There are lots of trades happening ahead of the March 1 NHL trade deadline, some of them odd and some of them stupid, but none so far (and we’re betting: going forward) have involved the New York Islanders.
Meanwhile, the Isles are in the odd position of having four open days until their next game, coming off of Saturday’s ugly/embarrassing/atrocious/[your apocalyptic word of choice here] 7-0 implosion against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
That means...bag skate.
But also fun. (Okay, more like “fun,” air quotes style.) With some mid-practice details and post-practice quotes via Newsday’s Isles beatwriter Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday):
You know y’all deserve it.
Pretty intense conditioning skate at end of #Isles practice. Hour of drills, now 15 minutes of hard skating.— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) February 27, 2017
Tough Time to Come Back, Cal
Cal Clutterbuck has been in and out (but mostly out) of the lineup over the last month with a nagging injury. You’d think a bag skate would be a tough time to prove he’s ready again, but then what better way to prove you’re finally, actually, no-for-real-this-time ready?
Clutterbuck finally feeling good after tough practice. "That's the last time I get calf implants over the (5-day) break."— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) February 27, 2017
(That’s a joke. Just a joke. Chill. Although if you too want calf implants, I know a guy...)
Meanwhile, two guys who took part in Saturday’s disaster missed the bag skate. You know, they call Andrew Ladd a wily veteran. Hmm...
Weight: Quine (upper) being evaluated, doesn't seem long term. Ladd's back acted up, should be OK for Thursday.— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) February 27, 2017
“Acted up,” you say. What did Ladd know, and when did he know it?
Anyway, the longest-running Isles injury involves defenseman Travis Hamonic. Good news, and a funny line on that front:
Weight on Hamonic itching to return: "He's like the dog that eats at 5 and it's 4:55 and he's just waiting by the bowl, staring at you."— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) February 27, 2017
HEY, that’s MY dog!
It seems Hamonic helped end the bag skate “early” by completing a skills challenge from interim head coach Doug Weight:
Weight pulled one net out to the blue line and had Hamonic try to put a over that net and into the opposite one. He did it twice.— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) February 27, 2017
Hamonic saved himself and his teammates a few more post-practice gassers. Lightened the mood after all the sprints.— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) February 27, 2017
So there you have it. That’s what’s happening on the Islanders front, while a good portion of the league engages in deadline horse trading.
If you missed some of the big ones so far:
- The Tampa Bay Lightning and Los Angeles Kings swapped goalies Ben Bishop and Peter Budaj because why not. The move gets the Lightning something for Bishop, and gives L.A. “proven winner” insurance while Jonathan Quick comes back from a long layoff.
- The Minnesota Wild paid a hefty price for some Martin Hanzal renting. I guess with the Suter and Parise contracts not getting any younger, and the West no longer as scary, now is a good time to go for it.
- The Toronto Maple Leafs acquired Bryan Boyle for prospect Byron Froese and a 2nd-round pick.
- UPDATE: The Montreal Canadiens acquired “The Other” Benn from the Dallas Stars.
- UPDATE: And there is late-breaking news about the Senators acquiring Alex Burrows and signing him to a two-year extension while giving up well-regarded prospect Jonathan Dahlen.
The Islanders are back in action Thursday in Dallas, followed by Friday in Chicago. The road ahead isn’t any easier. But does Garth Snow dare make a move in this market? Is there one to be made with their contract commitments and the players on said market?
Meanwhile, down in Bridgeport sits Jaroslav Halak, a large part of the Sound Tigers’ 2017 resurgence. His highest value to the Isles is probably on their NHL roster rather than in a trade. But you know...
We’ll have threads and reactions and gallows humor if any moves come about. In the mean time, go have a bag skate.