The couch is long gone, but I can still smell it.
Mention "Dave Volek" to me, or show me images of Pierre Turgeon or Glenn Healy in those 80-90s Islanders threads with their distinct foot serif numbers, and I immediately remember that playoff run but also the smell of the tan leather couch from which I jumped, collapsed, somersaulted and watched that crazy Game 7 where Ray Ferraro passed to Dave Volek and made sure the 1980-83 New York Islanders were the last true dynasty the NHL has seen.
Tonight as part of season-long 40th anniversary festivities, the Islanders honor that team. For all we've been through since the last playoff success, it is altogether fitting and proper that we do this. Lots of 1993 highlights at the end of this post.
That said, there is a game for the present: Jack Capuano believes Rick DiPietro is ready to go and he doesn't expect the hindered-pushoff Evgeni Nabokov to skate for a day or two, so there is our guiding narrative on this, the night when the 1993 team is honored with its Benoits and Kasparaitises.
Several teams have struggled with offense in the early going. In response John Tortorella, a chronic line tinkerer, has messed with his lines. The Bruins, caught in an historic early post-Cup malaise, are tweaking theirs. And the Habs have been in a steady blender only Jacques Martin can explain.
Outside of your occasional Trevor Gilles appearance, Capuano has stayed mostly consistent with his. Should he mix it up, just eight games in?
I'm not going to pretend to know the answer, nor will I buy that anyone does for certain. After eight games even the enigmatic third line had an improved performance in Game 8. Line juggling is a tactic as old as bag skates. But with a stabilized defense (hello, Jurcina Anomaly), steady knock-on-wood goaltending, an improved fourth line over last year, and two scoring lines that should resume some semblance of last year's success, I'm willing to ride this offensive slump out. Tonight a four-game winless streak needs ending with careful attention to detail
The Sharks despite a non-dominant record are putting up a very dominant 37 shots per game on their way to winning four games in a row. This team is lethal in many ways. The Islanders have their work cut out for them. Bring out Kaspar.
One hope, perhaps, is that they walk in with the hangover of beating their top conference rivals in Detroit last night. But that dividend, if it exists, will only go so far. Capuano again has Gillies as the scratch, so in theory he can roll four lines without a Gillies workaround to try to take advantage of the Sharks on the second night of a back-to-back.
Although we only see them once a year, I trust you know the Sharks' many threats, from the Joes, to Logan Couture (off to a "slow" start for fantasy owners) to now Brent Burns on defense. The threat to maim comes from hard hitter Douglas Murray. Most refreshing of all though: The Sharks Faustian experiment with Dan(n)y Heatley is now over. Having cast that deal with the devil away this summer, I can again enjoy the many strengths of that team.
Just not tonight.
- Good Q&A with Ryan Strome from Rob McGowan.
- The fourth line discusses their role and chemistry.
- Damien Cox, frequent JT-to-Toronto troll, catches up with John Tavares.
- Some prospect updates, including the clip of that Ryan Strome goal.
- Darius Kasparaitis on 1993.
- 1993 Pre-Game Autograph Session: For season ticket holders and, you know, friends of STH.
- Funny first comment in this one: NHL blueliners battle sophomore slump blues - The Globe and Mail
- Throwback Time: 40 Years Ago: Rangers And Maple Leafs In Old-Time Hockey Brawl - SB Nation New York
- So's you know: Illustrated guide to Brendan Shanahan’s NHL suspensions (so far) - Puck Daddy
- Speaking of possible suspensions: Andy Sutton had a hit to Landeskog's head; Filatov took an ugly one in the AHL.
- I mentioned the Bruins' line tinkering before, and Tyler Seguin's been great. So perfect time for "sources say"-style long-term scuttlebutt about a congenital hip condition.
Leave your picks for the First Islanders Goal (and assists, and time) in this thread only.
1993 Video Fun
Season review (Messier was such a
dirty tool I mean great leader):
You can watch most of that Game 7 here, but there are tons of related links from the other games that year around this video. My favorite part remains the contrast between Al Arbour, the warm and fatherly student, and Scotty Bowman, the distant teacher.
Pierre Turgeon Scores His 50th in Style
OT vs. the Rangers. I love all the rampant hooking going on in mid-90s NHL OT:
1993 Isles-Smurfs Highlights
The current Islanders recently pushed a locker room art refresh with more of a focus on the present/future than some of the classic moments of the past. That's great. Time to make some more memories.