Quick Strikes: Warm up rituals with Yanni Gourde, via the Bolts’ beat writer

Tampa Bay Lightning writer Bryan Burns unpacks the interesting rituals of pregame warm up.

The Bolts

Bryan Burns, resident beat writer and anthropologist of the Tampa Bay Lightning, noticed something interesting about pregame warmups. He noticed that not only does Yanni Gourde fetch exactly one puck and pass it to a group of players to shoot on the net, but that the order in which he passes is very specific. Listen to this longer-than-usual player interview for a bit more insight into the ritual.

Did you notice something about the order? I guess it’s obvious to a player or a fan: it goes Captain, Assistant Captains, and then by seniority on down the line.

Read the whole story here: Warmup ritual a precursor to the game for Gourde. “Once it’s time to begin line rushes, Gourde is the player tasked with collecting all of the pucks, centralizing them in one area inside the net and dishing them out three or four at a time to center ice.” [NHL.com]

Tightest race in years: Hart Trophy case for 10 (!) players. “Why he deserves to win: No one was better in the first half than Kucherov, who scored 64 points in 49 games heading into the All-Star break. He’s cooled slightly since then — and others have really heated up — but the Lightning forward is still ranked second in scoring with 96 points.” [National Post]

NHL Power Rankings: Where The Top Teams Stand. “Tampa is becoming a dangerous team on home ice, however, the key will be goaltending once the playoffs start. They are getting healthier at the right time.” [Murphy’s Hockey Law]

Lightning thinks it has answer to late-season funk. “It’s funny,” Callahan said. “We’re talking about turning it around. We’re first place in the division fighting for first place in the league. It just shows you the expectations we hold for ourselves and what the outside holds for us, the team we have and the start to the season we had.” [Tampa Bay Times]

She said yes! Brandon couple gets engaged at Lightning practice. “They both love hockey and attend many Lightning games, including one last season when Marty St. Louis had his jersey retired. They play ball hockey (on the same line) together in Ellenton. Josh Dreith, a community hockey manager for the Lightning, is also in the league.” [Tampa Bay Times]

Steven Stamkos is Tampa Bay’s repeat nominee for Masterton Trophy. Actually we’d like him to no longer be in contention. [Raw Charge]

The Prospects

Tampa Bay Lightning ECHL affiliate update: Adirondack Thunder Week 24 in Review. “One series split later, they find themselves in the same exact spot they started. They are still two points out, but they have inched closer to securing an invite to the Kelly Cup playoffs.” Go Thunder go! [Raw Charge]

Ex-Syracuse Crunch enforcer adds muscle to charity game. “Ex-Syracuse Crunch enforcer Eric Neilson was known for his fighting ability but was also one of the must community-oriented players in franchise history.” [Syracuse.com]

The Game