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A turn in the schedule

So here we are, with several off days to digest the unique air of having "won" three in a row. (All shootout "wins" must be "quotes"-degraded. It's the law.) That win streak may be a singular experience for this season, or maybe this understocked club can make a habit of ... nah, dare we dream?

The team is feeling up -- with good reason: Sweeping Ottawa was a mission crying out to be achieved, but a mission nonetheless. Tying-and-shootouting the Canucks was something else -- even if the Westerners (or at least their media lapdogs) were looking past the Islanders to the Rangers, who rolled over in shocking fashion at the Garden last night.

Ahead: the Devils, still adjusting to life without Brodeur and facing an Islander-level of injuries on top of it. What was looking like another dominant Devils season changed in the snap of a biceps tendon. For the first time since 1994 (so really: ever), the Devils face a sustained stretch without the Man with the Simple Mask. The weight of this challenge seems greater than any prior Devils Quasi-Dynasty loss. Yet as with Stevens, Niedermayer, etc., you could see Lou's machine somehow coming out okay here, too.

Still, the Devils with their backup goaltending are heading in the wrong direction, while Joey MacDonald is giving the Isles better goaltending than they got last year.

I'd watch them host the Panthers tonight if family commitments allowed, because I'm very curious. SBN founder Blez, who finally got himself a Devils blog, says the Devils have to face facts and go very un-Devil-like to make do. John at In Lou We Trust says this stretch is critical, considering the tight basement standings -- remember when the Atlantic was the Beast of the East? Funny how one off-season changes things. There is opportunity for a lot of movement in the standings over both the Devils' and Islanders' next 3-5 games.

As for the Islanders, they're calling up Towering Mitch Fritz for the lineup opening created by Kyle Okposo's [body] injury. I must admit, after just raving about how Scott Gordon has spread the ice time over four lines, I'm not looking forward to Fritz only playing a few minutes. But he'll make it work, and there are some goons coming up on the schedule in Buffalo, Montreal, and home to Pittsburgh.

Lighthouse Project update (sort of):
After waiting for weeks for a response from various public officials, Chris Botta said he'd finally unload a column of State of the Project as he sees it. Miraculously, within hours, he was called for a Q&A. Ain't PR great? His column regarding the Town of Hempstead supervisor is here. His Q&A with Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi is due up at Point Blank this afternoon.

Also: Used to be rookies had to earn their standing in the locker room. Now they get 10-year deals, while veterans beg for a million here or there. Always-talkative Doug Weight shares his take on today's veteran/rookie dynamics.