Remember when if you kept one Atlantic team below you, you had a pretty good shot at the playoffs? It might take more than that this year to make the top eight, but the Flyers increasingly look like they will be in the basement.
As noted before the season and pretty much ever since they lost Chris Pronger and then Matt Carle, the Flyers defense is at Bruno Gervais caliber, and that's a problem. Read a great (and pretty ... seriously, it's pretty) rundown of their blueline conundrum over at Broad Street Hockey.
The Islanders visit Philadelphia for the first time this season tonight. They have a chance to avenge the embarrassing 7-0 home loss earlier this month. (Although, doesn't "avenge" imply you at least resisted attack the first time? The Isles sure didn't.)
Anyway, more on tonight's game later. Here are some bits:
- The Islanders official site pumps Evgeni Nabokov's tires. I'll say this: He has been a workhorse.
- Voting is open for the Bob Nystrom Award. Who will succeed Kyle, Frans and Matty Marts?
- In Newsday, Travis Hamonic is excited to be playing in games that matter in late March.
- Kirill Kabanov is still working back to form from his injury, earning a healthy scratch over the weekend. The Sound Tigers want more consistency and work ethic.
- Possession metrics aren't everything, whether with teams or with individual players, but they are something. And they're more likely than not to tell you who the best teams are. Here are the best and worst of the last five years.
- Some great forward vs. defense chirps in this story on Keith Ballard playing forward.
- Remember when teams signed those back-diving contracts that looked a whole lot like salary cap circumvention? Yeah, Mike Keenan (no, not the Sound Tigers) says that's what Miikka Kiprusoff's deal was all about.
- Remember when the Coyotes had an owner lined up? No, I mean the other time. Or the other other time? "Time is running out," says Dreger.
- Back to the Flyers: Some of their players sound like they just need more battle level.
Crazy Night in the NHL
The whole NHL media universe went crazy as multiple outlets erroneously reported that Jarome Iginla had been dealt to the Boston Bruins. I'm talking tons of outlets, I can't even count them all nor figure who was echoing whom. Here are two representative examples (You'll note the first one actually links to a corrected story, which has Iginla going to the Penguins):
Apparently deals were in place for both teams, but Iginla chose the tools in Pittsburgh over the dirtbags in Boston.
Anyway, the Penguins are going all in. Some thought they were choosing between Brenden Morrow and Iginla. Turns out they wanted both. But don't fret. You know what the funniest and still possible outcome to this is? They pay heavily (check) load up on players past their prime (check) ... and still don't win the Cup (TBD).
It can happen. It did in the late '90s and early 2000s all the time when Detroit, Dallas and Colorado would buy everything on the market each trade deadline. (Sometimes they won, sometimes they had a lot of baggage.)
Oh, speaking of which, here's more on how the Pens overpaid for Douglas Murray.
Leave your First Islanders Goal picks for tonight in this thread.