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Islanders Gameday News: Jacket fitting, Barzal busting, Vande Sompel rehabbing

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Also: The next decade of WJC host countries is decided.

Columbus Blue Jackets v New York Islanders
Probably gonna rescue an awful Isles performance tonight.

The Islanders are home to the Blue Jackets tonight, it will surely be dreadful and hard on the stomach.

Leave your First Islanders Goal picks here.

Islanders Reading

Tonight marks the first of a very significant Metro week for the Islanders. [Newsday]

Not that I want to talk about this for a third straight day, but yesterday an annoyed Doug Weight clarified that 1) Barzal’s absence from 6-on-5 wasn’t some “rookie punishment” at a critical moment in a pivotal game, and 2) he loves how Barzal has played. For his part, Barzal said he had a bad game and had no qualms about the move to put Jordan Eberle out instead. [Newsday | The Athletic]

“That’s not the time of the game where it’s about accountability, it’s who’s going to score for us?” Weight said. “He just threw the puck away three times on the last power play. We had meetings between periods showing him what’s going on and what we have to exploit. So that’s not a teaching tool, it’s not a young guy, ‘We’re going to teach him a lesson and he’ll be a pro for 20 years.’ If you think that’s what I’m doing, in the 58th minute, fighting for our lives, you got a little bit more to think about, guys.

“That is a point where Ebs, arguably to me, has been our absolute best player in the last month. Smart, reliable, makes plays but gets it in, makes the right play. He’s cerebral, he’s thinking about being above the puck and he’s battling. That’s what my choice is. That’s it.”

  • The Athletic NY launched yesterday with erstwhile Newsday beat reporter Arthur Staple resuming his life of dishing out Isles news, including a reminder that Garth Snow doesn’t say much in his interviews — though apparently he’s never wondered about his job security. [Snow Q&A | Whom the Isles should target at the deadline]
  • David Quenneville is now Medicine Hat’s highest scoring defensemen ever. [Isles Prospect Report]
  • Jon Ledecky is beloved for giving the team money and bringing back alumni and oh yeah that whole “finally getting a building” thing, but if he doesn’t fix the team he’ll be a villain like the rest of them. [CBS NY]
  • Stan Fischler is selecting the top 10 game moments in his life covering the franchise’s entire history, and John Tavares’ first game is #10. [Isles]
  • In Bridgeport, Mitch Vande Sompel is back skating, but only skating, and skating a lot. The Sound Tigers are home to Lehigh Valley tonight. [CT Post | Soundin’ Off]
  • PPP’s take on the optimist and pessimist sides of whether the Leafs could land Tavares. [PPP] Yes, this and others were added to the Tavares Free Agency Encyclopedia.
  • Not Hockey 1:John McEnroe, back at the Coliseum. [Elite Sports NY]
  • Not Hockey 2: Two members of Team USA’s luge squad have a Long Island (and Islanders) history. [NY Post]

Not Only But Also

Dan is back with the third season of the Golden Girls Sports Podcast, featuring the time Dorothy killed her friend on the tennis court. No it’s not hockey, but then, it’s not Islanders either! So: therapy. [Golden Girls Sports Podcast]

Good Teams’ Coaches: They’re Just Like Us!

Following the Islanders is madness. And sometimes that madness drives us to obsess over coaching decisions like they are the only team to behave that way.

But because I followed a Ken Hitchcock-led team (he’s one of the most successful coaches in history) and a Joel Quenneville-led team (same, but more so), I am reminded that no, the greatest coaches do stuff that drives many of us mad. Occasionally it helps to remind myself of this.

So: The final minute of last night’s Leafs win over the Lightning, hanging on to a one-goal lead...

Mike Babcock is generally regarded as the best coach in the NHL.

Elsewhere

Last night’s NHL scores had zero Metro impact, though the Panthers won a 7-5 ‘80s-style one over the Oilers and are kind of creeping back to within shouting distance of the wild card picture.

  • Staple also posted a Q&A with Devils GM Ray Shero, who sounds more entertaining to interview. [The Athletic]
  • Supposedly the Bruins would bid on Ryan McDonaugh...wait, can the Bruins fit in Ryan McDonaugh? [Stanley Cup of Chowder]
  • Despite their avowed teardown, Glen Sather isn’t abandoning the Rangers...which is a good thing I guess? [Post]
  • Everyone thought the Leafs were facing a roster crunch with Nikita Soshnikov’s conditioning stint ending but lo and behold he’s on IR and it’s okay because Lou Lamoriello never does shady things, we’re told that all the time. [PPP]
  • At the Olympics, here’s the slate for today’s women’s games. [SB Nation]
  • Apparently the Statue of Liberty is too political for the IOC. [USA Today]
  • Four figure skating coaches judge the Capitals’ best skaters. [Wash. Post]
  • Justin Williams uses his stick to complete tricks with the Harlem Globetrotters. [Canes]
  • Mike Smith’s groin injury suffered in the waning seconds of the Islanders’ loss to the Flames is possibly not as bad as feared. [Sportsnet]
  • Already missing eight games, Cory Schneider is officially placed on IR. [NHL]