Quick Strikes: Lightning captain Steven Stamkos needs a lesson in what a secret is.
Plus: AHL All-Star madness!
-The NHL All-Star event may be over, but there’s still a few media goodies trickling out. One of the cutest is this interview with a kid reporter and Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos. The child reporter asks him to spill a secret about one of his teammates. Stamkos goes with, “Vasilevskiy secretly really likes kitty cats.”
"You wanna take your socks off now or are you good?" 🤣— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) January 28, 2019
Take a little walk down the #NHLAllStar red carpet with @realstamkos91: pic.twitter.com/9Stv5IRU5L
We know, Steven.
Behind the scenes w/ Andrei Vasilevskiy at the making of the upcoming #Bolts' pet calendar.— Bryan Burns (@BBurnsNHL) August 22, 2017
Vasy: "I am the lion king." pic.twitter.com/GfDS4G7Fga
-The Lightning’s power play is the best in the NHL, with a 30% success rate. Why? A 1-3-1 formation.
The formation gives players a lot of space to operate and creates triangles where players can shoot or have at least two passing options.
-We all needed more good news about Nikita Kucherov, right?
Nikita Kucherov of the @TBLightning is one of 19 players age 25 or younger averaging at least one point per game this season (min. 25 GP).— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) January 28, 2019
Since 1989-90, only eight other skaters under 26 years of age accumulated 78+ points in a season at the #NHLAllStar break. #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/2aY1Ocu65E
-It looks like the Bolts’ Family Carnival is being replaced with a more crowd-friendly event.
Bolts Family Game Night will feature Lightning players on stage at Tampa Theatre participating in game show-style competitions for bragging rights in the locker room with fans as the studio audience. Afterward, the event will move to a “block party” outside the theater. At the block party fans will be able to interact with the team while playing carnival-style games and other activities, including autograph and photo stations.
-Bryan Burns posted the third part of his series on the equipment staff of the NHL. This edition focused on the challenge that back-to-back games present.
-Tyler Johnson seems to be coming back right on schedule:
Tyler Johnson is on the ice for #Bolts practice today in Brandon. Johnson missed the San Jose game with a lower-body injury but was expected back after the break.— Bryan Burns (@BBurnsNHL) January 28, 2019
-The Lightning’s next watch party is coming up Wednesday!
Back on our watch party game!— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) January 28, 2019
Join us Wednesday at Harpoon Harry’s at @thetampacc for #TBLvsPIT!
Party starts at 7pm followed by an 8pm puck drop. ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/ptoV7KUobC
-Our next Around the Atlantic was posted yesterday, with Matt chiming in on the state of the Montreal Canadiens. He chatted with Scott Matla about the team.
Our biggest question entering the season was, what is this defense going to be without Shea Weber at the start of the season? Jeff Petry is great, but what else do we have? As everyone’s gotten healthy, they’ve managed to solidify the lineup. I still don’t think they’ve optimized the lineup because I don’t think Mike Reilly is a top-four defender—he’s not. They have these pieces in place and it appears to have meshed. I think teams shouldn’t take them lightly because they have guys who are good at very specific things throughout the lineup on both sides of the puck.
-Tracey is at the AHL All-Star event in Springfield this weekend. She posted her first batch of photos yesterday! Cory Conacher, Connor Ingram, and coach Ben Groulx are representing Syracuse.
-Some other media highlights from the All-Star game:
“Ingy, this is a serious interview.” 🤣@conhockey19 and @CBIngram1 chat prior to tonight’s #AHLAllStar Challenge. pic.twitter.com/0GOkk7fERn— Syracuse Crunch (@SyracuseCrunch) January 28, 2019
#AHLAllStar Challenge ready. 👊 pic.twitter.com/VfSA9UYJlb— Syracuse Crunch (@SyracuseCrunch) January 28, 2019
“To see those athletes – the way they skate, the way they shoot the puck – and you’re next to them…being with them here and seeing them doing things like that, you really realize, wow, man, those guys are good.”— Syracuse Crunch (@SyracuseCrunch) January 28, 2019
Ben Groulx after being on the bench for #AHLAllStar skills. pic.twitter.com/r9JKCvd7JI
Miss the 2019 #AHLAllStar Skills Competition last night?— AHL (@TheAHL) January 28, 2019
1) How dare you
2) That's ok, we've got some highlights for you. pic.twitter.com/UwbLk2wK51
Players, coaches, fans, and refs all standing together in the fight against cancer. #HockeyFightsCancer #AHLAllStar pic.twitter.com/RZRWJBPVqC— AHL (@TheAHL) January 29, 2019
-AHL president Dave Andrews addressed a variety of topics during his annual address at the event, among which was the possible release of TOI for AHL players.
Andrews: player on-ice data is collected. TOI is being investigated for public release.— PATRICK WILLIAMS (@pwilliamsNHL) January 28, 2019
-Tracey also checked in with the Orlando Solar Bears yesterday, summarizing what the ECHL affiliate of the Lightning and the Crunch has been up to after their own All-Star event.
-Auston Matthews paid tribute to Toronto Maple Leafs teammate Patrick Marleau at SAP Center during the 2019 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend. The jersey he wore during that moment has been signed by members of the San Jose Sharks, and Matthews is going to auction the jersey off the charity.
-Toronto completed a trade with the LA Kings last night, acquiring Jake Muzzin.
.@SportChek Player Alert: The @MapleLeafs have acquired defenceman Jake Muzzin from Los Angeles in exchange for forward Carl Grundstrom, the rights to Sean Durzi and Toronto’s first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.#LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/3DYt3w0dc1— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) January 29, 2019
-Things with the Edmonton Oilers are almost constantly in flux. Can Connor McDavid overcome what’s going on and still excel? Good question.
“I’m not going to comment on that here,” McDavid said when he was asked, almost immediately, about Edmonton’s disarray. “You know, we’re here for the All-Star Game and I want to enjoy that as much as I can.” Naturally, reporters responded by asking a dozen more questions on the subject. As they did, McDavid pursed his lips and itched his face. He showed up to the All-Star festivities with a new haircut, like a lost soul seeking a fresh start. But even the new look couldn’t mask the outward fatigue of being an Oiler. Finally, someone tossed him a softball question, something about the rules of the All-Star Game or whatever. “Oh my god,” McDavid said, visibly relaxing. “I was gonna get off the seat, it was so hot.”
-Colorado Avalanche prospect Tyson Jost looks to finally be finding his way in the AHL.
Since being sent down by the Avalanche, Jost has looked good playing alongside A.J. Greer and Michael Joly. He has been getting a lot of ice time and was instantly installed on the team’s first power play unit. Jost has been driving play and getting a lot of chances and was finally rewarded over the weekend scoring his first three goals in an Eagles jersey.
-The Philadelphia Flyers appear to be ready to play ball as the trade deadline approaches.
Chuck Fletcher basically said everyone is available in a trade except Claude Giroux. I have a feeling Carter Hart is untouchable, too. #Flyers— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) January 28, 2019
-The Athletic has an article about how Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella wants Martin St. Louis’ help for more than just with special teams.
-Dan Milstein posted this comment about Artemi Panarin.
Statement about Artemi Panarin’s future “We have informed the team that we are willing to discuss Artemi’s future after the season. Our priority now is to focus on the rest of the season, trying to win a Stanley Cup for the CBJ & their fans”. No additional comments will be made..— Dan Milstein-Hockey (@HockeyAgent1) January 28, 2019
-How does the Boston Bruins defend zone entries? By using something called the “squash-and-slide tactic,” which, frankly, just sounds like fun.
While they do give up more shots than league average from the slot, their shot suppression, presence in front of the net, and good goaltending has led them to phenomenal defensive results this season.
-Lauren did some writing over at Mile High Hockey about the 2019 CHL Top Prospects Game, covering the various story lines that came out of the event.
The annual CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game is essentially the CHL’s all-star game for the best draft-eligible players from all three leagues. All right, maybe there’s no skills competition, but it’s a chance for invited players to impress NHL scouts (and fans) and potentially improve their draft stock for June.
Now, it’s just one game (it’d be different if it were a best-of-three series, but that’s a tale for another day), so you can’t exactly place too much importance on it. However, we’ve seen players come out of nowhere in recent years and just light up this game.
-It looks like Winnipeg is about to get a CHL team.
Sources tell the Free Press an announcement is being planned for tomorrow afternoon that will confirm the relocation of the Kootenay Ice to Winnipeg for next season and expand on the broader land development project currently aimed for the south end of the city. #wfp— Jeff Hamilton (@jeffkhamilton) January 28, 2019
-The hockey NCAA community came together this past week to support longtime Mercyhurst men’s hockey equipment manager, Mike Folga, who is currently battling cancer.