I know it’s not fair for the best team in the league to get John Tavares but…

The Bolts

Tampa Bay Lightning superstar Nikita Kucherov spoke with Russian outlet Sovsport.ru back at the beginning of the season. Here’s what he talked about. [Raw Charge]

“I really enjoyed watching Chicago when Artemi Panarin, Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov were playing together. I liked their games. There was a good chemistry between them. And [Detroit’s] Russian five was a great line. I tried to copy them when I was a child.” – Kucherov

One week into the voting for the NHL ALL-Star game division captains and Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov are already leading the pack for the Atlantic. Auston Matthews is third, but it’s about time for him to be “the other guy” on a line for once. [NHL dot com]

Atlantic Division

1. Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning

2. Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning

3. Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs

4. Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators

5. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens

If John Tavares doesn’t stay in Brooklyn (formerly the Island), Greg Wyshynski believes that he will come to the Bay. [ESPN]

“Lightning star Steven Stamkos is a close friend of Tavares’, and there was talk in 2016 that they might team up with the Islanders … Lightning star Steven Stamkos is a close friend of Tavares’, and there was talk in 2016 that they might team up with the Islanders.”

I’m not shocked. Are you? No? Damn right.

Remember a few weeks ago when the Bolts apparently needed to trade for offensive depth? [Tampa Bay Times]

“One of the most striking aspects of the Lightning’s 19-6-2 start has been its offensive depth. Sure, Kucherov has 19 goals and Stamkos 11. But Vladislav Namestnikov (11) and Brayden Point (10) are in double digits, and [rookie] Gourde (eight) is right behind them. Tyler Johnson snapped his career-long 15 game goal drought with two Saturday against the Sharks.”

Happy Birthday us!

Our friendly neighbourhood Matt Esteves walked into enemy territory (for today only) and answered some questions regarding the Tampa Bay Lightning for the good readers at Mile High Hockey, our SBN sister site that covers the Colorado Avalanche, ahead of our game against them. [Mile High Hockey]

“Point’s emergence as a bona fide #2 center has been an undersold story for Tampa Bay. Prior to Point joining the Lightning the top 2 centers Tampa had were Steven Stamkos and Tyler Johnson. Point’s play last season had many of us optimistic about what he could become and so far he has been lights out for the Lightning.”

The Prospects

With four Tampa Bay Lightning prospects well on their way to making Team Canada’s World Junior roster, there’s a very high chance that you won’t know who to cheer for when Canada plays the United States OUTDOORS (!) on December 29th.

Brett Howden took the disappointment of not being named to last years’ World Junior team and used it as motivation to “prove he was worthy of donning the Maple Leaf.” (Now, before Maple Leafs fans get carried away, he’s talk about the Red Maple Leaf, not the blue one). This in-depth look at Howden is really interesting and definitely worth a look. [Winnipeg free Press]

The Lightning have had a pipeline of talent pouring into the NHL for years and it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down all that much, even as the Lightning contend for a Stanley Cup. [NHL dot com]

“Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy along with forwards Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov, Ondrej Palat, J.T. Brown, Alex Killorn, and Cedric Paquette all honed their trade with Syracuse. Each is a part of one of the most productive AHL pipelines this decade.”

Adam Erne’s hat-trick leads the Syracuse Crunch in the 6-1 destruction of their New York state rival, the Utica Comets on Wednesday.

Erne scored a hat-trick (and an assist), Carter Verhaeghe netted two, and Matthew Spencer got his first pro goal in the win. [Syracuse]

“After giving up the first goal of the game, Syracuse scored six straight to advance to 11-9-1-2 on the season. Louis Domingue made 24 saves in his fifth consecutive win between the pipes for the Crunch.”

Here’s to many more goals for Matthew Spencer! Listen, I know it’s still the morning, but *hic* are you going to celebrate Spencer’s first *hic* goal or not. [Peterborough Examiner]

After a slow start, Adam sure is Ern-ing some points with Lightning brass.

The Game

With this QS already looking way too long, we shall begin and end this section with the San Jose Sharks, who are living in 2067 while the rest of us are merely in 2017.

LIKE, COME ON. IT’S A SHIRTLESS JOE THORNTON BOBBLEHEAD! HOW BRILLIANT IS THAT!

HE’S A FUTURE HALL OF FAMER FOR CHRISTSSAKE!

Okay, I know I said I was done after Joe, but that was before William Nylander made Mike Smith bite so hard he actually might have made a dent in those really hard rock candies we all sometimes get for Halloween…

Highlight of the Night: Dat timing doe.


Article first appeared on www.draysbay.com