The New York Islanders practiced again for the playoffs Monday morning, this time actually knowing who their opponent would be. With healthy forwards in the fold -- no maintenance days Monday -- the Isles may have tipped what their fourth line could look like:
Jesse Joensuu and Eric Boulton each saw time on the fourth line during the final regular season games, but Marty Reasoner might have the faceoff, defense and proverbial "playoff experience" the Isles are looking for. The Penguins are deep, so while the Islanders have had three lines going well for the last month, they'll not want to leave holes on the final trio. We'll see.
For the Penguins, Brooks Orpik is questionable for Game 1, and Sidney Crosby sees a doctor today to see if he can get clearance. A nation of broadcasters holds its breath. (Or at least one doting community does.)
More previews and such:
- The Daily News bothers to pay attention to the Isles, mostly quoting Jack Capuano.
- USA Today's Kevin Allen picks the Pens in five, though he says the Islanders "have been playing playoff hockey for a month."
- The CP gets points for bringing up Dave Volek, has some solid info, but picks the Pens in five.
- Newsday focuses on the Islanders' full team turnaround, which fo course begins with John Tavares' self-driven improvement.
- The Post goes all brother-in-law.
- The Times with capsules for each series.
- Adam Gretz at CBS picks the Penguins in six, saying the Isles will pose more of a threat than people expect.
- Also via the CBS empire, Bob Errey with absolutely brilliant insight.
- The Hockey Writers: Which Islanders squad shows up?
- The official site has the Isles psyched for their first trip to the playoffs, as well as another prospect update for the two still playing.
- The top 20 jersey sellers in the league include an Islander.
- Some of the current Islanders took in their future home last night.
LHH Playoff Pool
Finally, you'll see this in the other playoff poll posts, but Mark set up a pool (no money involved, this is Communist LHH remember) like last year for everyone to make their full playoff picks, for all four rounds. Bonus for getting upsets right. Link and full details here.