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Islanders vs. Red Wings: Return of Frans

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The previously longest-serving Islander faces his original team for the first time.

NHL: New York Islanders at Detroit Red Wings
“Hey, we could be friends instead of enemies.” >>Never.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

I think I’m all Frans-nostalgia’d out.

Or rather, I invested so much of the pure fan side of me in Frans Nielsen’s departure, and in mourning it, and in thinking back on what a significant and admirable part he was of some of the franchise’s most difficult and partly redemptive years, that I’ve no more words to spill on what he meant to me as an Islander.

But it still kills me to see him in a Red Wings uniform.

It still kills me that in contract negotiations the Islanders treated him like an assumed, for-granted kind of re-signing. That “things dragged on” long enough for a guy who never considered playing elsewhere to suddenly, finally consider “hey, playing elsewhere could be great!”

It’s one thing to make a business decision based on age, salary cap and anticipated future depth (although: Given the Ryan Strome experience, one questions whether this team’s bets on its youth at center will be executed as hoped.) I was always in someways prepared for Nielsen’s departure as the nature of the beast, the way of things in a cap world where the value of youth is evermore clear.

But it’s another thing when it’s a player who already saved you millions and cap space over the years by taking multiple team-friendly contracts and...when he finally has all the leverage, you still squeeze him, and then turn around and give Andrew Ladd the kind of contract that screams “This Will Not Age Well.”

I know all things are moving targets as free agency nears and different cap levers are in play, and there’s always more to the story but...this was a miss.

Finally, it kills me that Nielsen’s going to spend his declining/aging years in Detroit, where his chances at a Stanley Cup are hardly any better, where they’ll likely (and likely rightly) bemoan the contract in its later years, instead of New York, where many would’ve forgiven, thinking, “So he’s overpaid now at the end but at least he gave us lots of great years, and still contributes in the bottom six.”

For now though, Nielsen’s still really good. For someone else.

Preach

The captain on the Dane:

"He set the tone for our team, especially without the puck and obviously a tremendous player with it," Tavares added. "We asked him to play in so many situations, we counted on him in so many areas. That showed his versatility and the quality of player he is.”

Islanders vs. Red Wings: 6 p.m. EST

The Islanders are on their first three-game win streak of the season. Coach Jack Capuano announced that Jaroslav Halak will start in goal tonight, coming off his shutout in Washington a few nights ago. But the rest of the lineup will be shared just before game time.

Our friends at Winging It In Motown say Wings coach Jeff Blashill is being likewise cagey about announcing the lineup, other than goalie Petr Mrazek. The Wings lost last night in Pittsburgh 5-3 after conceding four third-period goals. They are without injured Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader.

The game is televised on MSG+ and on radio at 970AM - The Answer, 88.7FM - WRHU and 103.9FM - LI News.

Note the early 6 p.m. EST start time and leave your First Islanders Goal picks here by then.

I’m going to go curl up in a ball now.