The home-and-home between the Islanders and Rangers concludes this afternoon in Brooklyn. Kinda surprising they didn’t schedule any Ranger games at the Coliseum - perhaps it’s because the Rangers can’t win in Barclays Center. If that streak continues, I’ll take it.
Leave your FIG picks here for this 1:00 p.m. start.
- All these close wins are giving the Islanders some valuable experience with pulling out wins when they’re not their best, but they’ll need to improve if they want to remain competitive this season. [Newsday]
- But Barry Trotz feels that the Isles are still “a year or two away” from being a year-to-year contender, which, if you look at the roster, does make sense. [Newsday]
- Arthur Staple went on The Hockey PDOcast with Dimitri Filipovic to discuss the resurgence of the Islanders and the Barry Trotz System, as well as the goalies, Mat Barzal, Josh Ho-Sang, and life without John Tavares.
- The two combatants today face similar decisions on their second line centers - the Isles with Brock Nelson, and the Rangers with Kevin Hayes. Each team’s position in the standings certainly affects how the decisions will play out over the rest of the season. [The Athletic]
- The Sound Tigers snapped a three-game winless streak with a 4-3 overtime win at Utica last night. Parker Wotherspoon with the winner. [CT Post]
- Josh Ho-Sang, who had two assists in the win, is ready to help Bridgeport any way he can and agrees with the Islanders’ decision to send him down for a little while. [CT Post]
- Goalie and Railers All-Star representative Mitch Gillam was called up to the Sound Tigers to replace the injured Christopher Gibson right before his bobblehead giveaway night, which is tonight. [Worcester Telegram]
- Stan Fischler recalls the early Islanders’ personalities, including a story about prankster Clark Gillies in which Gillies nearly threw the Maven into his pool. [Maven’s Memories]
- The winners of the Last Men In vote for the All-Star Game are Jeff Skinner (Sabres, Atlantic), Kris Letang (Penguins, Metro), Gabriel Landeskog (Avalanche, Central), and Leon Draisaitl (Oilers, Pacific). [NHL]
- Mitch Marner has announced he will not discuss a contract extension during the season, which will only cost the Maple Leafs more money. I love watching them spin into cap hell. [Toronto Star]
- The Lightning and Blackhawks have swapped depth defensemen looking for fresh starts and late-round draft picks. Slater Koekkoek and a 5th round pick head to Chicago and back to Tampa Bay go Jan Rutta and a 7th. [Raw Charge]
- The Blackhawks and Coyotes are frequent trade partners, but they swear it’s only coincidence. [SI]
- Rick Nash has officially retired from the NHL due to lingering concussion symptoms and on the advice of his doctors to prevent the risk of further brain injury. He led a great career, sad to see it cut short after only 15 years. [The Cannon]
- Ron Francis, former Hurricane and recently-fired Hurricanes GM, has joined a real estate firm in Raleigh. Sounds like his hockey career is over for now - he says he probably could’ve found another job in the game, but would’ve had to move. [Triangle Business Journal]