The Islanders close out their home schedule tonight against the Panthers, and my, has it been a surprising turnaround given how they began the season on home ice. Hopefully tonight at the Coliseum serves as a party, a proper send-off for the team as they go on their season-ending five-game trip that leads to, we all hope, a return to home ice for some playoff games.
- Overall Fan Appreciation Night details here. If you're going, chime in here and have a blast tonight.
- He won't play tonight but probably will before the end of the regular season: Brian Strait is off IR and was alternating with Matt Carkner and Radek Martinek at practice.
- Travis Hamonic says the team has set a new standard and will hold itself accountable.
- Casey Cizikas' into-the-bench check has earned him a spot in the first NHL 14 promo.
- First Islanders Goal picks for tonight go here.
- Tonight's opponent has had a rotten season. During their recent blowout loss to the Jets, the Panthers announcers spent the final stages of the game riffing on Winnipeg facts.
- Meanwhile, Jets fans are in the position of trying to outline scenarios where they can make the playoffs. Their meeting with the Isles looms large.
- Kevin Connolly on his Spano film: "In the editing room, they were like, 'Kevin, we can't do nine minutes on the Islanders' comeback against Pittsburgh [in the 1982 playoffs].'"
- Fun read on what spring on Long Island is supposed to be like.
- The Isles, a "top five surprise" as the season winds down?
The Oilers fired GM Steve Tambellini and replaced him with Craig MacTavish. Kevin Lowe had some curious statements, including: "Half the general managers in the league would trade their roster for our roster right now." He also said there's one other guy working in the game who's won more Stanley Cups than him, ergo he knows about winning. Copper & Blue notes some of the critical media questions Lowe faced, and worries that Lowe looms as a shadow over the qualified MacTavish [video of the presser there too].
Down Goes Brown riffs on the Oilers GM hiring process.
Terrible about the tragedy in Boston yesterday. Peter Laviolette is among many relieved to hear their family members are okay. Obviously that's not true for everyone. Just a sad, depressing day. Cheers to everyone who dropped a line in the SCOC threads last night.
Network note: SB Nation blogs will soon have edible, I mean editable comments. So you'll have 90 seconds to fix what you were too lazy to proof before! :P
Check back later for more on tonight's game.