The NHL is kicking into preseason media blitz mode, and for the Islanders that included yesterday's announcement of events to celebrate their 40th anniversary, including specific "Decades" nights to celebrate each decade and honor representatives Ed Westfall, Ken Morrow, Patrick Flatley and Kenny Jonsson -- finally giving Bob Bourne company in the Islanders Hall of Fame.
We'll have some 40-themed stuff this year at Lighthouse Hockey as well. If you have any requests, just shout. (That doesn't mean use a bunch of exclamation points.)
A whole lot of updates from the NHL media blitz yesterday, including at this link: Michael Grabner busting John Tavares' salesman chops; Grabner on enjoying Long Island; and Tavares on the possibility of one day being captain. Discussion of the latter topic in this fanshot.
Frozen in Time: The Islanders are also doing a cool feature on their website by posting a different historical photo and detail each day. Remember Paul Boutilier? Me neither.
- After last season's awkward turtle, Evgeni Nabokov is saying all the right things about being on the Island now. Why, he's even got himself a purty new mask. In that first link from Newsday, he says he hasn't talked to Garth Snow or Jack Capuano yet about his role, but he expects competition on any team in this league.
- Count Eric Hornick as relieved that #18 finally gets his day.
- SNY-PB with some bits on yesterday's various Isles news, as well as another video preview, this one with Craig Button, who doesn't categorically rule out Ryan Strome sticking with the team.
- Via Puck Daddy with a loose Islanders tie-in: Video of one of the few games where Harold Ballard's Leafs wore "ghost" nameplates to protest the league mandate that players be identified.
- Justin Bourne on "unofficial" NCAA captain's practices.
- Kyle Wellwood has a way of finding a job each year. Atlantapeg now.
- How important to a winning team is offense from the blueline?
- This film looks interesting: "Last Gladiators," on NHL enforcers and Chris Nilan specifically.
Well it's not as if I expected the numbness to go away after two days, but every time I see video of the Lokomotiv players I get a chill all over again. Something about seeing the distinctive numbers 38 and 63 in particular (Pavol Demitra and Josef Vasicek) in action jars me back to the reality that these young men are gone. I know this is part of the process -- but then I think about how I am just a fan, with distant knowledge. For their families, this process will go on for a lifetime. Ah, life.
In any case, if you can handle it, the on-ice memorial service in Minsk was impressive, breath-taking. Puck Daddy has an excerpt and the full video, with the Dynamo Minsk team taking part on ice in uniform. Seeing the placards with the players' and staff headshots though ... well you can pick out Vasicek's smile and Demitra's bald dome even from a wide shot. It brings it home. It hurts.
- Details on how the KHL plans to keep Lokomotiv running -- immediately.
- And immediate details on delaying their season.
- Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky on Alexander Karpovtsev.
The NHL is in drum-up-the-buzz mode now. That's a good thing. That means we're almost there. The veterans are skating, and the rookies are ready to go.