Quick Strikes: Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik is driving the evolution of eSports

And Nikita Kucherov speaks about his lacklustre play in the playoffs.

The Bolts

Fans of the Tampa Bay Lightning are great. Honestly! You are all creative, funny, and passionate people. We hope that this season, we will get a chance to see some really creative videos from the fans, team, and league. [Raw Charge]

One of my favorite parts of sports fandom is the excited creativity of the fanbase around it. Remember the 2014-15 season when the Tampa Bay Lightning got all the way to the Cup final? One of the best parts of that run was the fanworks that celebrated it. For example, remember 94.1 creating a whole different take on Uptown Funk? (Uptown Puck!)

Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik is of a few wealthy men investing (and succeeding) in eSports. Read about the growth in the game in this exposé on the owners of the game. [OXY]

Monumental Sports & Entertainment (MSE), which owns the Washington Wizards, Washington Mystics and reigning Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitols, in 2016 purchased Team Liquid, the most successful esports team in the world. It also founded aXiomatic, an esports holding company. At aXiomatic alone, the list of investors includes Golden State Warriors co-owner Peter Guber, Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and Los Angeles Lakers president and Dodgers co-owner Magic Johnson.

Nikita Kucherov wasn’t great in the Eastern Conference Final, and he knows it. He spoke with Joe Smith of The Athletic and opened up about what he’s going to do so it never happens again. [The Athletic]

“I definitely didn’t feel I played my best hockey I could play,” Kucherov told The Athletic. “It just happened to be that period of time. Sometimes things go well for you, sometimes you’re not feeling right. Something is off. And I don’t want it to happen again. I’m going to make sure to work on it and make sure I’m hungry every game. Looking back, I would have done some things differently, preparation and stuff, little things before games.

The Prospects

The Game

With the loss of fighting and the change in how player safety is run, is hockey getting cleaner? [Blueshirt Banter]

Last year there were 28 total suspensions. Those suspensions resulted in NHL players missing 87 games, including games in the preseason and playoffs along with the regular season. Two years ago, the league handed out 28 suspensions for a cumulative penalty of 85 games. NHL players missed over 200 games in the 2015-16 season, but that number was inflated by Raffi Torres’ 41-game ban and four other suspensions of 19 games or more.

The original scouting reports on Sidney Crosby remain scarily accurate. Hockey scouts finally got a player right! [Pensburgh]

Saw this on r/hockey and it was too good not to share - from 2005 a scouting report on Sidney Crosby. I guess it was pretty easy to scout the best player of his generation. But it does go to show how much Crosby had to live up to, and how in many ways not much has changed in the last 13 years as many aspects of the report ring very true and familiar for what Penguin fans have witnessed over the years.

Professional Try-Out season has arrived! Hockey is not far away, people!