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Islanders Gameday News: Home opener sans pomp, circumstance, tailgating

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The Islanders look to bounce back as they start their home slate.

New York Rangers v New York Islanders
Years later, there will be 5, maybe 10 people who claim they were there.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

It’s the moment we all look forward to each fall...the Islanders home opener!

Not going to lie: I’m still experiencing a strange mix of feelings about the NHL season, given the personal and societal stress and general heartache and weirdness the pandemic has wrought. I want to be really excited, and in some ways I’m excited, but there’s still a tinge of unreality to it all.

But I’m mostly dealing with it. I appreciate the need or desire for diversions, for escapes, and for returns to “normalcy” even if nothing is really normal right now...which is why I think today’s home opener gives me the most mixed feelings of all. I almost wish they didn’t call it a “home opener,” since every game feels like a sterile neutral site affair right now.

And honestly, if fans are allowed back in decent numbers at some point this season? That’s when it’s going to feel like a proper, festive atmosphere for an opener.

But anyway, the Isles get to kick things off at the Coliseum tonight at 5 p.m. Leave your First Islanders Goal (or shutout) pick here.

Islanders News

  • Previewing this evening’s game. The Isles were off yesterday, so any hints about Semyon Varlamov’s health or lineup changes reacting to Saturday’s blowout are TBD today. [Isles]
  • The Isles need to cleanse the bitter taste from that fiasco. [Newsday]
  • Andy Green reflects on the year since he was a trade deadline acquisition: “It’s only been what 10 or 11 regular season games since I’ve been here? And it’s been almost a calendar year. It’s been crazy, but it’s a great team.” [Isles]
  • Trying to keep up connections with fans, the Isles held a drive-through merchandise giveaway at the site of the new arena. [THW]
  • The Islanders salute Teacher of the Month, Kenya Bowman. [Isles]
  • Maybe the Smurfs should always start Alexandar Georgiev against the Isles, he’s had the best luck. [Post]

Everywhere

Just two NHL scores yesterday (I guess there was football going on?), with the Penguins beating the Capitals in a shotout.

  • Keith Yandle’s ironman streak did not end, and in fact he scored his 100th goal in the Panthers opener. [TSN]
  • Jason Spezza is on waivers as part of Leafs cap maneuvering and his agent warns he’ll simply retire if another team claims him. [Sportsnet]
  • Patrick Laine is a question for the Jets after leaving practice yesterday. [NHL]
  • Government arrests of dissidents in Belarus has its role as World Championship co-host at risk of being pulled. [TSN]