Calvin de Haan has been activated from injured reserve and new acquisition Shane Prince, my dearly beloved, is gathered here with the team to be the newest New York Islanders first liner as they visit the Vancouver Canucks and try to resume a long and winning western road trip.
The Canucks are 14 points behind a playoff-lock position in the Pacific and eight points behind the final wild card spot. They made waves for a little while in the Pacific, which as a group began the season so poorly, but now it's quite clear this will be playoff miss of a season. All the more reason for their fans to be up in arms over their inability to sell expiring assets at the deadline, whether by demanding too high a price or because Dan Hamhuis just doesn't wanna move.
(Seriously, fans are speaking of a "headfirst plunge into an abyss of uselessness.")
The Islanders, coming off a disappointing and not entirely unpredictable lethargic loss in Edmonton, should have a different look tonight.
Prince is getting his debut right at the top, next to John Tavares and Ryan Strome. That is some young talent right there; hopefully it's also good in its own zone. Jack Capuano explained why they might as well see what they've got in the Artist Currently Known As:
"He’s got some speed and deception to his game," Capuano said of Prince. "We have a group here that we feel he can fit in with and hopefully give us some offense. He’s going to get an opportunity to play with 91 tonight."
Ryan Pulock was "loaned" to Bridgeport (on paper only) in order to be eligible for the AHL playoffs, but like magic he is back with the club (on paper and in the flesh) today. He will play with Thomas Hickey.
Thomas Greiss is the expected starter in goal.
De Haan slots back in next to Travis Hamonic. Capuano again:
"First game back when you haven’t played in a while is a tough one," Jack Capuano said. "But just having him back there and having him back with number three gives us a pairing we feel can match up with any team’s top line."
Yes, that means no Brian Strait nor Marek Zidlicky.
And there is this gem, via Newsday's Arthur Staple:
Capuano: "I want to see us have the puck more. We're at 50, 51%, maybe 14th in the league. We need to be higher." #CorsiTalk— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) March 1, 2016
Be still, your hearts.
One casualty of that loss to the Oilers: The Isles are now seven points behind the double-Staal Rangers for home ice in the Metro. They still have three games in hand, but of course the ugliness in Alberta showed those only matter if you use them.
Not Here for the Game, but for the Trades. Where are the Trades?
The NHL trade deadline was a league-wide disappointment for those hoping for fireworks, and the Islanders story is no different. They made just one move, acquiring rookie Shane Prince from the Ottawa Senators?
Prince who? Learn more about him here:
- Why "only 12 points" isn't the full Prince story
- The case for adding Prince on the cheap
- Low-risk, high-reward? "I think Garth Snow has that tattooed on his chest." [Islanders Anxiety podcast with garik as guest, in which a trial on the first line was all but foretold]
Leave your First Islanders Goal picks here. Now with fresh Prince!