Quick Strikes: More on Stamkos, Pasquale returns to Syracuse

The Lightning captain is just too good for only one Quick Strikes.

Monday night, Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos hit 700 career points in style, with a hat trick. We here at Raw Charge were quick to celebrate this milestone - he is Tampa’s captain, after all - and others chimed in, rightfully so. However, Monday night and yesterday just wasn’t enough. This all needed a proper exclamation point. Thankfully, the Lightning and Dan Girardi were more than happy to provide just the right celebratory moment to bring this all together.

Just watch that a few more times. It’s guaranteed to make your day automatically better.

Hey, what else might make your day automatically better? Well, how about the (assumed) news that goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy is ready to return to action? With the return of Eddie Pasquale to the Syracuse Crunch - and no subsequent call up to keep a second healthy goalie on roster in Tampa - it’s pretty much certain that Vasy is ready to return.

Vasilevskiy’s return will allow (Louis) Domingue to slide back into his backup role and give the Lightning a solid tandom in net. While they have been winning games, they’ve had to rely on their offense to outscore teams at times and the return of Vasilevskiy should put them in that position less often.

Want even more good news to get you over your hump day? Last week, I linked to a Forbes article about valuable NHL franchises. Frankly, I wasn’t interested in making much sense out of it, but Alan, blessed Alan, wrote a great article yesterday about why this is such a big deal. He put all of this into laymen’s terms, added some interesting historical context behind it all, and summed it up beautifully.

The more interesting and more important part of the Forbes data is the operating income, which tells us more about the viability and health of the franchise. From a fans’ perspective, this is more meaningful than the valuation. Frankly, I don’t really care whether Vinik stands to make $300M or $500M dollars when he decides to sell the team. I do care if the team has enough cash to operate because if they don’t, I won’t have a team to root for anymore.

After all of that, I do have to dent the good news train just a little. The Crunch’s season-high 13 point streak came to an end this past weekend. However, considering a loss was going to come eventually, that news really isn’t the heartbreaker it could be, especially after their manhandling of Binghamton the night before.

Often, a team on a long points streak will relax and start developing bad, lazy habits. That hasn’t been the case with Syracuse. They’ve actually looked stronger as the streak has gone on. While they haven’t been perfect (and the Amerks took advantage of their miscues), they have been, for most nights, the best team on the ice. That’s a sign of good coaching and strong veteran leadership which bodes well for the Crunch down the stretch.

In fact, the first game they lost in regulation since the end of October didn’t even hurt them that much when it came to Patrick William’s weekly power rankings.

Thanks to second-year pro Connor Ingram in net, they have weathered the loss of Eddie Pasquale on recall to the Lightning. They have a three-game Canadian road trip this week. First up is a date with the Toronto Marlies on Wednesday before they bus to Laval to face the Rocket in back-to-back games on Friday night and Saturday afternoon. After that, the Crunch wrap up their five-game road trip with two more games away from Syracuse next week.

Okay, back to the good news - the kids are alright.

Kids? Did I say kids? Well, if you’re local to Syracuse and want to take the kids to see Disney On Ice while the Crunch are out of town, do I have a deal for you!

(Actually, I had nothing at all to do with it, but...you know. Flow.)

The Charlotte Checkers of the AHL are trying something new and different with their goal songs, and I love it.

The AHL’s weekly free game this week features the Toronto Marlies and the Manitoba Moose.

Want to laugh again? I was told this article on the 2018-19 Chicago Blackhawks from The Athletic is pretty funny.

And finally, the Boston Pride of the NWHL are lookin’ pretty darn good, something not many predicted this past summer.

The Pride have won three straight games to go into the holiday break with a 6-2-0 record. That record ties them in first with Minnesota. In order to be the best, you have to beat the best. And the Pride did just that when they crushed Minnesota with a +9 goal differential in their two-game series in the first weekend of December. Boston made a statement with that big road trip — they proved that they are the current team to beat.