WELL, here we are, folks. This blasted game is finally upon us. Some of us can’t wait for it; others of us can’t wait for it to be over. And I suspect there’s some more of us for whom the Venn diagram overlaps. Whatever the case may be, wherever it is you fall on the diagram, it is time to face it and embrace it and then we can all move the hell on with our lives.
Let’s have some fun, though, shall we? Leave your FIGs for tonight’s game here.
- The Islanders care more about the points they need in the standings tonight than they do the return of John Tavares. That’s a good attitude to have. [Newsday]
- Some of the players were displeased with the video posted by News12LI that embarrassed most Islanders fans even before it made them the butt of jokes all over the internet. But beyond that, it’s just a game and they need to win. A good attitude to have. [The Athletic]
- The fans are setting up what figures to be an unforgettable game, unable to wait to voice their displeasure with Tavares. Also a good attitude to have. [Sportsnet]
- Because that’s the point: there’s no right or wrong way to handle this as fans, writes Dom in one of the best editorial pieces this site has ever seen. (Okay, besides throwing things on the ice toward players; don’t be that asshole. It’s dangerous and could cost the Isles a penalty.) [LHH]
- Tavares, for what it’s worth, seems to be prepared for a shellacking of boos and vulgarity. Hopefully, he’s rattled. [Sportsnet]
- NEW! He also seems aware of the fact that he can’t change people’s minds about what happened. Only time can. [Sportsnet. Dan here. This is a really disappointing article by a usually good reporter in Chris Johnston. It’s like the two-year run up to free agency and all the “I want to stay” stuff never happened. Conversely, I had an email exchange with Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun where I made that all perfectly clear again. And they still spelled my name wrong. sigh ]
Get pumped up for tonight with this clip, presumably put together by Nick Persaud, the user who posted it:
- The Islanders were supposed to practice yesterday, but coach Barry Trotz scrapped it in favor of video sessions and mental focus time. [Newsday]
- The story of how Trotz transformed the Islanders to become the season’s surprise success story. [Sports Illustrated]
- His achievement has him in the lead for the Jack Adams at the three-quarters pole. [NHL]
- LATE ADD: Carey points to what’s next for the Islanders after the Trade Deadline. [LHH]
- The writers at The Athletic did a piece where they all wrote a little blurb about the best game they ever covered, and Katie Strang wrote about Fight Night 2011 against the Penguins, which she covered for Newsday. 346 penalty minutes! Some other great stories in there, as well. [The Athletic]
- Railers defenseman Ivan Chukarov left no. 2-ranked UMass on February 19 to sign with Worcester because he wanted more playing time. [Telegram]
- VIDEO: Follow Tom Matthews, the Railers’ PR and social media coordinator, during his Tuesdays with Tom segment. This edition features a partial renovation of the school library of Vernon Hill Elementary in Worcester, MA.
- RendezVous LeBreton, the development project that would’ve given the Senators a new arena in downtown Ottawa, is now officially dead. Eugene Melnyk may be one of the worst owners in professional sports history. [Silver Seven]
- Life is not good as a Senators fan right now, between the death of LeBreton Flats and the team selling off its parts for scrap. [Sportsnet]
- The Penguins are hurting right now, and face a big test in the wake of a few injuries. [NHL]
- Tyler Dellow breaks down why the middling Blackhawks team’s power play is so strong, while the top-10 Predators club’s struggles. [The Athletic]
- Mats Zuccarello brought innocence back to hockey. [Blueshirt Banter]
- Daniel Carcillo has been on a crusade to bring attention to and ultimately end head contact and league-driven injustice in contact sports, hockey especially, since it was the game he played. But it’s come at a price, as voicing your opinion often does. [The Athletic]