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Best of the Web: Week of May 11-18

by Peter Pupello / Tampa Bay Lightning

We’ll recap this week starting with an incredible story from former Lightning forward Shawn Burr, who for years fought hard on the ice, but now is fighting even harder for his life.

Burr is currently battling a specific type of cancer called acute myelogenous leukemia, in which white blood cells typically used to fight off infection actually become cancerous and begin to multiply out of control. It’s a battle Burr has been contesting since February 2010, and even though the illness did go into remission for about seven or eight months, it struck again.

Rather than allowing negative thoughts consume every aspect of his daily life, Burr took a more proactive approach.

Even though he himself is set to receive treatment in the form of a bone marrow transplant, he isn’t stopping there. He is also spearheading an effort to increase awareness about the disease and encourage individuals to become potential donors for similar bone marrow transplant procedures such as his.

It’s an amazing story and one that you yourself can enjoy in its entirety by clicking here.

@Commie22 offers #GypsyBarter on Twitter...

Come to think of it, it seems the hiring of Steve Yzerman as general manager two years ago sparked a recurring trend that at least recently has linked the Red Wings and Lightning organizations together on more than one occasion, the above example notwithstanding.

Much like Burr, former Red Wing and current Lightning defenseman Mike Commodore is also extremely fond of charity. So much so, in fact, that he gave away his 42-inch television to a corresponding fan on Twitter in exchange for the said fan’s verbal commitment to donate 30 hours of volunteer time and service to his local community.

The transaction wasn’t made whimsically without good reason, but was actually part of a larger purpose that seemed to benefit Commodore, the fans, and as it turned out, the community in equal parts.

It all started when Commodore returned to Detroit at the start of the offseason to pack his belongings, as he didn’t plan on spending the entire summer in the Michigan. (Last we heard, he was housesitting at Teddy Purcell’s place while Purcell is over in Europe playing at the World Championships, but according to a few of his most recent Tweets, he’s now venturing from Phoenix to Kelowna…...on horseback.)

Anyway, Commodore self-declaratively prefers to travel light, so naturally, the large TV didn’t make the cut. So, in the weeks leading up to the trip, Commodore hosted a 48-hour contest through his official Twitter account at @commie22, in which he summoned fans to offer something in return for the TV using the hashtag #GypsyBarter.

Fans submitted all sorts of crazy stuff including a Cecil Fielder autographed baseball bat, a six pack of beer, a box of steaks and even their own pets! There was even an offer from one fan with the Twitter handle @1969Dinger, but anonymous sources here at Thunder Island have confirmed it is not indeed Chris Dingman.

From what I can tell, Commodore actually did a good job responding to each of the fans and maintaining consistent conversations with them. He even laid out a few ground rules for the contest, in which he would not accept money, fans had to include a description or photo of the item they were willing to trade, and the winner had to be willing to go retrieve the TV at Commodore’s residence in downtown Detroit.

That lucky winner turned out to be a young man named Chris, who happily received the TV with a big smile (Commodore tweeted the proof).

And in case you were wondering, has confirmed the TV is not the subject of some prank involving Purcell or any of his personal belongings.

Battle of the Beards...

As it turns out, Commodore is no stranger to fun fan contests, as he also finds himself currently battling Lanny McDonald in the Toronto Globe And Mail’s “Battle Of The Beards.”

Fans can win...

Speaking of contests, the NHLPA is opening up the voting to get fans’ take on who is deserving of this year’s Ted Lindsay Award, annually given to the NHL player deemed to be most outstanding as determined by the NHLPA.

Of course, our very own Steven Stamkos is up for the award against Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin and Rangers net minder Henrik Lundqvist, so cast your vote here to score the league’s leading goal scorer another piece of hardware. There are even some great prizes offered, providing more incentive to drop the hammer for Stammer!

Purcell Lands on Magazine Cover...

With the Lightning players’ World Championships experience coming to an end on Thursday, Teddy Purcell won’t be returning home to North America with a medal, but instead with a new-found sense of fame, and perhaps the prospect of a future modeling career, as he landed on the cover of this Finnish magazine.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, even those in Finland have soft spots for North American male 20-somethings who are really, really ridiculously good looking.

We won’t tell Teddy (let’s let him ride this one out for a while), but he wasn’t the only hockey player in Finland catching looks this past week.

Brunner's Got Skills....

As Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times reported earlier this week, Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman has expressed interest, as have numerous other NHL clubs, in Swiss forward Damien Brunner who had been competing in the World Championships tournament.

Brunner, 26, had three goals, seven points and was a plus-2 in seven games at the tournament. He also had 24 goals, 60 points and earned a plus-17 rating in 45 games this past season for EV Zug of Switzerland’s National League A.

I don’t know about you, but if I saw a guy deke like this, I’d be interested in him too, seeing that he’s got more tricks than Houdini.

Mets Player Sports Bolts Sweater...

For those of you who have had the opportunity to attend a Lightning game over the past two seasons, and you have, you perhaps noticed New York Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes in the building.

Hughes is a huge Bolts supporter, but as we discovered this past week, he apparently has a fellow Lightning fan just across The Whitestone Bridge in New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy.

As the Mets kick off interleague play, the team has decided to take an appropriate hockey-themed road trip to its first stop in Toronto where they will face the Blue Jays. Murphy’s outfit of choice? None other than the Bolts’ home blue sweater, which he displayed proudly here.

There is no official word yet of whether the jersey was of the micro-chipped Season Ticket Member variety, but Daniel, if you’re reading this and want to score some sweet discounts that will help build up your Lightning wardrobe, the Bolts’ ticket sales staff says call us, maybe?

Another Week in the Books...

That seems to be the latest and greatest from Al Gore’s invention you and I know as the Internet for the week of May 11-18, so please check back next week when we unveil our most recent findings. As always, if you spot any Tampa Bay Lightning coverage throughout the week, feel free to Tweet a link over to @TBLightning!

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