Summer hockey fights; ECHL affiliation; and cancer is terrible.

The Bolts

Part 2 of our best-of’s is available for your reading pleasure. “We knew that our honesty and heartfelt reactions to events surrounding the team were what made our particular podcast special. Honestly, our immediate reactions as we both struggled to come to terms with everything really made that episode, and in the end I was glad he offered to record that day.” [Raw Charge]

NBC Sports profiled the Tampa Bay Lightning yesterday, talking about the young players, the Captain, and the offseason. “The Bolts finished one point out of the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. It was a disappointing end to a season of high expectations, after Tampa Bay made it to the Stanley Cup Final in 2015 and the Eastern Conference Final the following year.” [NBC Sports]

Having a healthy Steven Stamkos is great! But it would be wise to pump the brakes so that the Captain can ease back into the game. “‘I’d say it took probably a year and a half to get back to feeling back to normal,’ Parise said. ‘That’s what my therapist said, six months to heal, a year [to] feel better.’” [NBC Sports] You can also go read Joe Smith’s words on the topic. [Tampa Bay Times]

All the signs point to Andrei Vasilevskiy being the brick wall the Bolts need for a deep playoff run. “It’s hard to ignore the uptick in Vasilevsky’s numbers after Bishop landed in L.A. The 23-year-old went 12-4-2 with a 2.27 GAA and .929 save percentage in 18 starts following the trade, playing a huge role in Tampa’s late-season playoff surge.” [NBC Sports]

Mikhail Sergachev looks ready for the NHL, but roster spots, and trade conditions might keep him back. “The allure of getting Sergachev into the lineup is high. His puck moving skills and creativity would be a boon for the power play, especially on a back end that’s essentially carried by Hedman.” [NBC Sports]

The emergence of Brayden Point gives Lightning fans and management something to be excited for. “Cooper was so impressed with Point, that he brought him to the World Hockey Championship last spring (Cooper was Team Canada’s head coach). During Canada’s silver-medal run, the young Tampa forward registered four goals and one assist in 10 games.

“Now that he has another major international tournament (he wore the “C” for Canada at the World Juniors in 2015-16) and a full NHL season under his belt, Point should be able to take a step forward in 2017-18.” [NBC Sports]

The Prospects

@IcePuddle of Thoughts Inside the Box gives a great explanation of the agreement the Tampa Bay Lightning/Syracuse Crunch and the New Jersey Devils have with the Adirondack Thunder of the ECHL. “Tampa Bay/Syracuse will take over New Jersey’s unofficial partnership/handshake role. The Lightning/Crunch were in search of a new team after last year’s ECHL affiliate, Kalamazoo, signed an agreement with Vancouver/Utica in July.” [Thoughts Inside the Box]

Bolts prospect Adam Erne was in Northford, CT to shake hands, sign hats, and kiss babies (okay, maybe not the last one) at the Grand Opening of a local sporting goods store!

The Game

Former NHLer and Chicago Blackhawks broadcaster Eddie Olczyk has been diagnosed with colon cancer. The good wishes of all the staff at Raw Charge are with Eddie and his family. “Having the support and encouragement from my family, the Chicago Blackhawks organization, NBC Sports and all my friends and fans means the world to me and will give me continued strength to beat this.” [Second City Hockey]

The Olympics should be fun, eh? Canada and Russia get into line brawl at Sochi Hockey Open. “Winnipeg Jets forward Eric O’Dell started the brawl as he ran into a Russian player along the benches at the end of his shift. From there, a few Russian players congregated in front of the Canadian bench and the fight broke out after the other players on the ice realized what was happening.” [SB Nation]

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Longtime New Jersey Devils forward Stephen Gionta has re-signed with the New York Islanders for one year at $650,000. “This is neither riveting nor cause for great alarm. The 33-year-old was injured during training camp but signed after a PTO last season, returned to health to play seven games with their AHL affiliate Bridgeport Sound Tigers, then appeared in 26 games with the Isles during the second half.” [Lighthouse Hockey]


Article first appeared on www.draysbay.com