (or at least their coach): I’ll say what anyone who watched this game is thinking: the defense flat out sucked again. While the players have to share some of the blame, I don’t think anyone here during the Hynes Era has said that the defensive coaching is making any of our young players better defenders.

More William Nylander news. Only 18 days left before he’s ineligible to sign a contract for 2018-19. Things are getting hairy. [Sportsnet]

So far, Kyle Dubas has been patient enough to take things slowly with his unsigned 22-year-old winger. The fact he is only now just starting to gauge the Nylander trade market, as Elliotte Friedman reported on our “Headlines” segment Saturday, underscores the notion that the Leafs GM has been focused on one outcome and one outcome only throughout this saga.

In fact, there’s scuttlebutt Camp Nylander recently turned down an offer matching the David Pastrnak deal — $40-million over six years — although that rumour was denied over the weekend.

Highlight of the Night: Mikko Rantanen is better than Nylander and David Pastrnak, by the way.