Their guests are in an ornery mood.
The Columbus Blue Jackets home opener was last night, a disappointing loss to the Calgary Flames. The Blue Jackets were still chafing from their mistakes at today's morning skate, while also anticipating tonigth's follow-up with the speedy Isles: "The Blue Jackets are not built to win track meets. They're built to win rugby matches."
You'll recall that Columbus, one of the new entrants to the reconstituted Patrick Division (now with 33% more Metropolitan!), has former Islanders Blake Comeau and James Wisniewski, as well as Rangers outcast Marian Gaborik. They also added Nathan Horton over the summer, though at this point and until mid-season his Columbus career is limited to a medical chart.
They also feature Sergei Bobrovsky, a good goalie and reigning Vezina Trophy winner who is all but certain, by virtue of how these things go, to not have as outstanding of a season as he had last year.
Based on the optional morning skate (Kevin Poulin taking shots from the scratches), it looks like Evgeni Nabokov will start on back-to-back nights. (That link has been updated, with Jack Capuano confirming that he's using the same lineup as last night.)
That means another look like this:
Moulson - Tavares - Okposo
Grabner - Nielsen - Bailey
Nelson - Regin - Bouchard
Martin - Cizikas - McDonald
MacDonald - Hamonic
Visnovsky - Hickey
Strait - Donovan
The theme from the Isles last night was: Glad but fortunate to have the win in a game where the top line and the overall defensive coverage was lacking. In Newsday, quotes on that from Tavares and Travis Hamonic:
"We weren't very good," Tavares said of his line, which included Moulson and Kyle Okposo. "We had some good shifts early but we couldn't get much going. We tried to be too cute at times."
- Newsday with a look back at the great Al Arbour, on the 40th(!) anniversary of his first season coaching the Islanders. (Aside: Scotty Bowman told Arbour if he took the job he'd be losing for 10 years. Scotty was mistaken -- and looking for a new job when Arbour won the Islanders' fourth Cup 11 years later.)
- Cal Clutterbuck is closer to returning than expected.
- The Skinny numbers from last night.
- Chris Bruton is the new captain for the Isles' AHL affiliate Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
- Bridgeport opens its season for the first time without any AHL "veterans" on the roster.
Security reminders if you're heading to the game tonight and planning on smuggling in relics of Frans Nielsen.
- From Eric Morris: Undisclosed Injury: The Scary Case of Tomas Vokoun
- And poor Jack Hillen has found injury once again.
- Still more injuries: Burrows for Vancouver, Kulemin (and cap trouble) for the Leafs, Stajan for the Flames, Neal for the Pens.
- If you missed the fuss last night, Devils fans in 2013 are really upset they lost their Gary Glitter goal song.
For the regulars or the new ones at play, leave your pick for First Islanders Goal (with time and assists) in this thread.
And if you're tailgating or just arriving for the game, make that old barn rock. I know you will.