The Islanders visit Newark tonight to close out their two-game set with the Devils. The game starts at 7:00 p.m., right in the middle of the AFC Championship Game.
In fact, the NHL put eleven games on its schedule today, ten of which will broadcast during the two NFL conference title games this afternoon and evening. The only NHL game today that will not air concurrently with football is the 12:30 start between the Red Wings and the Blackhawks on NBC. I am not sure that trying to compete with playoff football will bring the TV results that the NHL so desperately needs this season. But I am not an economist!
- The team site looks ahead to the second half of the home-and-home tonight. [Islanders]
- In practice, coach Barry Trotz sent out Oliver Wahlstrom in Kieffer Bellows’ stead. He might have earned a spot in the lineup for the first time this season. [Newsday]
- Jordan Eberle has been a notoriously slow starter during his time on Long Island, but two goals Thursday night means he wants to break that spell. [Newsday]
- VIDEO: Watch the Isles practice. [Islanders]
- VIDEO: And listen to the wise Barry Trotz. [Islanders]
Ryan Pulock appeared on NHL Tonight.
Last night’s NHL scores include the Blue Jackets handing the Lightning its first loss of the season, the Bruins dominating the Flyers 6–1 to complete the two-game sweep, and the Canadiens continuing their surge to 4–0–2 with a 5–2 victory over the Canucks.
- So, Pierre-Luc Dubois and a third-round pick went to the Winnipeg Jets, and Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic went to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Two GMs dumped their problems on one another. I am certain it will be successful for both sides in the long run. [The Cannon (CBJ) | Arctic Ice Hockey (WPG)]
- Dubois harbors no blame for Columbus coach John Tortorella, or so he says. His answer failed to convince me, but that is what he said. [NHL]
- Meanwhile, the trade, which clearly favors the Blue Jackets, will only remain successful for Columbus if they can persuade Laine to stick around beyond this season. When his contract expires, he will be only an RFA, but they need to sign him long-term. [NHL]
- VIDEO: The Hockey Night in Canada gentlemen broke down the trade and discussed, among other things, the Maple Leafs’ desire to add a forward to replenish their injury-depleted unit. [Sportsnet]
- Larry Brooks felt crotchety and went off on Alex Ovechkin, the Panthers’ 1996 run to the Stanley Cup Finals, and the NHL’s contingency plans—or lack thereof—for the rest of the season and the playoffs. Also, Neil Smith works for UBS now, I think. [NY Post]