Quick Strikes: Steven Stamkos says 2018 All-Star Game in Tampa is “a testament to what Mr. Vinik has done in our city”

The Tampa Bay Lightning will host the 2018 NHL All Star Game at Amalie Arena, Jeff Vinik is the patron saint of Tampa, and we did a round table debate of hot topics.

The Bolts

"We are thrilled to host the 2018 NHL All-Star Game at AMALIE Arena," said Jeff Vinik, Chairman and Governor of the Tampa Bay Lightning. "We've worked hard over the past several years to transform Tampa Bay into a hockey market. The honor of hosting the All-Star game validates that work, but it's not the end of our efforts. We pledge to work alongside the NHL as well as leaders across Tampa Bay to deliver a world class experience for All-Star players, fans and partners." [Raw Charge]

Steven Stamkos credits Vinik with laying the foundation to bring the event to Tampa. "I think (the All-Star Game) is a long time coming. It's obviously a testament to what Mr. Vinik has done in our city, and our organization. It's a huge honor to host an event like that. It's just an opportunity to show what a great city we have and how great of a fan base we have to the rest of the league." [Tampa Bay Times]

The Raw Charge staff debates some current hot topics. Is Drouin really irreplaceable? Should the Lightning protect Dotchin or Koekkoek in the expansion draft? Are the Bolts ready to trade Johnson? Just how bad is Killorn’s contract? [Raw Charge]

In honor of Memorial Day, members of the Lightning took to social media to express their appreciation for the men and women of our armed forces.

join us in thanking all those who have served and given their lives to protect ours. we remember.

A post shared by Tampa Bay Lightning (@tblightning) on

The Prospects

The Syracuse Crunch have what it takes to win the Calder Cup. “If given a choice of any of the teams in our history to entrust that goal to, I would pick the current group of guys we have in our dressing room every single time. They’ve faced an incredible amount of adversity this season, and they’ve risen to the occasion every single time. They’ve become a team through sweat, blood, and tears, through a kind of trial-by-fire that is rarely seen in this league. They’ve overcome all of the odds. They’re ready.” [Raw Charge]

“The Syracuse Crunch wrapped up its first-round playoff series by eliminating St. John's on April 21, a Friday. That was great news in itself, but it carried a little extra bonus for Crunch netminder Mike McKenna. It cleared up his Saturday night schedule for a fun night of watching the racing at Fulton Speedway. McKenna is a huge racing fan.” [Syracuse.com]

The Game

“In a sport dominated by Canadian coaches through the history of the game, American-born head coaches have been a rarity. It’s even more rare for one to have been the head coach of a Stanley Cup winning team. Two American coaches facing off against  each other in a Stanley Cup Final? Never happened. Until now.” [Lightning Insider, Subscription]

Everything beyond this point is firmly in the “Here are all the things wrong with the NHL” category. BOOOOOOOOOOO.

Inconsistent officiating in the playoffs. Honestly, can anyone explain goalie interference? “These are the calls that, when they happen, you basically sit back and just let them tell you what the ruling is. There’s almost no point in trying to break them down in too much detail because doing so just reminds everyone that these are total judgment calls. Referees are trying to determine not just action, but intent, of a high-speed game using slowed-down replays on a 9.7-inch screen.” [SB Nation]

Speaking of terrible rules, here’s another example of why the offside challenge sucks.

Oh, and the NHL continues to pretend like concussions are not a problem. Sure, Gary Bettman. Let’s just re-categorize “probable concussions” as “upper body injuries” so you can artificially deflate your numbers.

Bettman also officially ruled out the 2018 Olympics and he’s banning players from participating on the largest international stage. “Bettman also made it pretty clear that players such as Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov, who have gone on the record as saying they intend to play in the Olympics, will be barred from doing so. If that’s the case, the league had better be prepared for a fight. The NHL Players’ Association will file a grievance, and perhaps even a legal challenge, in record time. It will be a difficult fight for the NHLPA but one it will be more than happy in which to engage.” [The Hockey News]

Yeah, who has time for the silly Olympics anyway? It’s not like it could benefit the NHL in any tangible way, like increasing exposure to the sport and its star players during one of the most widely watched television events in North America and across the world.

Ugh, NHL. Get it together.