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Best of the Web: Week of May 25-June 1

by Peter Pupello / Tampa Bay Lightning

Jockeying For Jack…

Wednesday of this past week marked five months ago to the day that Minnesota sophomore high school hockey player Jack Jablonski suffered an unfortunate accident in a December hockey game, in which he was checked from behind that left him paralyzed from the neck down.

Doctors gave the 16-year-old from St. Louis Park, a suburb of Minneapolis, little chance to ever walk again, much less lace up the skates. Following the injury, several NHL players including Ryan Clowe, Dany Heatley and the Bolts’ very own Nate Thompson showed their support for the young man either in person or via their Twitter accounts.

The support seemed to help, as an article in St. Paul, Minnesota’s Pioneer Press reported Wednesday that Jablonski showed the first positive signs of a potential recovery, lifting his finger and moving his leg during a rehabilitation assessment. He even made a surprise visit to his school to thank classmates in person for their support.

It’s an incredible story of how people connected not only through hockey, but just through kindness alone can make a difference in another’s life. Check it out for yourself here.

The Most Interesting Man On The Ice…

He doesn’t quite have the same charisma or even the same knack for growing a thick gray beard, but Admirals’ wing Alexandre Picard does have an affinity for scoring goals in the clutch when his team needs them the most.

Picard, who leads Norfolk into Game 1 of the AHL’s Calder Cup Finals against the Toronto Marlies tonight, currently ranks tied for second among all AHL postseason skaters with two game-winning goals. He notched his first winner of the postseason in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinal versus the Connecticut Whale, while his second came in Game 2 if an eventual four-game sweep over St. John’s in the Conference Final.

Only Marlies forward Matt Frattin (out for the series due to injury) has more game-winners with three throughout the playoffs, but let’s face it, does he have one of these?

Swede Sendoff…

There aren’t many, if any, players more respected around the NHL than Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom.

So when the veteran of 20 NHL seasons announced his official retirement from hockey on Thursday, members of the NHL fraternity immediately began flooding the Twitterverse with their personal tributes to a player who is hanging the skates up less than a year after winning his seventh Norris Trophy as the league's best defenseman, second all-time behind only Bobby Orr, who won eight.

Unfortunately, Lidstrom’s retirement also means, that if I’m not mistaken, Jaromir Jagr and Teemu Selanne are the only guys still around from EA Sports’ NHL ’94. That’s neither here nor there, but still…

Bolts forward Teddy Purcell, who tweets from the handle @teddypurcell16, didn’t make the list of the most worthy homages as deemed by’s standards, but nevertheless paid tribute to the Wings legend. Here are a few of his mentions:

From New York Islanders forward Matt Moulson (@MMoulson): “Still remember my first game against #RedWings ... @teddypurcell16 and I stared at Lidstrom all warm up..great career and a class act.”

From Purcell himself (@teddypurcell16): “Missed my turn in warmups twice cause of #5”

No doubt Purcell falls in with the other NHL forwards who dreaded going up against Lidstrom, but it does appear as if Purcell would rather face a four-time Stanley Cup champion and future Hall-Of-Famer instead of this guy.

Yup, that’s Lightning defenseman Mike Commodore, who was responsible for housesitting Purcell’s condo while he was away in Europe competing in the World Championships.

Like a good neighbor, State Farm Commie is there?

Just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Until Next Time…

Kind of a slow week this time around, but continue to keep up on all your Bolts offseason happenings and send us a Tweet at @TBLightning with anything Lightning related that is interesting, humorous, earth-shattering or all of the above.

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