And so the long-dreaded Western road trip begins, with the Islanders reeling and their season hanging by a thread while the GM reportedly works the phones for trades.
Since I am the rare Islanders fan who knows tonight's opponent really well, I'll have an in-depth look at the St. Louis Blues later for the game preview. Suffice to say they are deeper than the Isles in every possible way. Though the Blues are coming off two consecutive regulation losses for the first time this season, they were to fellow tough Western opponents in Los Angeles and San Jose...
...which are two of the other destinations on this Isles road trip. Yay.
- Newsday pieces: Brutal road trip, with notes on the scoring-drought forwards | Trade options out there? ($)
- The latest Isles trade scuttlebutt, mostly via TSN. Boy it'd be nice if they got Jake Gardiner. [IPB]
- Timely: Tonight's opponent includes Barret Jackman, who's full of praise for Doug Weight. [Belleville]
- Also in that previous link, Ken Hitchcock on tape of the Isles-Pens game: "That's the best I've seen somebody play against Pittsburgh in a month, other than us," Hitchcock said. "They've gotten through the frustration and if that's the game we're going to get, we're going to get a hell of a game."
- The Blues will start Jaroslav Halak against the Isles tonight. [Post-Dispatch]
- Kenny Reiter got his first AHL shutout last night. Michael Fornabaio reported it [CT Post] and live-blogged it from distance. [Soundin' Off]
- Read more here: http://www.bnd.com/2013/12/04/2941547/jackman-proud-of-ex-teammates.html#storylink=cpy
- The Sound Tigers will have a teddy bear toss Saturday. [BST]
- That guy who swindled guys like Bryan Berard is pleading not guilty. [Daily News]
- Here is the USA selection camp for the WJC. [NHL]
- Here's Dan Bylsma discussing how to evaluate U.S. Olympic prospects while also coaching against them. (The solution: Defer to Peter Laviolette, who's not moonlighting right now.) [Yahoo]
- For the Devils, is the youth movement on D happening? [ILWT]
- Bryan Murray is still fine with the Ben Bishop trade, even as Bishop plays really well for Tampa. He says the offers he received were minimal. [Ottawa Sun]
- Nazem Kadri's grandfather passed away, and his life made a cool story. [Globe and Mail]
- Where does the name of tonight's opponent come from? The music and in particular this song, which has a history. [NPR]
- The Leafs are about to go under the microscope of HBO [National Post], and we're about to test the theories on how bad they really are. [SBN]
- Paul Stewart on his day as a Long Island Duck. [HockeyBuzz]
- Stop pitying yourselves, Capitals. [NBC D.C.]
- Lee Stempniak on coaches like Bob Hartley, who defended himself from criticism by former enforcer Scott Parker: "First, as a player, you want a coach that believes you have more and tries to help you reach your potential. I think every coach deep down wants the best for his players and is just trying to motivate them." [Calgary Herald]
- Big trade in the OHL includes eight picks. [Windsor Spitfires]
- Mats (singular) Sundin and Peter Forsbert are Swedish hockey Hall of Famers. [Sweden]
There aren't many recent feel-good highlights of the Isles against the Blues -- though the Isles otherwise meaningless March 2011 5-2 win over Ben Bishop was cool, and included an Andrew MacDonald breakaway. But here's a classic rematch between current NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan and Richard Pilon.
(I love that it references "the 7-7 tie at Nassau Coliseum last week," which is something you just won't see anymore because goalies are giant and stuffed with pillows and The People Demand a Winner so we conclude evenings with slow-motion breakaways instead.)
- [Bits] Islanders Get to Airport Early, Blow Lead, Fight Delayed Two Hours
- Islanders vs. Penguins Post-Game: John Tavares on Officiating, Jack Capuano on Losing
- Pittsburgh Penguins 3, New York Islanders 2 (OT): Winless streak hits seven
- When GM and Coach See Eye to Eye, but Not Veteran to Prospect
- Islanders News: Discounted t-shirts/jerseys, re-evaluated Calvin de Haan, Ryan Strome