Now that the season has been done for a week and our collective emotions have begun to settle, we can start to analyze this past season more conclusively and speculate what the Islanders will look like come September and October.
There are still other playoff games going on in the background, though, and Game 1 of the Western Conference Final between the Blues and the Sharks is tonight from San Jose at 8:00 p.m. ET.
- To the analysis end, Arthur Staple is crafting a series of report cards on the Isles players this past season and he starts today with the forwards. Among the ‘A’s were captain Anders Lee and surprise 20-goal scorer Casey Cizikas. [The Athletic]
- Andrew Ladd’s recovery is “on track,” and he doesn’t think it’s the end of his hockey career, but serious injuries to both knees in the same season, on top of a bad back, could spell the end of his Islanders career. Also, GM Lou Lamoriello blames himself for not adding some of that “pop up front” that Barry Trotz mentioned, and Jordan Eberle wishes the Islanders’ playoff run ran longer, but he was happy to prove to himself and the hockey world that he’s no playoff choker with 9 points in 8 games, much better than his 2 points in 13 games in the 2017 run with the Oilers. [Gross’ this-and-that-style column in Newsday]
- It’s Photo Recap Season as well, and here are the best photos of the season from the very special 2018-19 New York Islanders season. [Islanders]
- And here are some of the best photos from the special Sound Tigers in 2018-19, as well. [Sound Tigers]
- This week’s Maven’s Memories features five great and offbeat stories from the dynasty-era Islanders, including Chico Resch’s procrastination (I can relate to that), Stefan Persson unknowingly eating dog treats, Clark Gillies feeding his dog out of the Stanley Cup, and Denis Potvin originally wanting to wear number 7 as he did throughout junior hockey. These stories are when Stan Fischler is at his best, in my humble opinion.
- Ahead of Game 1 between St. Louis and San Jose tonight, here are 5 keys to this Western Conference Final matchup. Among them are whether or not home ice will matter, the Blues forwards vs. the Sharks defenseman, and their similar styles of play. [NHL]
- These two teams are no stranger to each other in the playoffs — they’re not even strangers to each other in the Conference Final, having met there in 2016. There are 11 players on each team that played in the 2016 Western Conference Final. The Sharks won that series 4-2. [NHL]
- We’ve heard this for years and it has still never happened, but the Predators are once again interested in impending free agent Matt Duchene. [On the Forecheck]
But, this is from when Duchene got sent to the Blue Jackets, because Nashville has tried for years to snag him:
Matt Duchene remains David Poile’s white whale.— Adam Vingan (@AdamVingan) February 22, 2019
- Someone gave Pope Francis a custom Golden Knights jersey with his nameplate on the back and he was quite amped up about it, so you could probably say he’s a Vegas fan now. [Knights on Ice]
- The wife of the late Jason Botchford, Kathryn, penned a letter of “profound” gratitude from her family for the outpouring of support and stories of his mentorship to young writers that has left her “so overwhelmed.” It was a lovely note. [The Athletic]
This Day in Islanders History
Okay, so it would have actually been yesterday, not today, the 11th, but on May 10, 1980, the Islanders won Game 6 at home over the Buffalo Sabres to advance to their first-ever Stanley Cup Final. If you have an hour and half to kill today, I recommend starting here.