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Islanders News: NHL inching closer to possible return, 24-team playoffs

Hockey news and notes for Islanders fans.

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Carolina Hurricanes v New York Islanders
Hey, get your hands off my potatoes!
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Sorry for the delay, folks. Bit of a miscommunication. Hope you all have as relaxing a long weekend as possible.

[Update: The NHLPA has approved “further negotiations” with the NHL based on the 24-team playoff scenario reported earlier]

According to multiple reports, the NHL is inching closer to a possible return to play with a 24-team playoff scenario. The top four teams in each conference would get byes, and everyone else would play best-of-five series. Winners would take on the bye teams in a bracketed set-up. While those play-in series are going on, the bye teams would play each other in round robin games.

As you can see from the below, the Islanders would take on the Panthers if this idea passes. Is that good? Bad? Considering how the Islanders were playing when the season paused, it might be wise to assume that any playoff match-up would be a tough one for them. Then again, who knows what to expect from anyone after two-plus months off.

Elliotte Friedman had the initial story but others have chimed in with more info. [Newsday, as well]. TSN’s talking heads had a discussion about it and Friedman’s 31 Thoughts column talks about the players voting on whether or not to accept the NHL’s proposal (among many other things, obviously). Getting a consensus among 700-something people is never easy, and there appears to be concerns among a sizable portion of the players, per Bob McKenzie:

Too many tweets/Didn’t Read: We’ll have to wait and see what happens. Beyond just the games are a host of health, safety, family and financial concerns that are, quite frankly, overwhelming to think about. We might hear something as early as tonight or the weekend.

In the meantime...

Islanders stuff

  • Ryan Pulock answered some questions via Twitter, about a quarter of which were snarky ones from his teammates about his garden and his penchant for getting dressed waaaaaaay before gametime. [Islanders]
  • What’s Andy Greene been up to? Like a lot of us, he’s busy wrangling a couple of small kids during the quarantine. [Islanders]
  • Bob Bourne isn’t as famous outside of Long Island as his dynasty era teammates are, but not only was he an integral cog to one of the best NHL teams of all time he also forged relationships with that team cannot be broken. Real nice interview here from Arthur Staple at The Athletic. A sample:

The Islander teams got better each year after that, but playoff success eluded them. Two straight semifinal losses the next two seasons to the eventual-champion Canadiens, followed by a pair of crushing eliminations by teams below them in the standings — the Leafs in 1978, on the Coliseum ice in overtime of Game 7, then the Rangers in 1979 — left a lot of the young Isles core wondering if Torrey was ready to change course.

“We definitely thought he was going to blow it all up,” Bourne said. “Lucky for us, he didn’t.”

Bourne also credited Torrey and Arbour for the way they handled his family stress during the 1979-80 season. Jeffrey needed surgery the day after he was born and required a lengthy stay at Syosset Hospital; this was in the middle of a hockey season 40 years ago, when paternity leave for any reason wasn’t exactly a normal occurrence.

“Bill and Al were great. I think I missed 10 days after Jeffrey was born and they gave us as much time as we needed,” Bourne said. “We had a routine, if you could call it that. If I had a home game the next night, I’d sleep at home and Janice would stay at the hospital. Then after a game, I’d go straight from the arena to the hospital and stay over so Janice could get some rest. And they weren’t really set up for parents to stay overnight, so there wasn’t an extra bed or anything. I’d sleep on the floor. I tried to sneak into Jeffrey’s bed sometimes, but the nurses would catch me.”

  • Bryan Trottier will coach one of the teams in an upcoming 3-on-3 hockey league. It’ll be a lot easier to watch him coach this team than the last one he was a head coach for, [Newsday]
  • This was Underdog Week around SB Nation, so we took a look at the many, many times the Islanders defied the odds [Part I and Part II]. Dan wrapped them up by writing about how almost all of Islanders history is steeped in being the underdog.
  • Our friends at Copper N’ Blue talked about some Oilers underdogs for Underdog Week and gave a nod to Jordan Eberle.

May 24th is Sunday

Sunday is the 40th Anniversary of the greatest day in Islanders history. May 24, 1980 was the day the franchise won its first Stanley Cup and the memories will be flowing.

  • Bob Nystrom was “Mr. Islander” for reasons beyond just a certain overtime playoff goal in 1980. The Maven writes a long memory of the man who was here practically from Day 1.
  • Nystrom and John Tonelli recreated their famous Cup-winning goal for an NHL Network special airing this weekend. The league’s network will be playing Cup-clinching games on Sunday starting at 1 pm, as well as two specials: NHL Tonight: 1980 Islanders 40th Anniversary at 7:00 p.m. and Fort Neverlose: The New York Islanders and Nassau Coliseum at 8:00 p.m. [Newsday]
  • Wait! There’s more! MSG Networks will air all four of the Islanders wins in the 1980 Stanley Cup Final all day on Sunday, starting at 2 pm. Here’s a good chance to catch Games 1, 3 and 4, which are harder to find. [Newsday]

Other NHL stuff

  • Contracts that are scheduled to end on June 30th could be extended to the end of this season, whenever that date is determined. But it’s complicated. [The Athletic]
  • Three writers at The Athletic discuss the most dominant NHL teams of all time. The ‘81 and ‘82 Islanders get mentioned but where they land depends on the writer.
  • This week, Akim Aliu penned a powerful piece in The Players Tribune about the racism he’s experienced in his life and hockey career, and how much further the sport needs to go to truly be for everyone.
  • Capitals forward Lars Eller has donated a virus-killing UV Light machine to a 135-year-old homeless shelter in Washington. This thing sounds like some Tony Stark or Wakanda stuff. []

A teaser for the NHL Network special coming up this weekend.