Well, I mean he's 38 and definitely a step slower than he once was, but Steve Staios is just one game away from 1,000 in his (regular season) NHL career. A scratch the previous game, the understanding is it was to preserve the specimen and make this otherwise meaningless game a special night for the veteran with one of the cooler career NHL milestones any player can reach.
Jets (37-34-9, 21st) @ Islanders (33-36-11, 27th)
7 p.m. EDT | MSG+2 (twice the plus!) | Audio: NHL - WRHU
WTH is MSG+2K? Channel guide here
Nassau [gloriously unsponsored] Veterans Mem. Coliseum
WHA-NHL-IHL-AHL-NHL: Arctic Ice Hockey
Entering the season, I'd have given Staios best 50/50 chance of him accumulating the 64 games necessary to reach this round number that humans ascribe significance thanks to our base-10 system. But here he is, and here we are.
The Islanders have bizarre chilled relations with former allies perceived to somehow cross the tribe, but they tend to make a proper deal of their 1000-gamers, including Doug Weight and Mike Sillinger [video] in recent years. Congratulations to Staios, who I'll always think of as Blues 2nd-rounder (27th overall, 1991).
In Staios' 999 previous games -- including a few at wing mid-career -- he has 56 goals, 164 assists and 1,320 PIM, with 1,235 shots on goal.
Given Staios' approaching milestone, expect at least one lineup change on the blueline. Presumably Matt Donovan sticks for another look, but we'll update here when all that's announced.
UPDATE from the Isles:
Montoya in goal. Eaton (upper body) and Reese out. Staios paired with Donovan in his 1000th game. Same forward lines. #isles
What's a Reese gotta do to get some respect around here?
Either way, enjoy this final home game of the season -- which is just the warmup for the epic Islanders vs. Blue Jackets titanic season finale Saturday.
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers clinched a playoff spot yesterday. Brent Thompson calls it Step 1. Also from Fornabaio: "Kevin Poulin’s 23rd win ties him with Mike Morrison (2007-08) for second all-time in a single season. Rick DiPietro won 30 in 2001-02 before winning 12 in the playoffs. Matt Donovan was among those named to the AHL’s All-Rookie team."
According to the IIHF, Michael Grabner will play for Austria at the Division 1 World Championship.
Justin Bourne weighs in on the Wang-LaFontaine freeze.
17. Upon seeing what happened to Rynnas, Glenn Healy told a hilarious story about Billy Smith. Smith's last season was David Volek's first and Volek, during one warmup, fired a bullet past Smith's ear into the top corner. While Volek skated away, proud of the shot, Smith charged and delivered a two-hander. Volek never shot high in warmup again.
Meanwhile, it took Mike Halmo exactly one pro shift to get into a fight:
The Jets spoiled Florida's home clinch party this week by reversing a 3-0 deficit and winning in OT.
Jets coach Claude Noel is always an entertaining interview. Story time with him is usually good for some tales of yore. Also this: "I'm not a big referee guy. There's a simple reason for that. You don't get a lot when you disrespect the referees. I learned that in Columbus in my second or third game. The referees are together and when you argue with one you are dealing with all 40 or 50. It takes a long way to get their respect back."
Here is something you don't see every day: Jets Should Follow Florida Model ... "Jets brass have mentioned Nashville as being an organization to fashion themselves after. You know what that sounds like? It sounds like you’ll have a decade to save up before you have to spend any money on Jets playoff tickets." Um, yeah guy.
After the yearlong feel-good story about how happy Jets fans are to have NHL hockey, now comes the previously ignored story line that they're still one year removed from being the Atlanta Thrashers, which is to say they have a ways to go.
Speaking of Jets (sort of), the Phoenix mess is, well, getting messy (again), and the mayor apparently misunderstood what the point of an escrow is.
- On the CBA, and the challenge posed by the rising cap floor.
- On the effects of the CBA on parity, or the cost of an average team.
- Chalk talk: Defensive Zone Coverage Part 1 - Zone Defence - The Copper & Blue
- Impossible: Penguins can't dive. Kristopher Letang dives to draw a penalty. April 3rd 2012 - YouTube
- By finance, of course: The Season's Most Disappointing NHL Teams - Forbes
With two games left, the title is still very much up in the air, though skeeterman could clinch if things broke right. (Plus, some of you are playing out the string for contract-bonus milestones.) Leave your First Islanders Goal picks for tonight in this thread. And choose carefully.