Vancouver Canucks (10-6-1) at New York Islanders (6-9-2)
7 p.m. EST | Nassau Coliseum | MSG+
With a couple of Canadian teams descending on Long Island, and Gary Bettman making the rounds last week, it's a chance for True North media to, um, "highlight" the arena approval situation. But if a tree falls north of the border, does it make a sound in the Town of Hempstead?
Alas, maybe attention isn't good: You'll be thrilled to hear the Islanders' image up north hasn't changed. (Guess we'll always have 1982.) It's just bizarre to see a Canucks writer call this franchise a "perennial doormat." Forget the playoff appearances from this decade for a moment, and ponder "perennial." I'm sure yet another Monday night crowd will change minds. Meanwhile, James Mirtle has a more measured round-up of arena things from the league-observer's perspective, encompassing Lighthouse Project, financial world forces (today Citigroup announces 50 thousand job cuts), and the drumbeat for groundbreaking on this thing now.
But while the land of the red leaf is the spiritual home of hockey, I doubt any coverage there will move any red tape here. (Plus, I get the sense that many northerners generally view any franchise in peril as another candidate to fulfill the dream of a 10-Canadian-city NHL, in accordance with the prophecies. Because the last 15 years show that all Canadian franchises are automatic financial successes, and economic conditions never change.) A notice -- and urgency -- from the Times might help, but they are busy.
Anyway, the game (sort of): The Canucks come in nursing another iteration of their visual identity crisis. There's also a fan movement to right the great injustice of not allowing a goalie to wear the 'C' on his jersey. Goalies as captains in hockey and soccer strike me as a bit silly (the position inherently carries its own significance and leadership, which needs no other symbol), so I'll abstain.
The CW is the Canucks don't score much, but they're tied for 9th in goals per game at 3.06. Even if they didn't score, that's okay: Roberto Luongo doesn't allow much, including three shutouts in his last five. Overall, the team is 4th in goals against, at 2.41. ... Oft-injured Pavol "millions" Demitra is back in the lineup, but top minute-munching D-man Kevin Bieksa is out. ... To the consternation of Leafs fans everywhere -- and like the organization in "Quantum of Solace," they are everywhere -- Kyle (freaking) Wellwood leads the Canucks with seven goals.
As for the home team, for once we have no new injuries to report. In Joey MacDonald we trust.