It’s finally here. Islanders fans finally get to see Matt Martin and Leo Komarov face their old teammates in a matchup with Toronto.
For the Leafs, that kid who didn’t sniff the Calder is also in the lineup for his first ever game against the Islanders after “doing everything he could” wearing the orange and blue. John Tavares will be wearing #91, because apparently those horrible and disrespectful non-traditional high numbers are allowed in Toronto these days now that Lou Lamoriello is gone.
(S/T to “The Guru from St. Lou” for the headline, subhead, and introduction. “The Bloated Guy from LI” will take it from here.)
- Komarov spent five seasons with the Maple Leafs, so it will be an emotional game for him. His wife is even making the trip. Also, apparently the Ottawa coaches were livid about the fighting at the end of the game yesterday, but it seemed like the Senators were the ones out looking for blood, so... [Newsday]
- Mitch Marner remembers Martin’s impact fondly. [@ScottWheeler]
- Stan Fischler examines just how Bill Torrey became the legendary GM he was, building a contender through the latter half of the 1970s before he built a consistent champion through the former half of the 1980s. [Maven’s Memories]
- Just in time for the game today, Spizz reveals what Isles fans have done with their old #91 jerseys. My personal favorite is trade them for booze. I’ll be honest though, haven’t had the heart yet to dispose of mine or edit the nameplate. It still hangs in my closet, albeit in the back. Maybe by February 28 I’ll have figured something out. [LHH]
- The Sound Tigers also pulled out a comeback win, with Otto Koivula scoring the winner in the third. [BST | Soundin’ Off live road blog]
- Also returning to Toronto tonight, but not wanting the spotlight? Lou Lamoriello, giving standard quotes to Pierre LeBrun. [Athletic]
Oliver Wahlstrom got Team USA on the board last night as they cruised to an 8-2 stomping of Kazahkstan in the World Junior Championships. Flyers prospect Joel Farabee had a natural hat trick over a span of less than 7 minutes in the first.
Beyond the Bitterness
- The ownership and management of the Dallas Stars ripped into their two stars, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, for their “fucking horsehit” performances this season. Except they really haven’t been “fucking horseshit,” but if they want to get rid of them, they’d look really good in blue and orange. [The Athletic | Deadspin or Sports Day, if you don’t have the subscription for The Athletic | Kukla’s Korner with the Sportsnet panel reaction]
- Brad Marchand recently spoke about how his boneheaded idiocy cost him the chance to play in the last Winter Classic the Bruins were a part of, and that all the family he bought tickets to attend that game scolded him for it. And now, David Backes will have to try to explain the same thing to his family, as he was suspended for three games for an illegal check to the head of the Devils’ Blake Coleman. Guys, stop hitting people in the head, especially before a big game. It’s not really that hard! [Kukla’s Korner]