The New York Islanders finally get back in action with a home game against the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight, part of six games in the next nine days including four before the NHL Trade Deadline.
The storylines are many, with the Islanders missing both of their top two centers to injury while also carrying two pending unrestricted free agents who are certain to be dealt. Frans Nielsen is out with a broken hand (Erik Johnson will serve a two-game suspension for the slash), while John Tavares is out with Olympic knee (but won't require surgery). Matt Martin too is nursing an injury, so Mike Halmo joined Ryan Strome and Anders Lee as callups from Bridgeport to fill the void.
More notes, rumors and news on the Isles and around the league:
- A look at those three callups, including Halmo's palpable excitement about making his NHL debut. [Newsday]
- The Bruins have interest in Andrew MacDonald but "zero desire to trade a first round pick for what’s currently available on the trade market," according to sources for Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.
- Should the Kings go after MacDonald? Only if they want Regehr, Part II. [Jewels from the Crown]
- NEW: Apparently the Wings have kicked the tires on MacDonald too. [Winging It in Motown]
- Speaking of trade rumors and the latest, here's audio of Newsday's Arthur Staple on SiriusXM's Hockey This Morning.
- You can't go long in Islanders Country without being reminded of how weak the franchise is in goal. Here's a nice FanPost looking at the recent history and the options going forward. [LHH FanPost]
- With the Islanders raiding Bridgeport's roster, here's a bit more about the Sound Tigers PTOs who are filling in. [CT Post] [Soundin' Off]
- According to Renaud Lavoie, John Tavares' paychecks will be paid by the IOC while he's out hurt.
- Fight fans: Here is Griffin Reinhart vs. Dakota Odgers, and Andrey Pedan vs. Anthony Camara.
- Video from Matt Martin Bobblehead night in Bridgeport. [Isles]
- Meanwhile, seriously awesome stuff: The Isles playing wheelchair hockey. [LIB Mag via YouTube]
- A post-Olympic primer on the Metro Division, with some idiot giving answers about the Isles. [Puck Daddy]
- More analysis of David Bolland, a pending free agent who had an injury setback and will not play against the Isles tonight. [Leafs Nation]
Beyond the Island
- After openly moping about wanting to go elsewhere because he's a poor, poor backup, suddenly Martin Brodeur says he's going to keep all trade deadline stuff private. Meanwhile, Jaromir Jagr with a great quote: "The one thing that is good about this team is we don’t have much media coverage. Less media, less rumors and less trade rumors." [NJ.com]
- Forget about the fan reaction, this miss hit by Jordan Nolan is the absolute best. That's playing hard but not so smart. [SB Nation]
- Somehow John Tortorella was forced to apologize for not rooting for Canada vs. Sweden. [PTIB]
- Penguins players say Evgeni Malkin is angry about the Olympics experience. [Trib]
- The Oilers, who have dealt many of their picks, would like to recoup them. [NHL]
- This piece claims contenders should jump at the chance to trade first-rounders, but I see enough nice names from those first-round picks to think, "No, actually it's nice to keep your first." [THN]
Each gameday we invite you to pick the scorer of the First Islanders Goal. No point picking Tavares this time.