The 2018-19 NHL season began last night, and tonight, the New York Islanders will do their part to play along on the road against Calvin de Haan (!) and the Carolina Hurricanes.
A lot has changed since the last time the Islanders played a hockey game that counted, even if some things feel eerily all too similar. Expectations for this season are mostly low, and with good reason, but the new look this team offers is just enough to create enticing possibilities in the mind of the Islander fan.
Myself, I’m too cynical to believe this team will be good enough to compete or be bad enough to earn a top lottery ticket. But that doesn’t mean I’m not excited for the season to begin, and there’s plenty of reasons for you to be, too. We’ve been waiting all summer to put the summer’s bullshit behind us; now’s our chance.
Welcome back, everyone.
(FIG Picks for tonight’s game go here. Get them in before puck drop at 7:00 p.m. Dom posted an introduction/refresher on the rules here; everyone that plays the FIGs should click on it, as there is a new option for “playing the field” that you may want to learn more about.)
- The players on the team are well aware of what I just said above about the hockey world and many fans not expecting much out of them. They believe in themselves, though, and are playing with a “chip on [their] shoulders.” [Newsday]
- Cory Wright previews the forward core for the Islanders this season on the team site. [Islanders]
- Dom got to chat by phone with Butch Goring. They spoke of the time it takes for a new coach and GM to figure out what they’ve got, of Robin Lehner, of Mathew Barzal, of playoff hockey at the Coliseum, and what the team must do to move on from the John Tavares era. [LHH]
- Spizzwolf answered LHHer DirtyAreas’ request for a video on how the Islanders handled puck retrievals last season. It was one of the first things coach Barry Trotz focused on in training camp last month, and you’ll see why. Woof. [LHH]
- Re-posting because it’s the last day for you to get your picks in (I still need to as well): y’all have until 15 minutes before opening face-off to get your picks in for the LHH Season Prediction Contest. [LHH]
- It wouldn’t be Islanders season without it: the Belmont Park Project was called “too big” for Floral Park at a town meeting. [Newsday]
Around the League
- For the first time this season, here are last night’s NHL scores from the four opening contests. The defending champs got off to a hot start as the Capitals walloped the Bruins 7-0. Jaroslav Halak, former Isles goalie, was called in to replace Tuukka Rask after goal number 5.
- I don’t wanna write it but I feel I should: Tavares scored his first actual goal with Toronto in the Maple Leafs 3-2 OT win over the Canadiens. [NHL | Newsday]
- Major Douchebag Tom Wilson was suspended 20 games without pay for an illegal check to the head of Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist in the preseason. The NHLPA hasn’t announced an appeal yet, which indicates even they may be done with his shit, because generally, they announce an appeal right away for a large suspension like this. [NHL]
- And because hockey culture always focuses on the important things in life, the Canucks have banned video games on road trips because of the controversies of Fortnite addiction. Alrighty. [Deadspin]