After Jack Capuano was perhaps the most vocal and frustrated we’d ever seen with his players’ efforts on Wednesday night, the New York Islanders will get one last crack at the Florida Panthers with a younger face in the lineup.
Of course, rather than take out a veteran to make room for Anthony Beauvillier — Capuano’s post-game comments called out veterans by description if not by name — it’s instead Shane Prince who will sit tonight in Sunrise, Florida.
Though sometimes nagging injuries and visits to the trainer influence lineup decisions that instantly draw the ire of an exasperated fanbase, but thus far there’s been no word on any “banged up” type condition for Prince.
Granted, to get Beauvillier back in for his first game of 2017, someone has to sit. The thinking from fans watching this tortured team all season long, however, is that Prince has been one of the more energetic players engaging on a nightly basis.
One might conclude that the Islanders under Capuano carry the veteran affinity — which afflicts every team to some degree — to its extreme. One might look at the youth dominating the league and the Isles’ treading-below-water record and wonder what they’d have to lose by shocking a vet and giving the younger players a chance.
Presumably “the room,” and, ultimately one’s job.
From afar, it’s all playing out as slow, agonizing declines so often do. It’s hard to see how this all ends in anything but a major off-ice shakeup. It’s hard to see how the same approaches are repeated expecting different results.
Ladd - Nelson - Strome
Quine - Beauvillier - Chimera
That would leave intact:
Lee - Tavares - Bailey and
Kulemin - Cizikas - Clutterbuck
Opposite Thomas Greiss, ex Islander Roberto Luongo is expected to be in goal again for the Panthers. Goaltending has actually been one of the Panthers’ issues this season but it certainly wasn’t on Wednesday night.
The Islanders are (again) last in the East with back-to-back games against Florida, finishing their home-and-home with the Panthers tonight before visiting the Hurricanes tomorrow night.
After a struggling and injury-weakened start to the season, the Panthers are now just four points out of the final wild card spot, held by the Flyers at 50 points.
The Islanders have by far the fewest games played in the league (39) and in theory could make up serious ground to join the Panthers in attempted second-half resurrection, but who would expect that? Literally nothing about their play and stats suggests that bad luck or circumstances are masking a good team just waiting to emerge.
Leave your First Islanders Goal picks over here by game time, which is 7:30 p.m. EST.