Quick Strikes: Five Lightning players take the ice at IIHF Worlds today

The Tampa Bay Lightning may have found a true diamond in the rough with Yanni Gourde, Crunch playoff hockey resumes today, and the IIHF Worlds get underway as Russia faces Sweden.

The Bolts

In the second part of his player evaluation series, Alan takes a look at the remaining forwards and their impact on the team: Cedric Paquette, J.T. Brown, Steven Stamkos, Ryan Callahan, Gabriel Dumont, Adam Erne, and Yanni Gourde. “In a year fraught with frustration, angst, and false hope, the Hockey Gods provided us some solace in the form of a small-sample-size wonder named Yanni Gourde. I want you to take some time to look at the numbers this undrafted dynamo put up in his 243 minutes. Seriously. Just look at them. I’ll give you a minute.” [Raw Charge]

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Braydon Coburn attended Career Day at Christ the King Catholic School. He imparted some valuable advice to the students. “It’s one thing to have a dream, it’s another thing to set goals. You’ve got to follow through with those goals.”

Long-time Lightning beat writer Erik Erlendsson opens up about the day that changed his life forever. May 3, 2016 - the day the Tampa Tribune died. “It was a nightmare, sitting 1,500 miles from home being told you no longer have a job, one you loved for nearly two decades. It was one of the more somber phone calls I’ve ever had to make to my wife, who has been with me since we were married in 1994. The unknown that was ahead of us was, and still is, an unnerving situation.” [Lightning Insider]

The Lightning are teaming up with Creative Loafing to host Bolts Brew Fest on August 5th from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Amalie Arena. “There will be more than 100 craft beer varieties from more than 50 local and national breweries for individuals to choose from at the event. Local and national craft beer choices will include: Ballast Point, Big Storm Brewing, Cigar City Brewing, Coppertail, Cycle, Elysian, New Belgium, Oskar Blues, Saint Somewhere, Sierra Nevada, Sweetwater and Tampa Bay Brewing Company. The full lineup of participating breweries will be announced prior to the event.” [Tampa Bay Lightning]

Discount alert! According to the Lightning’s press release, “Cost for a general admission ticket is $50 in advance or $60 on the day of the event. The general admission ticket will include unlimited beer sampling and a free ticket voucher for a 2017 Lightning preseason game.” You can buy a general admission ticket for $39 through Creative Loafing.

The Prospects

SYRACUSE CRUNCH START THE SECOND ROUND OF THE PLAYOFFS TODAY!!! I’m pretty excited about it, in case you couldn’t tell.

“After a 3-to-1 series victory over the St. John’s IceCaps, Syracuse shifts their attention to an even tougher opponent in the Toronto Marlies. From top to bottom, the Crunch and Marlies boast arguably the league’s best rosters which will almost certainly ensure a high scoring affair in round two.” [Raw Charge]

If you’d rather listen to a preview of the Crunch-Marlies series, we’ve got you covered. Alex and Brandon deliver another phenomenal episode of the CrunchCast previewing the Syracuse/Toronto match-up. [Raw Charge]

“Head coach Benoit Groulx was concerned about his team's energy level in the IceCaps series, so he was looking for a little jolt. Daniel Walcott, time to lace 'em up... He's making his first appearance since injuring his left wrist/forearm in a game vs. St. John's on March 11. ‘I didn't need to cut my nails because I ate them all,’ Walcott said of his eagerness to return.” [Syracuse.com]

The Syracuse Crunch lip sync videos were phenomenal to watch all year. I had a chance to interview the brilliant people behind the series, including Crunch PR wonder woman Megan Cahill. “I went down to the locker room with the final version of the video and Daniel [Walcott] was the first person I saw. I had my phone out and I was showing him. Then I turn around towards the end of the video, and I have the entire team all crowded around my little iPhone watching this video.” [Raw Charge]

Anthony Cirelli (#22 in yellow) picked up an assist as his Erie Otters defeated the Mississauga Steelheads 2-1 in the first game of the OHL Championships. Erik Cernak (#14) and Taylor Raddysh (#17) were held off the score sheet.

Yesterday was the official entry draft for players entering the Western Hockey League (WHL), one of three leagues within Canada’s junior hockey system. Connor Ingram, who has played for the Kaloomps Blazers of the WHL for the last three years, shared some advice for aspiring young players who went undrafted yesterday.

The Worlds

With ten members of the Tampa Bay Lightning participating across four teams at the IIHF World Championship, we'll be keeping a close eye on Canada (Jon Cooper, Alex Killorn, and Brayden Point), Russia (Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov, Andrei Vasilevskiy, and prospect Nikita Gusev), Sweden (Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman), and Switzerland (Tanner Richard).

It’s Russia versus Sweden at 10:15 AM EST today. Namestnikov doesn’t seem too worried about facing Hedman and Stralman. “All of the guys are feeling good, we're preparing for the World Championship. The ice was better today than yesterday. I have played with Nikita Gusev and Nikita Kucherov before, we have a good mutual understanding. Does Sweden have a lot of Tampa Bay players? I wouldn't say that any of us are thinking about that. This match might be similar to the fixture we played in Stockholm not long ago, it will be an interesting game. We will look at the video and stick to the game plan.” [Russian Ice Hockey Federation]

Watch Vasilevskiy play hockey with adorable children. Vasy seems like a wonderful person in addition to being a phenomenal goalie.

Watch Namestnikov pose for a strange mugshot-type picture, complete with name card, while wearing full Team Russia hockey gear. I don’t understand why this is happening, but my job is to pull any and all Lightning information that I can find on the internet, so enjoy.

Team Russia continues to bless us with photos of our favorite players.

The Game

Capitals fans are tired of hearing about how their team manages to keep losing games they should win. “Hey so here’s something I never ever want to hear again for the rest of my life: The Washington Capitals played great, dominated possession and registered 437 more shot attempts than their playoff opponent, but they lost because hockey is weird and random lol.” [Washington Post]

The 60 best names from 2017 WHL Bantam Draft. “As always, the number of wacky Western Canada names that were selected truly boggles the mind, and continues to give sociologists crucial insight into where teenagers’ names are headed. The era of Taylors and Tylers is over. The sun may be setting on all forms of “-aiden”-based names as well. This year, we had a first name without a single vowel. Exciting times.” [Puck Daddy]

Ben Bishop and Brian Boyle find themselves among the most coveted unrestricted free agents heading into this summer. “Bishop: Injuries and a trade that banished him to backup status in L.A. cost him some money, but he's still the top UFA goalie. Calgary rumors make so much sense that it almost feels like a foregone conclusion that he signs there.” [The Hockey News]