Last time the Islanders visited a Cup finalist suffering from the real or imaginatively narrated "Cup hangover," the Boston Bruins laid a whooping on them something fierce. The Bruins didn't even need a vicious check by mean Frans Nielsen on poor vulnerable Zdeno Chara to get going.
Six days later, the Isles face the other 2011 finalist, one still wallowing in NHL quasi-.500 and trying to kickstart the ol' heart of a should-be dominant team. Oh, to have such problems.
Usually visits to Vancouver include some mix of: 1) Disparaging dismissal of the visitors, marked by a "Matt Coulston" misspelling or two; 2) Raving about the home team while also scapegoating some 'Nuck in particular. I won't be looking for those, but by all means share them in comments.
Fortunately our network brethren over at Nucks Misconduct assess the game in a sober (yet still witty way). So don't confuse the trolling columnist with the sincere fan.
In Nucks land, GM Pat Gillis made the kind of early-season trade Islanders fans clamor to see Garth Snow make morning, noon and night. David Booth was a big contract to take off Dale Tallon's "it ain't about the money" salary dumping hands, so there was risk to come with that potential reward. Booth has been lining up with Ryan Kesler and naturally people turn to that "Hey, they played with each other as kids, so...CHEMISTRY" meme.
Booth has just one goal in the nine games since the trade, which evokes a certain sense of Comeau-tion, and is minus-7 in those nine games. The lingering question about the Booth acquisition is if he is -- and if not, if he ever will be -- the same after recovering from that Mike Richards hit. If you know me, you know I don't think nine games is enough to tell you much on that front. But it bears watching.
While we're linking Vancouver media, here's a blog post about Michael Grabner, with Matt Moulson and Jack Capuano talking about all those breakaway chances, and how they're not so easy to convert when traveling at light speed.
Should the Islanders really be starting Evgeni Nabokov against Vancouver, a team that knows him well from his days chasing glory in the Pacific? Well, who knows. Two seasons ago he was 3-1 vs. the Canucks with a .926 save % on 122 shots. The year before he had a shutout and a one-GA performance in two starts against them. Small samples, but at least there's no saying the Canucks have his number.
Make or Break Lineup Day? Nino Niederreiter is most likely available in the next game, at home to the Rangers. They don't have to put him in the lineup right away, but if they want to, who sits? I would expect a big effort from Blake Comeau, with people connecting the dots on him.
Sound Tigers: Calvin De Haan took what might be a head injury in last night's game in Bridgeport. Yes, Micheal Haley went after the culprit. [Here's a different Haley fight, from Friday night.] Also: Bridgeport Sound Tigers TV: Movember Commercial
Off Day Fun: The boys rocking staches and NHL 13.
- Bottoms Up: Basement dwellers can be All-Stars too | Backhand Shelf | Blogs | theScore.com
- Backstrom back at point-producing best for Caps - NHL.com - In The Spotlight
- Blue Jackets problems: Howson Faces The Fans, Gives Candid Answers - The Cannon
- Great news, this: How Ross Greenburg plans to revolutionize NHL on TV - Puck Daddy - NHL Blog - Yahoo! Sports
- Spotlight: Backstrom back at point-producing best for Caps - NHL.com - In The Spotlight
- Miller-Lucic Drama: Comments | Concussion? | Cup of Chowder take | Video
- Via Fornabaio, a great piece on Mark Howe.
Herein lie thy FIG picks, and lie shall thy FIG picks here be.