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This weekend every league reminds us there is hockey beyond the NHL, including Anders Lee's Notre Dame on NBC Sports Friday night.
Angered by the NHL's stasis, and completely frustrated without getting your hockey fix? There there, you have options.
European pro leagues and Canadian junior leagues are already in stride with their seasons, and this weekend the AHL and NCAA join them.
We've talked about the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (who open against the Whale Friday) plenty, but among the other highlights for New York Islanders fans: Anders Lee and Robbie Russo are in action on NBC Sports Network as Lee captains Notre Dame against Maine (Garth Snow shout-out) Friday night at 7 p.m. Eastern.
Notre Dame vs. Maine is the premier nationally available game, but there are plenty more NCAA games on regional broadcasts that might be available on your TV package. On NBCSN, Army vs. Nebraska-Omaha follows in their opening night double-header.
Out West, Griffin Reinhart's Edmonton Oil Kings host Calgary, while Brenden Kichton's Spokane visits Kamploops before hosting Vancouver on Saturday night. (Note that the three featured prospects we've mentioned so far are captains of their team. Cool.)
The OHL features several Islanders prospects, led naturally by Ryan Strome. He, Mitchell Theoret and Jesse Graham all play for Niagara, Adrey Pedan is still collecting penalties for Guelph, Adam Pelech has six assists in eight games for Erie. (Some interesting thoughts on all of their starts in this comment from yesterday's threads.)
In the Q, Loic Leduc and Cape Breton (13th place) are host to Acadie-Bathurst Sunday.
Oh, what, those are all just prospects? More established Islanders (and RFA Islanders) are in Europe than we can count on one hand. If it feels like half the roster is in the Old World, that's because it is. (But don't forget, 2012 draft pick and prospect Ville Pokka is in Finland with Kärpät.
Suffice to say, current locked-out Islanders are represented in Slovakia, Finland (twice), Switzerland, Austria, the Czech Republic ... and of course now Germany. Not to mention Kirill Petrov in Russia's KHL.
We'll keep scouring for highlights and news, and you keep alerting us in comments to the same. Just because the NHL can't put on a regular season with any predictable regularity, doesn't mean hockey isn't playing on.