The big NHL news last night was the results of the Lottery: Part II, where eight teams eliminated from the qualifying round were in the running for the top pick. As you surely know, the Rangers somehow won it. They’ll get to pick Alexis Lafreniere, who will make lots of money.
Meanwhile, 16 teams have playoff series to think about, including our beloved Islanders. They begin the first round with Game 1 on Wednesday at 3 p.m. EDT.
- Barry Trotz isn’t ready to bring in a psychologist to coax more offense from his top trio of Mathew Barzal, Anders Lee and Jordan Eberle as the Islanders prepare to face the Capitals. [Newsday]
- Noel looked back on the playoff history between the Isles and Caps, which has had memorable moments and swung back and forth. [LHH]
- Full availability from Trotz in this video: “I’ll take the mindset [Mathew Barzal] had in Game 4. He wasn’t wasting energy, trying to do everything. He was being efficient, he was being fast, and he had the puck more.” Trotz also talked of the possibility of Johnny Boychuk and Ross Johnston appearing.
- On the latest PTIsles podcast, Joe and Rob reviewed the victory over the Panthers and discussed the next obstacle. [LHH]
- Arthur Staple says finding the right D pairs (even if it means sitting a trusty regular) is one of the Islanders’ X-factors to matching the Capitals. [Athletic]
- The Islanders are looking forward to the matchup. [Post]
- Craig Custance at the Athletic returns to his anonymous scout, executive and coach to make picks for the conference quarterfinals. Says the coach:
“(Todd) Reirden is fine but this is like a chess master vs. his student. It’s like Mr. Miyagi vs. Ralph Macchio,” said the coach. “The Islanders are really well structured. They force you to do things you don’t want to do. If their PK is tight, they’re going to win. I just think, Washington, they seem ready to implode. I don’t know why, I’m probably going to be wrong but I think Islanders win this one.”
- As expected, Dale Tallon and the Florida Panthers have parted ways. Can’t believe he was at the helm for 10 years — basically since the first Hawks Cup he helped his old team win despite running into fax troubles. [NHL | AP]
- Fresh off the relief of eliminating the Leafs, John Tortorella defended their coach Sheldon Keefe, his former player, amid the usual Toronto knives-out blamefest. [NHL]
- Criticism from the likes of Steve Simmons, who pointed out Tavares’ track record since choosing the team that matches his sheets. [Sun-rag]
- And more measured from Sportsnet, where they say SOME kind of change is surely coming in Toronto. [Sportsnet]
- The Wild, ousted from the play-in and an afterthought in the lottery, are not committed to either of their goalies. [NHL]
- The NHL’s weekly announcement of COVID-19 testing results again yielded no positive results. Either they’ve got the bubble concept down pat, or Dick Pound is going to come flying in and tell us the real story here. [NHL]
You Were So Close
This probably doesn’t make you feel any better but...maybe a little better?