Good morning, folks. I hope you caught the game last night. It was exciting as anything I've seen in a while. Back-and-forth and back again, not to mention the wild rush of emotions when the Maple Leafs went up 5-4 late followed by Andrew Ladd's tying blast as the extra attacker with less than two minutes remaining in regulation.
UPDATE: Folks, some early morning breaking news could make things reeeeeally interesting around these parts.
#NHLBruins relieve Claude Julien of coaching duties: https://t.co/t6zczxyE0X— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) February 7, 2017
I have been very vocal over the last month or so about wanting the Isles to pounce on Clode if he became available, as he's been rumored to be fired for what seems like forever. Doug Weight's tenure has been successful thus far, but I still think they should be all over Julien. In other news, I imagine Ken Hitchcock is a prime candidate up in Boston now, with David Backes being there.
- Recaps: LHH | Newsday | NHL.com | Islanders | NY Post | PPP
- Cal Clutterbuck sat out again last night due to a lower-body injury. Apparently, it's a different lower-body injury than the one that kept him out briefly in January. Also, Travis Hamonic, whose injury wasn't believed to be all that serious, is still at least a couple weeks away. He's had knee (specifically, MCL) issues in each of the last two seasons, so you hope it's just precaution. [Newsday]
- John Tavares has been impressed with Auston Matthews. [TSN]
- Playing fantasy hockey? The Islanders recent surge could give you a sneaky waiver pick-up or two. [NHL.com]
- Craig Custance's Ten Takeaways from this weekend include a blurb about his opinion of the Isles playoff chances. I don't know what it says because E$PN IN$IDER$ ONLY.
- An article about their playoff chances that doesn't cost money! [THN]
- Gary Bettman took in last night's contest in Brooklyn, but couldn't stay awake. I'm sure the man's busy, but how is this the game you fall asleep at? [Eyes on Isles]
- Copper & Blue must be doing some sort of series about trade proposals with the various teams of the NHL, and today it's the Islanders turn. Their suggestion? Travis Hamonic and Jaroslav Halak for Jordan Eberle and Kris Russell. And I gotta say, it's quite compelling. Russell's extremely overrated by the mainstream media up in Alberta, but he wouldn't be bad as a stopgap for a couple of months, as long as he was playing bottom-pair minutes.
- There will be no minor league hockey team to occupy Nassau Coliseum when it opens. Take that for what you will. I'm sure it will be handled with the utmost rationality. [Newsday]
- The Sound Tigers had their eight-game win streak cut off last night, and also called up Jesse Graham. [CT Post | SoundTigers.com]
- Winging it in Motown tries to gauge who both we and the Rangers will protect in the upcoming Expansion Draft.
- Oh, and lookie here:
Bailey now at 38 points through 51 games. Three off his career high.— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) February 7, 2017
- Last night's NHL scores. Only 3 games last night: ours, Blues-Flyers, and Sabres-Devils. The Sabres and Devils aren't as big of threats in the playoff race, but New Jersey won in regulation, which is probably the best scenario we could have hoped for there. More importantly, though, Philly lost in regulation. We've got a massively important game with them coming up on Thursday.
- Speaking of the playoff race: Travis Yost says be prepared for a wild ride to the finish, while trying to figure out who has the easiest/hardest path to get there based on remaining strength of schedule. Spoiler: we have a difficulty of "Neutral" to get there because only about 30% of our remaining games are at home, but our opponents down the stretch are on the weaker side. Gotta take advantage of that and play well on the road. [TSN]
- NHL players will fill out a survey rating ice conditions around the league, which I'm sure will go swimmingly around here. (Get it? The ice is all melted so we'll have to swim through it? Ah jeez.) [Sportsnet]
- Regional TV ratings are down for the league, likely because of the election and the Chicago Cubs. [SBN Mothership]
- NHLers share their memories and crazy experiences from the 1990s Sun Belt expansion. [THN]
- The Blue Jackets, with all their success, have become a compelling option on TV in the Ohio area. The Islanders rank about where you'd think they'd be. [SportsBusiness Daily]
- Excellent article about the experiences of being gay and being involved with hockey. [Anaheim Calling]
- Ken Hitchcock thanks the Blues fans for their unwavering support.
- Tuukka Rask has bought a minority stake of a Finnish team he used to play for and that has been in trouble financially. [SCOC]
- And finally, Broad Street Hockey ranks Flyers alumni based on who would be most likely to kick Vladimir Putin's ass. Amazing.