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Quick Strikes: Lightning prospects help set a new record at Memorial Cup Tournament

The Bolts

“The Tampa Bay Lightning Girls will host their first annual Summer Camp for girls ages 6-12 from July 17-21 at Amalie Arena. The camp will focus primarily on dance, fitness and building a healthy lifestyle, along with additional activities in a unique and fun atmosphere.” [Tampa Bay Lightning]

Jassen Cullimore and the rest Lightning Made team went out to McMullen Booth Elementary to teach kids about street hockey.

“What better way to break the doldrums of missing the playoffs – and stoke your fire for what promises to be a memorable rebound next season — than by reliving the highlights from 2016-17… Now, it’s your chance to determine the top play from a season filled with them. We’ve done the heavy lifting, combing through each regular season and playoff game to compile a list of all the noteworthy highlights from 2016-17 and narrow that list to the best 16.” [Tampa Bay Lightning]

The Worlds

The World Championships ended on Sunday. Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman won gold with Sweden; Jon Cooper, Alex Killorn, and Brayden Point picked up silver; Nikita Gusev, Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov, and Andrei Vasilevskiy walked away with bronze. You can catch up on all the highlights and photos from the medal games in yesterday’s edition of Quick Strikes.

Hedman and Stralman were welcomed home by a giant crowd in Stockholm. The gold helmets are a little odd, but it’s great to see Stralman really enjoying himself (he’s the one with the Swedish flag tied around his neck like a cape).

Strålman has waited a very long time to be a winner. He’s lost in two trips to the Stanley Cup Finals (2014 with the Rangers and 2015 with the Lightning) as well as three previous times at the World Championships. Now he is finally a champion. “It’s amazing… It’s awesome. From being a real [expletive] loser to finally being a champ. It feels fantastic. Now I’m no longer a [expletive] loser.” [Raw Charge]

Hedman was also elated after the victory. “It’s an unbelievable feeling. To represent your country and to win a tournament like this is huge. We’re really, really, really happy. Can’t explain the feelings right now.” [Raw Charge]

Team Russia was also welcomed home by adoring fans at the Russian airport. Kucherov and Namestnikov were able to evade the cameras, but here’s a nice shot of Vasilevskiy with a bouquet of flowers.

“Watching this fantastic tournament, spread out over several weeks in Paris and Cologne, you witnessed what the world might be missing if the NHL doesn’t send its players to South Korea [for the 2018 Winter Olympics]… Lightning players could lose out on what is undoubtedly a beneficial experience. Vasilevskiy was spectacular, named goalie of the tournament after becoming the first Russian to post three shutouts in a World Championship. You don’t think that’ll boost Vasilevskiy heading into his first full season as Lightning No. 1? Point, coming off a remarkable rise as a rookie, held his own for Team Canada on a “Kid” line with Mitch Marner, earning a silver medal. Kucherov was second in the tournament with 15 points (seven goals). Both Stralman and Hedman were plus-8, Hedman scoring a goal in gold medal game.” [Tampa Bay Times]

“The Lightning were well represented at this tournament… Here’s a prediction: barring another rash of injuries like this season, they won’t be at the worlds next year because they’ll be in the NHL playoffs. In fact, it says here that, when you add Jonathan Drouin and a healed Steven Stamkos into the mix, Tampa Bay should be among the 2018 Cup favourites.” [National Post]

The Prospects

The Syracuse Crunch take on the Providence Bruins tomorrow night in Game 3 of the AHL Eastern Conference Finals. The series is currently tied 1-1.

After playing the first two games of the series in Providence, the Crunch players are looking forward to returning to home ice. “Coming back into our barn here, we know that we’re comfortable here and that we’ve won games,” said Syracuse goalie Mike McKenna. “All you have to do is look at Game 7 (vs. Toronto) last week. Our fans are as good as anybody in professional sports. Playing in the War Memorial here to a packed house that’s that loud, that gets behind us, that carries that momentum, I can speak first-hand as a goalie that’s daunting when you’re the visiting club. So, we’re very excited to be back home in front of our home fans.” [Syracuse.com]

Memorial Cup Tournament: Erie Otters defeat Saint John Sea Dogs 12-5

The Memorial Cup is the ultimate prize in junior hockey. Five Lightning prospects are playing in the tournament for two different teams. Erik Cernak, Anthony Cirelli, and Taylor Raddysh are members of the Erie Otters while Bokondji Imama and Mathieu Joseph play for the Saint John Sea Dogs.

The Erie Otters set a new Memorial Cup record by scoring 12 goals in a single game. The Lightning prospects were a huge part of that success. “Raddysh and Cirelli are playing like they can read each other’s minds. Passes are caught every time; they know where each other will be on the ice… Anthony Cirelli has been stick handling like a God tonight, as if the Saint John players were practice dummies.” [Raw Charge]

The Erie Otters wore white jerseys for this game. Raddysh (#17) was named second star of the game with six points (2G, 4A). Cirelli (#22) was third star with five points (1G, 4A). Cernak (#14) picked up an assist.

The Sea Dogs wore black jerseys. Joseph (#21) had two points (1G, 1A) while Imama (#51) was held off the score sheet.

The Game

“Team Canada assistant GM Sean Burke had a lot on his mind when he watched the world championship. Burke, who said he expects to be the man to head up Canada’s Olympic entry sans NHL players, viewed the IIHF top tournament as more than just a cheerleader. He kept an eye on countries whose roster might closely resemble the ones they’ll ice at the Pyeongchang Games in barely more than nine months.” [Sportsnet]

From Hockey 101 to a Ph.D. in Nashville. “The Predators’ transformation to playoff perennials has been rewarding for employees and fans.” [New York Times]

“Nashville’s anthem performers, and the fact the Predators don’t announce them in advance, have become the talk of the NHL playoffs. People want to be settled into their seats at the arena, or on their couch at home, to see who is going to walk out on the ice.” [USA Today]

“The Nashville Predators are headed to the Stanley Cup Finals! They beat the Anaheim Ducks 6-3, getting a hat trick from Colton Sissons and another great performance from Pekka Rinne.” [On The Forecheck]

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