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Islanders Gameday News: Sabre time, Barzal star, Belmont impact, Hamonic ‘spring

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Hope you did extra morning aerobics.

Buffalo Sabres v New York Islanders
It’s the Honda winter annoy-the-#$%-out-of-you-clearance-event.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

No time for hangovers or nog-laden bellies. The Islanders are back in action after the league-mandated Christmas break. Sabres are in town. Leave your First Islanders Goal picks for tonight here.

Islanders Reading

  • Hopefully you had a good Christmas and/or holiday break with family because some media heads leading up to the break said some click-bait-y things about the Tavares Free Agency Saga. [LHH Tavares Encyclopedia]
  • The Isles return from the break with the same goaltending questions, and the same general leaning toward Jaroslav Halak, we think. [Newsday]
  • Mathew Barzal is quickly becoming a star. [NBC]
  • What does winning the Belmont RFP mean for the Islanders? A whole lot. [LHH]
  • From before the break: Josh Bailey’s breakout numbers in a breakout (and conveniently walk) year. [Newsday]
  • Also from before: The Isles try to name the reindeer. [Isles]
  • This week’s prospect report focuses on those at the WJC. [Isles]
  • The Islanders’ place in the power rankings has taken a hit with this regretful December. [LHH]
  • As luck would have it, Dan guested (to talk about Belmont) on the Winging It In Motown podcast on the same episode where they relived the Milbury Shoe incident anniversary. [WIIM]
  • The U.S. destroyed Denmark at the WJC last night. [HEOTP] Here’s Keiffer Bellows’ successful penalty shot, one of two he scored.

Elsewhere

  • Hopefully the Sabres pay no mind to tonight’s game, what with the Winter Classic event (a “home” game, heh) coming up this weekend. [Buffalo News]
  • Ex-Islander News: Travis Hamonic talks about expecting a new little one, his first. [NHL]
  • Oh but here we have Vegas in #3 on the power rankings. [NHL]
  • Here’s how to watch the WJC and all that business. [SB Nation]
  • But maybe you don’t want to watch because TOURNAMENT IN CRISIS: attendance not what they want, even for Canada’s games. [Puck Daddy]

Remembering Johnny Bower

One of the greats, Cup-winning Leafs goalie Johnny Bower died at 93. [Sportsnet | Times | PPP]