The Blue Jackets are back at the Coliseum tonight for the second time this season; you’ll remember that the first time they were there was the first game back at the Coliseum in three and a half years, a game that Columbus briefly led 2-0 before ultimately losing 3-2 to the crowd-jolted Islanders. That was a fun game to be at.
This time is different, though. All the games matter to some degree, but that was December 1, and the standings were an afterthought; this is March 11, and every game is crucial in the standings as numerous teams, these two included, jockey for positioning. Also, the Blue Jackets are sporting an overhauled roster that now includes forwards Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel, defenseman Adam McQuaid, and goalie Keith Kinkaid. They’ve still got sourpuss John Tortorella, though. Leave your FIGs here.
- The Isles haven’t really had the home ice advantage at the Coliseum we all expected them to have, especially over this run of homestands. Coach Barry Trotz and Jordan Eberle acknowledged that they need to give us something to cheer for, but Trotz hopes we stop booing (for what it’s worth, I don’t like booing my own team, but Saturday night was brutal to watch and I couldn’t help it). [Newsday]
Trotz spoke to the media following today’s practice (tweet below, link here if you’d prefer to watch/listen in a separate tab):
- In light of Johnny Boychuk’s injury, as well as Tom Kuhnhackl proving he shouldn’t be an every day NHLer, Andrew Ladd and Thomas Hickey now have their chance to show they belong in the nightly lineup. [Newsday]
- Speaking of Boychuk’s injury, Jakub Voracek was suspended two games for the hit that caused it. [NHL]
- Here’s a large collection of all the stories told by former Islanders about legendary GM Bill Torrey that is worth all of your time on your coffee or lunch break. For example, he once fought a stranger on the streets of Boston for tripping former goalie Chico Resch on his way to the team bus. What?! [Islanders]
- The Sound Tigers were in Toronto yesterday to take on the Marlies, and managed to squeak out a 3-2 win in the shootout thanks to 40 saves from goalie Jeremy Smith. [CT Post pregame | Sound Tigers site postgame]
Also, Josh Ho-Sang made this happen in his hometown in his first game back with Bridgeport:
Yesterday’s NHL scores include the Capitals beating the Jets 3-1, despite getting outshot 34-18, to move four points ahead of the Islanders for the top seed in the Metro Division. Also, the Penguins defeated the Bruins in regulation to snap Boston’s point streak at 19 and put themselves back into third in the division, only two points behind the Isles. New York has a game in hand.
- Sabres center Jack Eichel was also suspended two games for making contact with the head of Avalanche forward Carl Soderberg. [NHL]
- The Lightning, who, by the way, clinched the playoffs the other night a month (a MONTH!) before the season ended, look unbeatable as the playoffs near. Can anyone knock them down? That and more in the Down Goes Brown Grab Bag. [The Athletic]
- Hockey Hall of Fame and Norris Trophy winning defenseman Harry Howell has passed away at the age of 86. He still is the all-time leader in games played for the Rangers with 1,160. He earned a Stanley Cup ring as a scout with the 1990 Oilers. [NHL]
- Matt Cullen, drafted by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 1996, became the 20th player in NHL history to reach 1,500 games. He’s not the only one of the 20 that isn’t a likely Hall of Famer, but he has the unique distinction of being the only one that’s a true journeyman. [The Athletic]
- You may remember the story of 13 year-old Ty Cornett, a youth hockey player from Michigan bullied even by parents for the color of his skin. P.K. Subban sent him a personal video message when the news first broke. Over the weekend, Red Wings prospect Givani Smith, of the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins, invited Cornett and his family as his personal guests to a Griffins game and spent time hanging out with them after the game. [Yahoo! NHL]
- Wanna see some of the weirdest and wildest haircuts in hockey? Check out these ‘doos from the Minnesota boys’ high school hockey tournament. Good gravy. [ESPN]