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Islanders News: Playoff Previews and Raving About Trotz

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Also, are the Panthers about to seriously upgrade their coaching department, while bolstering their front office with Garth Snow?

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Islanders
This looks choreographed, no?
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Only two days until the playoffs open for business. It feels both far away and right around the corner. It’s going to be an agonizing couple of days, but Wednesday night will be here before we know it.

The players seem to be up to the task before them:

(Mostly Local) Playoff Coverage

  • Once again, folks: here is all of the information we know about the Islanders-Penguins First Round series schedule. Let’s get ready to rumble. [LHH | Islanders | Newsday]
  • The Stanley Cup handoff is a tradition as old as the captain lifting the Cup first. Deciding who gets it first isn’t always as easy as when Joe Sakic gave it to Ray Bourque without even lifting it. Who might get it this year from their captain? [NHL]

It’s preview and prediction season, so without further ado:

  • Here’s how Andrew Gross rates the forwards, defense, goaltending, coaching, and special teams of New York and Pittsburgh, and what his ultimate prediction for the series’ outcome is. [Newsday]
  • Brian Compton doesn’t rank or predict anything here about the Islanders and Penguins; he wrote more of a compare-and-contrast article breaking down the impact players on either side of the puck. [NHL]
  • The NHL’s site did a league-wide preview of playoff team MVP’s that could take home the Conn Smythe. From the Isles, Anders Lee, with Mathew Barzal as a second choice. From the Pens, Sidney Crosby of course, with Jake Guentzel behind him. [NHL]

Non-Playoffs Islanders News, Otherwise Known as the Barry Trotz Section

  • Coach Barry Trotz got his players to buy into a defense-centered, team-first philosophy and turned the Islanders around in dramatic fashion. [NHL]
  • And it wasn’t just about on-ice play; to make this season truly special, they had to buy in off the ice, as well. [Newsday]
  • Even the New York Times wants to climb aboard the Trotz Train: he gets a longform-ish piece in their sports section. [New York Times]
  • Let’s examine Anders Lee’s first season as captain of the Islanders, one which was accompanied by great team success. [Islanders]
  • According to Cory Wright, five games really defined what this season was and what it became. As you might imagine, four of them are from December and January, but it also includes the comeback over the Jets a week and a half ago, because how could it not? [Islanders]
  • LISTEN: I guess this is kind of playoff news, but not just playoff news, because they talk about other stuff, too! But, Mike and Dan discuss the enthralling and surprising regular season and the excitement surrounding the series with the Penguins on this episode of Islanders Anxiety. [LHH]

Elsewhere

  • Sunday morning, the Panthers announced that they had fired head coach Bob Boughner after two seasons, as well as one of his assistants, Paul McFarland. As far as I know, former Islanders head coach Jack Capuano was not let go. Hmm. [Panthers]
  • However, rumors swirl that free agent coach and legend Joel Quenneville is headed to Florida to reunite with GM Dale Tallon, and it could possibly be announced today. [Miami Sun-Sentinel]

And someone else might be taking his “talents” to South Beach, as well. Hmmmmmmmmm:

  • The Sabres also dismissed their head coach, Phil Housley, after two seasons. He led the team through a ten-game winning stretch and then a horrendous second half this season. [NHL]
  • The disappointing season wasn’t a surprise for the Rangers, given the letter they sent to season ticket holders 14 months ago, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t questions about the future. Here are 5 of them. [Newsday]
  • Lightning star Nikita Kucherov wept with joy upon realizing he had passed one of the many Russian players he idolized, Alexander Mogilny, for the single-season points record by a Russian skater. He also followed closely the Red Wings’ Russian Five, and now they follow his game closely. [The Athletic]
  • Was Saturday the last time Florida goalie Roberto Luongo suits up for an NHL game? Nothing is certain, but it doesn’t seem like the 40 year-old is ready to hang up his skates yet. [The Athletic]