And we’re back.
Hope everyone had a good holiday break and a good Christmas, if you celebrate!
Wishing you a very merry Christmas! pic.twitter.com/ZPK36YbTBG— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) December 25, 2019
Plenty to catch up on today before tonight’s visit to the Blackhawks. The match-up in Chicago is the first of a three-game road trip to close out 2019.
Chicago is the new home of a couple of friends, but one of them was just ruled out for the season, unfortunately. The other one might be in net, though.
FIGs go here. Puck drop is at 8:30 p.m. EST.
First, the most important news of the break is that Anthony Beauvillier is one bold young man, shooting his shot with Anna Kendrick:
Many folks in the replies tried to regale her with tales of all the heroic things he’s done for them, including old pal Bruno Gervais:
Remember Beau when you saved me from a burning building, cooked me a 7 course meal and taught me 8 languages , that was a great day— Bruno Gervais (@bruno_gervais27) December 26, 2019
- And let’s jump ahead to tonight’s game, and preview that damn thing, as the kids are saying these days. [Islanders]
- The game will be the 3,700th in franchise history, and according to Eric Hornick, it is the most successful 100-game set since the dynasty era. [NYI Skinny]
- The Islanders hope to face old friend Robin Lehner when they drop the puck in Chicago tonight. [Newsday]
- They won’t be able to see Calvin de Haan on the ice, though. de Haan signed a four-year deal in Carolina two summers ago, but was dealt to the Blackhawks this past summer. He will have shoulder surgery that will shelve him for the rest of the season. Brent Seabrook, who will have three surgeries (shoulder and both hips), is also done for the year. [NHL]
- The Islanders are in good position in the tight Metro Division coming out of the holiday break, but there’s still some work to do. [Newsday]
- They also have a pretty tough schedule on the back half. [Newsday]
- Given all that, Arthur Staple has five questions about the Islanders second half, including questions of scoring depth and trade deadline targets and Beauvillier’s Christmas wish. [The Athletic]
- Cal Clutterbuck is going to be out long-term. What does that mean for the roster? [The Athletic]
- Well for one, Andrew Ladd is back and on the third line as Barry Trotz continues to tinker with the bottom-six. [Newsday]
- LISTEN: Andrew Gross delves into Ladd and the excellent snapshot of Johnny Boychuk’s jaw on the ice after Semyon Varlamov’s ridiculous save against the Bruins. [Island Ice Podcast]
- LISTEN: Islanders Anxiety has a jam-packed episode covering a busy Islanders week and they make their choices for their All-Decade Team. [LHH]
- Stan Fischler remembers the Easter Epic. The game was so long that there are multiple parts to the story; here’s Part 1. [Maven’s Memories]
World Juniors Coverage
- It’s that time of the year, folks. World Junior season is upon us, and Corey Pronman will get you primed. [The Athletic]
- We root for the Islanders, and we root for Team USA. This year, those fandoms won’t ever contradict each other because the only two players in the tournament under Islander-control are both on Team USA: Oliver Wahlstrom and Jake Pivonka. [Isles WJC Preview]
- Here’s the rest of the boys in red, white, and blue. [Team USA]
- And hey! The tournament started yesterday. The USA lost to Canada 6-4 thanks to a bad turnover by Rangers d-man prospect K’Andre Miller and an excellent individual effort by projected 2020 no. 1 overall Alexis Lafrenière. Wahlstrom, the top line right wing had an assist and five shots, while Pivonka, the fourth-line center, went 6/9 in the face-off dot. [Isles WJC Tracker]
Monday night’s NHL scores, since there haven’t been any Bits that reflect those games. The Bruins walloped the Capitals in a clash of Eastern Conference titans, while the Flyers blew out the Rangers in Alain Vigneault’s first game against New York as Philly’s coach.
- Among those games was the wild 8-6 win by the Maple Leafs over the Hurricanes. The Leafs led 3-0 early in the first; by the mid-point of the second period, it was 5-3 ‘Canes. Then, they jostled until Toronto took the lead. [NHL]
- Toronto is making its mark in the Atlantic Division, which may only send three teams to the big dance again. [Sportsnet]
- The Winter Classic rink preparation in the Cotton Bowl is “ahead of schedule.” The Stars will host the Predators on New Years Day. [NHL]