Maybe if I repeat it enough, it will come true: Some day this rivalry is going to feature two good teams. For tonight, we'll have to settle for two flawed teams playing well as of late. With last night's snowed-in win the Islanders are on this 4-0-1 run, which is better even than that season-opening 4-1-2 stretch. The Rangers are 6-3-1 in their last 10, good enough for the East's
purgatory 7th seed.
Long Island Islandahs (9-18-6, 14th/E) @ Short Island Rangahs (20-14-2, 7th)
7 p.m. | MSG | MSG+, NHL audio - WRHU 88.7
Gawking at Gaborik's Groin: Blueshirt Banter | Scotty Hockey
This is meeting number four of six, and two of the first three were classic back-and-forth affairs. We'll try to forget the other one, a 2-0 (EN) affair that put everyone to sleep. With so much going on in hockey during the last week of the year -- and with these two combatants pretty familiar to all -- we'll share some links on lineups, the WJC and Rolie the Goalie after the jump.
Mats Zuccarello, the "pocket hobbit" among other diminutive monikers, is gets another look and will play in this one. So too will Marian Gaborik, barring another setback to his own DiPietro's Knee. (I figure "Achilles Heel" has run its course; time for a new phrase for this millennium.) Former Tavares junior teammate MIchael Del Zotto sits as a healthy scratch.
No lineup news for the Isles as of this posting. Presumably the 7 D routine continues, unless Jack Capuano fancies getting Trevor Gillies back in. But with Derek Boogaard on the shelf, that would seem completely unnecessary.
Capuano told reporters who made it through the snow that he wasn't opposed to starting Dwayne Roloson on back-to-backs tonight, for whatever that's worth. Roloson was named the NHL first star of the week, which seems like the kiss of "We deem your streak unsustainable."
The Race to 100
For those of you who missed it, JPinVA brought it up again in his +/- last night: There are no current Islanders who have accumulated 100 points with the big club. But we're getting really, really close to having several, which JP has been tracking and updating here. Kyle Okposo (96) should have been the first of the current crew, but the preseason injury scratched that. Now Blake Comeau, Frans Nielsen and ol ironside Radek Martinek are nipping at KO's heels.
So lots of stuff from the World Junior Championship as the real games have begun. Thanks so much to everyone who is posting updates and thoughts from the games they watched. If you have major analysis of the tournament, go ahead and make a FanPost. I apologize, with my Isles-centric focus I can forget to include WJC news even though some very important pieces to the Islanders future are in play. Among the news:
- A Sun column on Casey Cizikas' one-man PK show against Russia (h/t Anarcurt). In a blast from the past, they compare his role to that of Jim Sandlak from 25 years ago.
BC posted video of that PK -- and the Canadian fans' ovation.
- BC also put forth some thoughts on USA-Finland; he said Brock Nelson returned in OT after suffering an injury on a big hit, but other reports say Nelson never returned (and worse for USA, they may have lost Jeremy Morin). Let us know if you see an update.
Top New York Sports Stories of the Year
Vote here in SB Nation's poll.
And here is Part 1 of their year in review for NY sports. Although I confess, it's fun seeing all you Yankees/Mets and Giants/Jets fans commiserate here -- and I mean that sincerely. Having overlapping interests helps remind us that sports is just sports, and life is life.
You know what to do. If not, follow the others. There is total consciousness on your deathbed at stake here. And big cheers to people like ICanSeeforIslesAndIsles for compiling them all at the starts of games.