Lightning Links: Johnson added to USA Hockey roster; Bishop gets Vezina nod

Thankfully the NHL Awards season will help Lightning fans make it to June for the anticipation factor.

OK, that’s a stretch.

Really, as hockey fans, you ought to be watching the rest of the playoffs because the games are the wildest and dirtiest I’ve seen in years. Despite the officiating controversy, the Lightning series is being considered the most pedestrian of the playoffs compared to the other nutty series. Get your fix now because you’re really going to be feeling it after the first day of free agency.

So far, Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson are in the running for top rookie for the Calder Trophy, Ben Bishop is vying for the Vezina for top goalie and former Bolt Martin St. Louis is somehow being considered for the Lady Byng for being a gentleman while whining his way out of Tampa.

Of course, this summer is an excellent time for you to take up the game or have your kids start playing. I apologize for your checkbook later, but there are plenty of beginner programs that allow kids to borrow equipment and use rental skates for their first few times out there. More on those in a post later this summer.

In the meantime for players with some experience, the Lightning will host three Lightning Made Summer Camps for youth players in Brandon, Ellenton and Daytona. Cost ranges from $427 to $500, depending on the age bracket and if your kid is a goalie or a skater. (Goalies are getting $50 discounts). Fortunately for the kids in Daytona, they have the more affordable prices ranging from $408 to $480. For more information, visit the Lightning Community Hockey webpage or click on the links above for tickets to your city.

And the rest of Lightning Links:

“A dimly lit arena served as a somber reminder of what was missing at the Forum on Thursday.” Erik Erlendsson | Tampa Tribune

“We can’t be a one-hit wonder,” Jon Cooper said. Damian Cristodero | Tampa Bay Times

Erlendsson again, with 5 things to watch in the offseason. Defensive upgrades is one. Erik Erlendsson | Tampa Tribune

Does it make sense for the Lightning to resign Ryan Callahan? Patrick Helper | Too Many Men On The Site

Spokane, Wash., citizen Tyler Johnson is named to the USA Hockey roster for the World Championships. JuniorHockey.com

The Lightning have 15 RFAs and and 8 UFAs to deal with in the offseason. Tampa Tribune

You know it’s not good when half of your offseason calendar is a list of arbitration hearing dates Tampa Tribune

In Florida hockey news, ECHL Orlando Solar Bears play Game 5 in Cincinnati tonight. Have to win to play in Orlando on the 29th. OrlandSolarBears.com

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