New York Islanders (10-19-3, 15th/East) at Nashville Predators (15-13-3, 9th/West)
8 p.m. EST | [somme sponsor] Center | MSG+
Predators bloggers: On the Forecheck | What the Puck
Happy thoughts, happy thoughts: This will be Jason Arnott's 1,000th regular season NHL game. You can add 100 more playoff games to that (I never like how these milestones pretend playoff games don't exist). On the Forecheck has more on just how steady and valuable Arnott has been, despite being
somewhat under the radar ignored by national media because he's been in Nashville during the last quarter of his career.
Arnott's cold lately (2 assists in 7 games), but he's become the heart of the Predators. Forechecker links to a profile in The Tennessean, which has Arnott's grateful reaction after his teammates surprised him with a camo 4-wheeler to celebrate the occasion.
I remember Arnott being the next hot thing in Edmonton. Then when he wasn't as hot as they hyped him to be, almost 11 years ago they dealt him to New Jersey for some McNulty lookalike who currently captains the Islanders. As I recall, McNulty had a nice run there with Doug Weight -- who's past 1,000 games but is now two away from 1,000 points.
But I suppose we must talk about the Isles of today. After the clunker in St. Paul last night, who has much hope for this rare visit to Nashville? The slumping Preds -- like the Wild before them -- will likely seize the Isles as a slumpbuster. That's just where we are right now.
Joe Callahan has been called up for Andy Sutton, who is taking his 2nd tour of IR this season. Presumably Scott Gordon will go with Joey MacDonald again, since he was the difference between 4-1 and 9-1 last night. I don't get the sense back-to-back road games is enough to compel Gordon to use Yann Danis again.
Ah yes, Gordon. There are always fans who say "Gordon sucks, fire Snow, curse Wang," etc. at comically early moments. Not here, but right now I do have my first concerns about how Gordon's handling the slump. His comments regarding Andy Sutton's injury last night hurting the "overtaxed" defense, and blaming the game on turnovers, sound a bit misdirected. And dressing Mitch Fritz only to sit him on the bench the entire game ... that will never sit well with me, not with a healthy Blake Comeau up in the press box.
Maybe Gordon wants to avoid saying "my roster is awful," but he shouldn't pretend the Isles were close to being into that game. Despite carrying a 1-0 lead into the last minute of the 2nd, the Islanders were outplayed all night. Turnovers were a problem in the offensive zone, sure, but they piled up because the forwards seemed to have no plan or idea how to crack Lemair's defense.
I guess it could be worse. The Islanders could be visiting Hamilton tonight instead.