The New York Islanders have their home opener against the Anaheim Ducks Sunday night, with both teams playing the second half of a traveling back-to-back still looking for their first standings point of the season.
Yes, both teams have started 0-2, which means select portions of their fanbases are in collective and hilarious freefall.
Because never mind that teams lose two games in a row all the time, and never mind that recent Stanley Cup champions in Los Angeles and Chicago each started this season 0-2 (along with familiar stepchildren Calgary and Columbus) too; the bottom line is that all is lost and tonight’s inevitable third loss will conclusively prove it.
Just as we foretold in the prophecies.
Our friends at Anaheim Calling have a good rundown of the sources of angst in Duck territory, mostly to do with the decision to discard the progressive Bruce Boudreau and bring back old school Randy Carlyle behind the bench.
With the Islanders, the question is more “what was that offseason?” as chairs and cap dollars were reshuffled but not exactly upgraded.
The highest promise for improvements over last season fall among the young forwards — returnees Ryan Strome, Brock Nelson, maybe Anders Lee, plus rookies Anthony Beauvillier and Mathew Barzal — but the fanbase nervousness centers around what the Isles will do with this youth and how quickly Jack Capuano will decide they’re not veteran enough.
And then over here you have Jason “maybe he’ll upgrade the fourth line” Chimera on John Tavares’ wing.
But that’s all old news to Isles regulars, and it’s still a close league on any given night, so it’s anyone’s guess what happens between these two good-but-flawed teams as each hunts its first win of 2016-17.
Shane Prince, who had a training camp injury but played the first two games, has been put on IR. Unclear whether it was related or something new that happened last night.
That means Alan Quine gets his season debut, while rookie Anthony Beauvillier returns to the lineup. Sounds like he and Mathew Barzal may be sharing time as each auditions for full-time work and an argument against being returned to juniors.
Figure on Jaroslav Halak to start in goal after Thomas Greiss went last night in Washington.
At the other end, John Gibson is expected to start after Jonathan Bernier faced 45 shots (and stopped 42 of them) in Pittsburgh last night.
How To Watch This Whole Deal
TV: MSG+, 6 p.m.
Radio: WFAN 660 AM, 88.7 FM WRHU, WRCN LI News 103.9 FM
No matter what you think of team management, coaching, etc., presumably you’re here because of a vested interest in the NYI.
So, it’s the home opener. Maybe have fun with it? You have 79 other games yet to piss and moan about how differently you’d do things.
It all starts now! Share all your photos from tonight's home opener using #AllForIsles. pic.twitter.com/WqiNUrhazT— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) October 16, 2016
Our newest Islanders fans at @MaimonidesMC are ready for their call up! #AllForIsles pic.twitter.com/fn7r4n3254— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) October 16, 2016