It seems odd, but maybe the best, calmest break from NHL trade deadline madness -- especially if you are the kind of Isles fan who is bashing his head against a wall in hopes they acquire a goalie today -- is to watch an actual Islanders hockey game.
At least, that may distract or redirect your frustration.
So here are the Isles, one hour later than normal, in Butch Goring and Travis Hamonic's home region, set to play the Winnipeg Jets minus one Andrew MacDonald. But they might be without their other trade chip, too.
With no MacDonald, that means the lineup will feature...wait...oh my.
Both Radek Martinek and Matt Carkner. [Edit: I'm an idiot and forgot Hamonic was suspended last game. So, no need to break the Martinek glass.]
The two have been in the lineup together just nine times this season, but the last time was Nov. 29, a 5-0 loss to Detroit. (Okay, that's being unfairly selective with stats though: They were in the lineup for multiple wins in October. Still, that Detroit loss was the culmination of a run of ugly Thanksgiving-period games.)
Oh, but you know who else might not be in the lineup, and probably shouldn't be? This guy:
Hearing Thomas Vanek may not be in NYI lineup tonight— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) March 4, 2014
Anyway, who knows which Islanders squad will show up tonight. They just lost a longtime teammate, Hamonic is playing in front of home fans but without his longtime buddy MacDonald, and Anders Nilsson is in goal -- which is always a love/hate adventure.
The Jets have been quieter at the trade deadline, though there are murmurs of Devin Setoguchi possibly heading back to San Jose.
They have their eye on a prize, however, what with a REAL COACH!11 and all:
Before Paul Maurice replaced Claude Noel as coach, Winnipeg was 10 points out of the final wild-card spot. Since then, the Jets are 11-3-1 and deep in the hunt for their first appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since the franchise relocated from Atlanta.
The Jets have no hope of a divisional playoff spot, but they are two points behind the last wild card spot in the West. It's a crowded group, and you have to think their 11-3-1 kind of luck will not sustain itself, but it should be fun watching them try -- especially since they are now fairly healthy.