Joe Thornton had been saying for a while that he was staying put in San Jose no matter what happened, but he’s reportedly intrigued about waiving his no-trade clause to go to a contender—apparently, he’s listed the Bruins, the Lightning, the Penguins, the Stars, and the Avalanche as possible destinations he’d waive for. But he also insists he has more hockey left in him beyond this season. Either way, this could be the last time, at least this season, that Jumbo Joe wears a Sharks uniform.
Anyway, as far as the lineups go, there was no morning skate, so who knows what the lines would be. Derick Brassard was doing some work on the ice, but we know he won’t be playing.
Derick Brassard obviously not playing tonight for #Isles. Feeling better but still sore. Puck hit him high on right cheek just in front of ear. Small fracture but he got lucky because he’s got a plate in his jaw that puck did not hit. Said he thought his ear had split open.— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) February 23, 2020
As for the rest of the lineup, well, the Islanders continue to do some curious things with the makeup of their NHL roster. After sending Kieffer Bellows down, on paper, to Bridgeport and recalling Andrew Ladd and Otto Koivula on Friday, they have sent Ladd back down and called Bellows back up.
Bellows did not play in Bridgeport’s game yesterday, and was in the press box Friday. He probably never left Long Island. And this Barry Trotz quote about Bellows is... curious.
Kieffer Bellows watched Friday's #Isles game from press box. Asked Trotz this morning, before this transaction was announced, whether there was any plan for Bellows to play at Bridgeport: "Yeah, at some point. Today, I’m not sure yet. We’ll make that decision in the next hour." https://t.co/ew6SdGhHCm— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) February 23, 2020
Andrew Gross didn’t get to ask Trotz about a goalie, but he probably wouldn’t have divulged anyway. And without the morning skate, we don’t know who skated off first. But whoever is in net will be facing Martin Jones of the Sharks. I wonder if Thomas Greiss gets in today. Semyon Varlamov has played a lot recently, and Greiss spent some time playing for San Jose. Perhaps Trotz lets Greiss go against his former team.
Martin Jones will start for #SJSharks vs. #Isles. Barry Trotz was not asked this morning but I feel safe reporting his response would've been something like, "Yes, we are planning on having a goalie."— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) February 23, 2020
Varlamov has started 4 straight/5 of 6 and made 6 straight appearances
We have no other updates on anything else, but we’ll know in a couple hours who’s playing. Because they’ll be playing. Alright then.
Last chance at FIGs—I’m sorry again for forgetting about them. I feel great shame.