Without any of us even realizing it, this may have been one of the most monumental weeks in Islanders history. It hasn’t been any one thing or any thing huge, where each individual event would make you say the franchise has changed.
But you look at what’s gone on since last Friday: the John Tonelli retirement, acquiring and signing Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who filled one of the biggest holes on the team, nearly making a huge swap for Zach Parise, yesterday’s news about the Coliseum, and today’s retirement of Butch Goring.
We’ve been aware all along that this team is in much different hands than it was for most of our lifetimes—it feels so different to root for a team that cares about winning and cares about its fans, and its history. The former one is always the biggest draw to any sporting event and it’s simply the goal that we’re all after as sports fans. But the latter two keep everyone around.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that being a fan of the Islanders always felt like a hopeless endeavor to me. But now, with this ownership group and this management group, there’s hope.
FIGs can go here. 1:00 p.m. puck drop today. Happy Leap Day!
First of all, let’s preview today’s matchup with the top team in the East, the Boston Bruins. It’s not in here, but might we get home whites again with the ceremony? Some more info about the ceremony and game are below.
First we lift #️⃣9️⃣1️⃣, then we take on the Bruins.— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) February 29, 2020
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- This week’s Maven’s Memories column is all about the man of the hour, Butch Goring. Today’s ceremony should be fun.
- He truly has become an Isles Lifer. He only played 5 seasons with the club, but he’s been around the organization in a variety of roles over the last 30-or-so years and has become synonymous with the Islanders. [Islanders]
- As such, he’s become much more than just the “final piece” of the Stanley Cup champion and eventual dynasty Islanders. [LHH]
- As the above blurb hints, the Islanders are going to spend all of this year’s playoffs, all of next regular season, and and all of next year’s playoffs at the Coliseum—Governor Cuomo is coming down today to announce it. The Islanders’ last three games at Barclays Center will be this March. [LHH | Newsday]
- The Islanders’ biggest problem this season has been depth in the face on injuries—when Barry Trotz doesn’t have his best lineup to dress, he leans on his regulars and it can take a toll. [The Athletic]
- The Islanders assigned Josh Ho-Sang to the San Antonio Rampage, currently the AHL affiliate of the Blues. It gives St. Louis a chance to kick the tires on him and pretty much spells the end of his time in the Isles organization once this season is over. He scored for his new team last night. [LHH]
- The Sound Tigers played in Springfield last night, with Oliver Wahlstrom playing on a line with Kieffer Bellows. [Soundin’ Off] They won 6-3 after an excellent second period. Thomas Hickey had three assists, Wahlstrom had a goal, and Bellows had two goals in his first game back in Bridgeport since returning from Long Island. [Sound Tigers]
Last night’s NHL scores couldn’t have gone better for the Islanders. The Flyers trounced the Rangers in regulation, 5-2; the Blue Jackets got waxed at home, 5-0, by the Wild; and the Hurricanes conceded the lead to the Avalanche with less than three minutes left and walked away with no points. For added fun, the Penguins also lost to the Ducks in regulation, their fifth straight regulation loss. Philadelphia has moved into second in the Metro.
- To make things more interesting, Chris Kreider suffered a broken foot in the first period of the Rangers-Flyers game. No word on his timetable. [NHL]
- Oilers’ deadline acquisition Mike Green will miss the next 3-4 weeks with an MCL sprain suffered Wednesday night against the Golden Knights. [C&B]
- But fellow Edmonton deadline pickup Andreas Athanasiou, who left the same game with a lower-body injury, appears to be okay and will be in the lineup tonight. [Edmonton Journal]
- Ho-Sang’s new team, the Rampage, will be relocating after this season to the Las Vegas area to become the Golden Knights’ new affiliate. [AHL]
- The Senators are in a unique position: they have only nine players signed for next season and more than $20 million to make up to get to the cap floor, all while stockpiling picks and prospects. They have only 3 guys left from the 2017 Eastern Conference Final team still on the roster, and two are pending UFAs. [TSN]