The Islanders were off yesterday and it remains to be seen if they hold a practice at home today or fly out to Calgary to prepare to face the Western Conference-leading Flames.
They won’t play until Wednesday, but starting with that game, they’ll play three games in four nights on the road way out north and west as their final auditions before the Trade Deadline next Monday, February 25 at 3:00 p.m. ET.
For your viewing pleasure:
From #NHL: #Isles, 35-37-10, 80 points last season, on pace to finish w/ 107 points. If so, that would be third-highest year-to-year improvement in franchise history after a 44-point jump from 2000-01 (52) to 2001-02 (96), and a 32-point increase from 1973-74 (56) to 1974-75 (88)— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) February 17, 2019
- It hadn’t yet been available when I wrote yesterday’s Bits, but here’s the NYI Skinny from the Oilers game Saturday night if you’re interested.
- As had been mentioned during the MSG+ broadcast last night, Isles GM Lou Lamoriello says that he’s okay standing pat at the Trade Deadline if that’s what happens. Of course, no one ever knows what Lou is truly thinking. [NHL]
- That would include holding on to all of their expiring free agents, including the first/second line of Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, and Jordan Eberle. The three forwards expect to remain with the club past the Deadline and, in Lee’s case, possibly beyond. [Newsday]
David Pagnotta isn’t necessarily the most reliable insider out there, but he’s not a complete hack either. For what it’s worth:
The NY Islanders are one of the several teams very interested in Ottawa’s Duchene, and have spoken with the Sens about a potential deal.— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) February 17, 2019
- In this edition of the LHH Power Rankings, the hockey world has started to catch on to what the Islanders are doing and praising them for it; the LHH Rankings are also reflective of success. [LHH]
- At the risk of inciting a riot among the commentariat: Josh Ho-Sang recorded a five-point game, including a natural hat trick, in the Sound Tigers’ 7-3 rout over the AHL-leading Charlotte Checkers. He played on a line with Andrew Ladd, sandwiching first Matt Lorito and then Tanner Fritz; Ladd had three assists and fellow conditioning assignee Thomas Hickey had a goal and two assists. [CT Post | Soundin’ Off | Sound Tigers]
- The Railers lost 6-3 to the Tulsa Oilers and it seemed like things got ugly as Worcester was charged with a season-high 51 PIM. But Railers forward Tyler Barnes extended his point streak to 13 games, so that’s a positive takeaway. [RailersHC]
- Larry Brooks at first appears to take issue with how the Coliseum was described in the official statement released by the team announcing the playoff home game solution, and then agrees with it, I think. It’s a whirlwind of a Slapshots column. [NY Post]
- Rob Schremp Hockey’s unprovoked roasting of John Tavares on Twitter on Saturday is making waves around the hockeysphere, getting picked up for a story on Yahoo! and drawing a response from The Hockey Guy on YouTube.
- And finally, if you have 20 minutes to spare, watch this short part 3 of a 3-part Finnish documentary about life as Leo Komarov, starring the man himself and featuring fellow Finn, Valtteri Filppula. It’s great, and he’s quite funny. This portion of the documentary is about his adjustment to the Islanders and Long Island in general. You’ll need the subtitles, most likely, but the post has instructions on how to turn them on. [LHH]
It was Hockey Day in America, and there was an all-day slate of games on national TV to celebrate it. Yesterday’s NHL scores from the festivities include a wild Penguins 6-5 win over the Rangers and the Blues decimating the Wild 4-0 for their tenth straight win; St. Louis’ two goalies haven’t allowed a goal in over three games. That team is an absolute machine right now, and really has to be calling into question the notion that the second round of the Central Division playoffs is destined to be Jets-Predators again.
- The lead-up to the Trade Deadline has been a bit more frantic than in years’ past, largely due to the number of A-level players on the market. [The Athletic]
- Flames GM Brad Treliving spoke to the NHL’s website about his approach to the Trade Deadline, indicating he wants to maintain stability after a slew of major changes to the roster over the last few years. [NHL]
- Down the final stretch of the season, strength of schedule could be an important factor in determining playoff teams and seeding, as well as the Draft Lottery. The Islanders, fortunately, have an extremely average schedule in front of them and are working with a three/five-point cushion for the Metro Division regular season title. [The Athletic]
- Because it’s always good to check in with the record books: let’s see who the active leaders in all the major counting stats are as of right now and where they fall on the all-time lists. [THN]
- Scott Niedermayer joined his brother Rob in Anaheim as a free agent in 2005 and changed the culture with his all-business, winning experience. To thank him, the Ducks retired his no. 27 last night in a pre-game ceremony before they hosted the Capitals. [The Athletic]