The Islanders lost another one at home last night, 4-1 (obligatory empty net included) to the class-of-the-East Boston Bruins.
Our coverage, with some additional links in the recap, is over here. Newsday focuses on regret with this now 2-8-0 home record, while the Post talks of the two goals and three penalties that swung things in the second period. Also, Knight of Cups: "This is getting so old." And The Checking Line: "Hard to pinpoint why" the Isles have lost 8 of 10 at home.
Despite the warranted fan angst about the first 20 games of this season, it's pretty crazy to think the Isles are still two points out of eighth place -- and a different result or two (such as hanging on to the lead against the "first-place" Hurricanes) would have them in tenuous playoff position.
That could shift either way in the coming days, especially with so many teams in that morass. Basically, there are a lot of mediocre teams in the East and the Isles are one of them. Last night's opponent, now 12-2-2 on the year, is clearly in a different class.
Which means that if the Isles don't allow the 0-2 start to the homestand to deflate them, they can regain some ground with the Leafs and Senators coming in the rest of the week.
- Rick DiPietro showed up in Bridgeport, though he declined to do media. Good description of him on the ice, but more importantly: Johan Sundstrom nearing a return. And more in the Conn. Post, with praise from DiPietro's once-and-present teammates.
- Speaking of RDP, this little vignette from when he was waived is good.
- Also with the BST: A quick update on ailing Anders Nilsson.
- Up top, nice press from the last few days: In praise of John Tavares at nhl.com (so of course the Bruins kept him scoreless). And the WSJ on Frans Nielsen as "hired gun."
- We've talked of NHL realignment, but there were updates yesterday that make the current proposal clearer. East and West stay as two conferences (last year, it was four conferences), but the Northeast becomes the "Central," which is just absurd nomenclature, man.
- Fans look around for goalies, so of course they look at Ben Bishop, doing well and speculated to be on the market.
- ...but should they look toward the summer and Mike Smith?
- Sticking with movement news, this one is real: The Habs swap Erik Cole for Michael Ryder. The Flyers also acquired Simon Gagne for scraps.
- Really bad acting from Matt Stajan.
Finally, given our constant debate about the Islanders' tactical approach -- they have better players now, no? -- this article about the Wild's dump and chase nature is too familiar, a regular lament of fans of teams fighting to join the league's well-to-do:
Parise said the Wild's offensive troubles are "not a system issue."
"A lot of teams play the same way in the league, and what it comes down to is who does it better. And I think we're pretty inconsistent in how we play our system," Parise said. "What people don't understand, the other team is trying to win, too, and the other team is trying to make you turn the puck over.
"We would all love a game where you can skate it in, curl up and make a play every time. That's not the way the game is played. When we do have the opportunity to skate it in, we all have the green light to do it, but not at the risk of having a D gap up in your face, trying to make a cute play at the blue line, turning it over and having them come right back down on us.
"I actually think that's what we're guilty of sometimes."
Parise continued: "Pittsburgh dumps the puck. The highest-scoring teams in the league ... everybody dumps the puck. The difference, though, is they dump it and forecheck the right way to get it back."
Ninety-nine problems but the dump ain't one?