Ottawa Senators (6-8-2) at New York Islanders (5-9-2)
7:00 p.m. EST | Nassau Coliseum | MSG+2 (!)
The Senators announcers were talking a big game before the first of this home-and-home Thursday night. Chirping that the "30th-place Islanders" were just what the Senators needed. That was just one sign that they'd skimped on their homework.
The in-studio host, who has one of those cheesedog Troy McClure anchor voices, made enough factual errors that -- had it come from an American announcer -- would have sent some Canadian fans into full-on Hockey Jingoism Mode. Really, sir, Kyle Okposo is picking up that puck because it's Josh Bailey's first NHL point -- not Okposo's. Okposo -- I know he's new -- is working on NHL point #11.
Meanwhile, the play-by-play gang, including Shawn Van Allen, informed us that "injuries have forced Mark Streit to play many more minutes than expected, as he was mostly a powerplay guy with Montreal." No, sir, the Islanders signed Streit -- and Streit came to Long Island -- precisely to play those minutes. Even the "sad-sack" Islanders would not shell out $20.5M, five years for a Marc-Andre Bergeron.
But that's neither here nor there. It just always strikes me when I get a Canadian broadcasting feed -- where we're told to expect God's Gift to Announcing -- and instead get someone else's gift entirely.
The Islanders have a chance to even their record with the Senators -- which means decidedly different things to each club. The Islanders are in up-front rebuilding mode; the Senators are wondering whether their window has prematurely closed.
On a Saturday night at home, after handily outplaying Ottawa Thursday, this should make for an entertaining rematch.
Sadly, Ryan Shannon is out after receiving the foolish elbow to the head by Thomas Pock. But Pock did Isles fans (and coach Scott Gordon) a favor by taking himself out of the lineup through disciplinary action. We were ready for him to sit, anyway, and Radek Martinek is ready to step in. The Senators have recalled a talent named Ilya Zubov to take the place of Shannon -- who himself was filling in for the also-suuspenndded (oh, for shame) Jaarkkoo Ruuttuu. Sorry to miss ya'. Maybe next time, Jarkko.