Philadelphia Flyers (4-6-3) at New York Islanders (4-8-2)
2 p.m. EST | Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum | MSG+
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Another weekday afternoon game today, this time for Veterans' Day. The Islanders tend to have a couple of these per year, which always kill me since I never have government holidays off. Awkward office Internet streaming ensues. Someone usually steals my red Swingliner while I'm distracted by byte-delayed game updates. Traditionally, I yelp inappropriately. Then HR calls. But the Islanders' military appreciation day is well worth my minor inconvenience and yet another HR write-up.
Before I get to the Flyers, Islanders Outsider pointed me to a NYT Slap Shot column that covers the evolution/response to the NHL's new injury non-info policy. Ken Holland, who is often cited with spurring the change during the 2008 playoffs, sounds like he'd be open to it being playoffs-only.
That'd be an acceptable compromise to me. Seems like teams have always covered up injuries during playoffs, anyway, and the exaggerated concern about "targeting" injuries is certainly more warranted when teams play each other 4-7 times in a row to save their season. The Slap Shot piece actually links to my old blog's (and many others') posting on this issue, so that's all I'll say about that ... for now.
Now about today's game ...
Last time these teams met, our concern was the Islanders' lack of goal scoring. That's still an issue, but of greater concern is their inability to hold hard-earned leads.
So in a sense, the Flyers may be ideal opponents, because the Flyers' problem right now is slow starts. Perhaps ripe for the Isles to jump on them? And hold it this time?
I don't believe this, but 19-year-old Josh Bailey might will actually make his NHL debut after missing much of training camp and all of this season with a [body] injury. After seven weeks without action, the smarter course is to let the lad do a conditioning stint at Bridgeport first. But slumping Mike Comrie missed practice for a re-examination of is surgically repaired hip, and Nate Thompson is out for 2-4 weeks with a groin injury.
For the Flyers, Danny Briere is back from abdominal surgery. And if you missed it this weekend, they've dealt promising headache Steve Downie and miscast injury replacement Steve Eminger to Tampa Bay for Matt Carle.
Silly GMs, and the Owners Who Love Them
Carle, you'll recall, was the "prize" in the new Lightning Mensa team's summer swap of Dan Boyle. To add another wrinkle, Carle's latest trade may have been made to clear an NHL deal slot (you are limited to 50) for the Flyers, around $800k under the cap, to sign Brendan Shanahan, who let Uncle Glen cap-string him along for the first month of the season.
I freaking love this. Some say the salary cap ties GMs' hands and reduces trades. I say it makes good GMs rise to the top and forces bad GMs into head-scratching trades. Plus, it's great fun to watch GMs -- who can no longer buy their way out of every mistake -- try to fix their compounding mistakes with potentially greater mistakes. In my book, it's absolutely inexcusable for a team to be less than $2 million under the cap in November. The Red Wings didn't win the Cup because of their cap management, but it's that awareness that gives them a chance of doing it again.
Whether it's the JFJ-as-mole era in Toronto, or the Burke Schneider-Bertuzzi binge in Anaheim, or whatever is going on in Tampa Bay, it seems like the cap forces GMs to pay the piper sooner, and more overtly, than before. When it's not just owner's money but rather defined cap allocation space associated with every move, each move suddenly takes on a more transparent value.
I like it. Show me more!