For those of us alarmed by the Islanders’ performance over the last seven weeks, I’ll intervene to at least concede this: Yes, they are an injury-ravaged team playing on a traveling back-to-back (arriving home at 3:30 a.m. sucks, I know from recent family “upper body” hospital visits) against a rested local team.
Doug Weight’s post-game press conference was...”forgiving” isn’t the right word, but maybe “empathetic.” He conceded that he’s “not looking for a violin here,” but the injuries and schedule are indeed a hardship in the world’s best league.
It probably “helps” his point that two of the Islanders’ best players made critical mistakes that led to goals last night. Weight talked about “mental fatigue” when interpreting their decision-making. John Tavares — one of the key players who made a mistake trying to do too much — did offer the counterpoint that “we weren’t very good last night [in Montreal, the Greiss Theft victory] either.”
Whatever. The Isles have played poorly two out of the three games coming out of the bye break. They have four of a possible six points to show for it though. The imposing Bruins loom Thursday. Shane Prince joined the injury list last night. (Add to all of this the win over the Devils heading into the break, another time they were pretty well outplayed even if they escaped with two points.)
Combine all these hardship factors, and Thomas Hickey playing up on wing...it’s almost enough to make a fan think maybe what could it hurt to call up Joshua Ho-Sang, flaws and all?
- About last night: Unimpressive. Tired. Devils end winless streak at the Isles’ expense. (But that Anders Lee shrug-off of John Moore and charge down the ice, that was like a running back. Joy.) [LHH | Newsday | Post | Record | NHL | Isles | AATJ]
- Good news: Pierre LeBrun says the Isles (Snow) recognize defense is an issue, and they want a top four D. [FanRag] Bad news: There was this guy Franson on waivers and...
- I don’t think it’s controversial in the least that Mathew Barzal’s emergence would factor into John Tavares’ free agency decision — Barzal may one day be better than the captain — but sure, we can say it’s part of the team’s “pitch” to keep him. [THN]
- Speaking of which, the Canadiens agree Barzal is awesome (and see his “hair flapping in the wind,” the “toughest matchup”) and also: the injured Josh Bailey will skate today. [Newsday]
- In which Dreger explains his “got a feeling Tavares could end up in Montreal” comment is invalid not because of insanity, but because of taxes. Uh huh. [FanRag transcribing]
- Speaking of which, something something Tavares would be welcome in Montreal. [TVA]
- Pronman’s top 50 prospects includes some Aho, some honorable mention for Ho-Sang and Bellows. [Athletic, subscriber]
- Back in the day, Whalers/Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos tried to get an expansion team for St. Petersberg (Florida, not Russia). [Canes Country]
- Like the rest of his team, Nathan MacKinnon had a horrible season last year but now he’s on a MVP kind of track. [SB Nation]
- Given this year’s boycott, some NHLers’ Olympic dream may be gone forever. [Puck Daddy]
- Ermagrd, they want FOUR assets for Evander Kane. (Also: amusing buyer’s remorse over the offside challenge rule. If only someone could have predicted...) [TSN]
- The Hawks are worried Corey Crawford will be out for the season. [PHT]
- I received a weird press release/headline about Kid Rock being thrilled to be featured in the All-Star weekend and I don’t care but this story is probably based on that. [Puck Daddy]