No matter what happens tonight — and the Islanders franchise is on a 10-0-1 run on New Year’s Eve that conveniently overlaps with the life of this blog and evenings spent game-watching before partying — it has been a remarkable 2017.
Though the team, or its lineup decision-makers, can continue to confound us on the fringes, they are a high-event, high-scoring (and high-conceding) team that has had a tremendous calendar year, most of it under Doug Weight as head coach.
As the invaluable Eric Hornick has been pointing out in his essential — Tom Kurvers has a record Tavares doesn’t! — post-game The Skinny series, the Islanders in 2017 logged 100 points in a calendar year for the first time since 1983, the
final last Cup winner. Yes, these days there are shootouts and tie-avoiding gimmicks and all that, but still. They had nearly a fifth of this century of three-point games to match that total.
Likewise, Weight is 44-25-8 as a head coach, the fastest to 40 wins of any Islanders coach in history. (Yes, again three-point games and all that, but still.)
So hopefully tonight is festive and satisfying. (And safe, for all of you with plans to mingle among the masses.) But the memories of 2017 have already been imprinted on Islanders history.
Leave your FIG Picks here.
- The Isles visit the Avalanche, and yesterday practiced at DU’s cool and intimate arena, a familiar haunt for Scott Mayfield. [Isles]
- Jaroslav Halak doesn’t like to talk about last year’s demotion, but Doug Weight believes in him, thinks he’s been better than his numbers show, and calls last year something he “has too much left in the tank (in his career) to let it happen again. [Newsday]
- Sebastian Aho is ready to play his game with a team he’s been watching from Bridgeport. [Isles]
- To re-iterate, the third line is an issue. (Free Ho-Sang?) [Newsday]
- Despite missing two top defensemen, the Sound Tigers shut out Binghamton. [CT Post | Soundin’ Off]
- Mathew Barzal and the Devils’ top kids has Brooksie recalling the top New York-area rookie classes. [Post]
- Congrats to the Jr. Islanders, the only American team to advance to the quartefinals of the current tournament in Calgary, where they play again today. [Isles]
- David Quenneville scored again, this time in a Medicine Hat loss. [Medicine Hat News]
- As a heartfelt reminder, Friday’s game vs. the Pens will include a “Do It For Daron” night to raise awareness of youth mental health, in memory of assistant coach Luke Richardson’s daughter. [Isles]
- We have a trade to announce: The Flames, who’d already given up on Eddie Lack, found a home for him in New Jersey where a fellow ex-Canuck is the starter. [Sportsnet | Matchsticks & Gasoline]
- Matt Murray could return from his latest injury as soon as today. [NHL]
- The field is wide open at the WJC, though Canada cruised to the top spot in its group. [Puck Daddy]
- Today is the last day to vote on the Greatest Uniform in the NHL’s first 100 years, which is surely an exciting “digital-first mobile program” or something. [NHL]