Happy New Year, LHHers. Cheers to a new year and a new decade of Islanders hockey. This will be the decade the Islanders move into Belmont, the decade where Mathew Barzal takes over the league, and the decade where the Islanders finally win another Stanley Cup. I can feel it—but I’m knocking on wood, just in case.
The Islanders begin the decade by hosting the New Jersey Devils for a game on national TV. Don’t worry, though. Brendan Burke will have the call on NBCSN tonight.
- Casey Cizikas plugged away to a two-goal game, giving him three in his last two. [Newsday]
- And Cizikas’ game—as well as Tom Kuhnhackl’s game-winner—was kind of a metaphor for the Islanders in the year 2019: just work hard and keep winning. [The Athletic]
Barry Trotz said there was a lot to like and not like about the Islanders’ play on Tuesday:
“It was good to build off of [Sunday] because you don’t want to have one good game and then not build off of that. There’s some things in this game we can build on and some things that we’ll have to correct a bit.” - Barry Trotz pic.twitter.com/jtz8Htem2M— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) December 31, 2019
- Okay, now: let’s preview the thing, shall we?
- Trotz seems to favor Semyon Varlamov for the big games. Tuesday’s third period rewarded Trotz’s confidence; he was stellar. [Newsday]
- Mathew Barzal is excited to be going to his second All-Star weekend, but I think he hopes to be joined by Isles’ Last Man In representative Brock Nelson. [Islanders]
- Speaking of which, the Last Men In polls are open, so vote Brock! [NHL]
- Let’s see how the prospects are doing. [Prospect Report]
- And while we’re at it, how about the Sound Tigers, too? [Bridgeport Report]
- LISTEN: The PTIsles podcast chooses the top five Isles games of the 2010s. [LHH]
- LISTEN: And the Isles Buzz podcast discusses Kuhnhackl’s two-game goal streak. [LHH]
World Juniors Updates
- The USA, with Oliver Wahlstrom and Jacob Pivonka, advanced to the quarterfinals, where they will take on Finland. [Islanders]
The quarterfinals take place today, and USA plays the Finns at 11:30 a.m. EST. Canada plays the Slovaks at 9:00 a.m. Here’s the rest of the schedule:
#WorldJuniors QF GAME DAY!@GMillerTSN, @rayferrarotsn, Dennis Beyak & @CraigJButton have the call for all four games LIVE today on #TSN, the TSN App & TSN Direct...https://t.co/3PTSwVFR94https://t.co/nxq3QCVT00 #TSNHockey pic.twitter.com/W3B8xXoqX1— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) January 2, 2020
Only one game yesterday, and boy was it a doozy of a Winter Classic. Probably the most entertaining one we’ve had in a while. Two minutes in, Corey Perry elbows Ryan Ellis into next year (more on that below) and gets five and a game. The Predators score twice on the man-advantage, which went to a five-on-three because Blake Comeau put the puck over the glass. The Stars get one back right at the end of the second, and then score three quick goals before the first commercial break in the third period to take the lead, which they held to the end.
- Perry’s elbow to Ellis was one of the worst hits I’ve seen in a while, intentional or not. It’s a big deal as to whether the head is the principal point of contact in a hit. Here, it was the only point of contact. Doesn’t matter if it was only an accident—he needs to be more cautious. He’s being reviewed by DOPS.
- The Wild are going to host next year’s Winter Classic at Target Field, where the Minnesota Twins play. [NHL]
- They want to play the Jets because of the geographic rivalry—many Winnipeg fans would make the short drive—but NBC doesn’t seem to want that. The Blues are the favorite as the opponent. [The Athletic]
- Elliotte Friedman goes around the league and sees that the trade market is starting to take shape. Nothing really on the Islanders, though. [31 Thoughts]