Lots of news today, folks. No time to dawdle.
- I cannot disagree with this: the Rangers’ decisiveness this season is enviable, and arguably where the Islanders have failed the last two seasons. [Gross]
- Reports out of Russia are linking Mikko Koskinen back to the Islanders; Staple hasn’t been able to confirm but believes his Russian counterparts. You may remember him as the first pick of the second round in the John Tavares draft, or as a really tall fellow who wasn’t good at stopping pucks in the NHL. Turns out, he was reeeeeeally good at it in the KHL. We’ll see what happens. [LHH]
- There will be a hearing today, in Mineola, regarding the $6 million grant for improvements to Nassau Coliseum for Islanders games. [New$day]
- Elliotte Friedman delves into his NHL Awards ballot ahead of his 31 Thoughts. Mathew Barzal was his choice for the Calder Trophy, of course. Also, he tries to make sense of the clown shoes press conference the Isles held earlier in the week - his sense of it is that Jon Ledecky wasn’t prepared to announce the return of GM Garth Snow or head coach Doug Weight.
- The season finale episode of the Isle Seat Podcast, which Dan referred to as an all-timer on Twitter yesterday. [Isle Seat | Soundcloud]
- The Sound Tigers have one practice remaining in the regular season, and David Quenneville appears set to join them this weekend. [Soundin’ Off]
- Josh Ho-Sang had four points in four games last week, although Bridgeport was mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. [Sound Tigers]
- Kieffer Bellows and the Portland Winterhawks are down 2-1 in their series against the Everett Silvertips; Arnaud Durandeau and the Halifax Mooseheads are on the brink of being swept by the Charlottetown Islanders; and Ilya Sorokin’s CSKA Moscow is going to the KHL final. [Islanders Prospect Report]
- On systems and the trade-offs of NHL hockey strategy. [LHH Fanpost]
- Torgo was able to trade Alexei Yashin’s contract in this edition of Snow Never Came. [LHH]
- And Dan had me rolling at the discovery of yet another statement from Jon Ledecky. [LHH Zeitgeist]
Last night’s NHL playoff scores. The Penguins walloped the Flyers in Game 1, while the Jets and Wild traded leads until Winnipeg got their first playoff win in franchise history (yes, they made the playoffs once as the Thrashers and once before as the Jets, and were swept both times). Also, I saw the Golden Knights score their first goal before I went to bed; it held up as the game-winner in what I’m sure was a riveting Game 1 against the Kings.
- The Hockey PDOcast previews Round 1 of the Eastern Conference Playoffs. I wish I listened to podcasts more. [Sportsnet]
- And Sportsnet’s analytics experts share their playoff brackets.
- The Devils are infusing analytics at various levels of the organization. Must be nice! [The Athletic]
- Maligned - and deservedly so - Senators owner Eugene Melnyk held a town hall meeting with GM Pierre Dorion and fans. He didn’t fare too well. [Sportsnet]
- Speaking of maligned: the Red Wings are bringing back GM Ken Holland on a two-year deal. This analysis describes the move as ‘safe over stupid,’ which, I suppose, is one way of thinking about it. [WIIM]
- Gare Joyce describes, in detail, how to build a perennial playoff contender in today’s NHL. [Sportsnet]
- The Active Stick tells you why should hop on the bandwagon of any of the sixteen playoff teams.
- Tod Leiweke was named President and CEO of the would-be Seattle expansion franchise, on whom the Board of Governors will vote in June. [SI.com]
- Artemi Panarin became an NHL star in spite of the poverty of his upbringing in Post-Soviet Russia. A truly moving story. [The Athletic]
- An excellent, extensively-researched list of the color-barrier breaking players for every NHL team. For the Islanders: Graeme Townshend, the first Jamaican-born NHLer, in 1991.