Tonight in primetime, against all sense of normalcy or season, the New York Islanders will play a competitive hockey game.
Sure, it’s just exhibition, and sure, the opponent is just the Rangers, but it’s the first time since March that they get to play a real enemy. It’s their lone warmup game before the best-of-five against the Panthers (wouldn’t that be great if every preseason was just one game?), and they’ll use it to shake the rust and “up the pace,” in the parlance of our Trotzian times.
Tune in locally at 8 p.m. EDT on MSG+, nationally on NBC Sports (U.S.) or TVA and Sportsnet1 (Canada).
And FIG Picks? Sure! Why not, leave your First Islanders Goal picks here. (If you don’t remember the rules, click the link at the top of that FanShot.) Winner gets a free Phase 3 trial vaccine.
- Practice updates from yesterday: Preparing for the real thing, and welcoming Ilya Sorokin. [Isles]
- Sorokin is here to get a feel for things. [Newsday]
- Who better to handle the media availability from yesterday than your captain. [Isles video]
- Forgot what you saw of 2019-20 before the apocalypse cut the season short? Here’s a refresher. [Isles]
- And here’s a look at the concluded regular season by the numbers. Remember 15-0-2? Pretty important to their being here right now. [Isles]
- And here’s a look back, and forward, NYI Skinny-style. [NYI Skinny]
- The PTIsles podcast is back, talking the return, the bubble, the third line and more with James Nichols from the Nassaumen Hockey podcast and Rob Taub of IsleBlog. [Apple]
- Tim Lieweke and Oak View Group have a vision for Nassau Coliseum that includes, naturally, the Islanders playing there next season. [Newsday]
- You know what’s kind of a big deal in the playoffs? Goaltending. [Empire Sports]
- The 2020 Cup could be one of the hardest, most competitive ever. “We’re here to work, not to vacation,” says Barry Trotz, who expects “the purest tournament” we’ve ever seen, since top players aren’t ground down by a whole season of abuse. He also noted it would take 19 wins for the Isles to win it all. Hmmm...19... [Athletic]
- Last night’s NHL scores include...wait...for real! There were (exhibition) scores! A few traditional rivalries including the Battle of Alberta and the Battle of Pennsylvania. [NHL]
- Ethan Bear last night honored his Ochapowace heritage by wearing a nameplate using Cree syllabics. [Oilers | Sportsnet]
- Yesterday’s exhibitions were an initial test run for the game ops crews, too. [NHL]
- Heavens, it’s one exhibition game and already we have “five takeaways” about what it all means because Leafs. [Sportsnet]