The New York Islanders host the St. Louis Blues today for a 1 p.m. EST start at Nassau Coliseum, the first of four straight games against top Western opponents and the first of two games against the Blues during that stretch.
The Isles blueline is hurting, with essentially the whole right side out and the potential to start two rookies who were in Bridgeport a few days ago.
- Travis Hamonic joins Johnny Boychuk and Lubomir Visnovsky on IR, with Ryan Pulock (the AHL's goal leader among defensemen) joining Griffin Reinhart as callups from AHL Bridgeport. [LHH]
- It's okay, the Isles got D depth. [Isles]
- Speaking of Reinhart, with the Oilers hurting and press conferencing, there was dumb rumor-mongering yesterday once again connecting him there, including a false report of a trade request. Quite false, refuted by all parties. [PHT]
- What we've heard about constantly since Pulock's draft day is that cannon shot. Bridgeport coach Brent Thompson talked about that, but also the development of his pro game while playing next to savvy Sound Tigers captain Aaron Ness: "His shot is deadly. It's an Al MacInnis style shot. I've yet to see one harder in this league and even in the NHL, it’s very hard to find a shot this hard."
- The Isles fourth line has been quite effective lately, but that doesn't change the last several seasons of data regarding Matt Martin and who should sit when all forwards are healthy. [Garik at Islanders Analytics]
- The Isles are good. Credit where it's due with the coach. [TCL]
- Brock Nelson? Also good. [THW]
- We had a guest post from the Hockey By Design guy discussing/ranking the Isles' jersey history.
- FIG Picks: Leave your First Islanders Goal picks for today's game here.
News of Jaroslav Halak's hot first quarter has made its way to St. Louis, his old stomping ground. [STL Today] And to Canada. [CP] Plus, Newsday and the Isles check in with him before facing his old team:
"I had a great time there," Halak said. "It was a big part of my career; really good people. But, I'm here now. [Being traded] is part of the business."
Here's Steven Valiquette analyzing the Islanders' top shootout marksmen. Never mind all the Smurfs stuff on the wall, it's just MSG being MSG:
- The Blues' "STL" line with Jaden Schwartz, Vladimir Tarasenko and Jori Lehtera has been outstanding, but there are sometimes concerns about their defensive engagement. [STL Today] Overall, the Blues are trying to find balanced scoring -- i.e. "not just Tarasenko and the D."
- If you don't know Lehtera: The 2008 draft pick is a strong two-way center who played with Tarasenko in the KHL, which helped convince him to make the leap to the Blues this year.
- The Blues signed Martin Brodeur (not expected to start, so fans won't get to serenade him) after Brian Elliott suffered a knee injury. Another key injury is Jay Bouwmeester, whose league-high consecutive games streak ended with this injury. Coach Ken Hitchcock initially said if it were the playoffs, he'd still be playing. That was seven games ago.
- The Blues are good (here's a look at their fancy stats), but there are also concerns. [STL Game Time]
- How old is Brodeur? So old. [SB Nation]
- The Ducks beat Minnesota and ol' friend Tim Jackman had a key goal in front of friends and family, but Anaheim lost Corey Perry to a low hit by Keith Ballard. [Anaheim Calling]
- More on the Oilers' state of the union. [TSN]
- How did the NHL get a mumps outbreak, anyway? [SB Nation]
- Bookie admits to plot involving Thomas Vanek. [Democrat and Chronicle]
- Barry Trotz has many, many concerns about his Capitals. [CSN, autoplay warning]
- Should the Habs retire Steve Shutt's number? [HEOTP]