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Islanders Gameday News: Varlamov’s slow and steady progress

The Islanders make their first visit to Florida’s [whatever they call it today] Arena.

Florida Panthers v New York Islanders - Game Three
Sometimes when I think of the Panthers I think of Thomas Hickey Happy Times.
Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images

Soapbox warning: The reason Lighthouse Hockey has long made a flippant point of [generic bracketing] the corporate sponsor names for opponents’ Arenas, Gardens, and Centre/ers is they’re ephemeral and meaningless, changing over time as the foolish companies that gorge on naming rights go bankrupt or merge or get bought or change CMOs to Innovative Leaders who are determined to Initiate Cultural Change and/or invest their marketing dollars on some other pet interest with a non-zero but difficult-to-measure ROI.

I’m a news and history kind of guy, so it irritates me to my core when historic games that took place in a single unchanged building at a single unchanged address are referred to by three different names depending on what year and what company spent lavishly for that history-muddying right to entertain clients and put logos above exit signs and urinals.

Part of me is relieved that the Islanders dynasty took place before the era when sports teams discovered they could get corporations to join the public subsidization of their operations. Happily, when I flip through old clips of the glory years — which I am wont to do as a sad, static nostalgist — I don’t have to read about the awesome 1980 Stanley Cup winner scored by Bob Nystrom at Bob’s Discount Furniture Garden, before the 1981 clincher at Crazy Eddie Coliseum, which couldn’t rival dumping the Oilers in 1983 at SportsChannel Arena.

When I become U.S. president, instead of leasing public lands to my many friends in the mining industries, I will generate revenue by confusing the hell out of your grandchildren, who will visit Grand Royale Casino Canyon and be disoriented by its eerily similar backdrop to the photos you have of hiking Burger King Gorge. (This is not a political or anti-corporation thing but rather an anti-self-delusion thing; Calling a static place by a completely new and unrelated name just because I paid you to is one of those areas where capitalist and Orwellian dystopias align. That said, I will rename my son whatever you want to call him for $1 million over the next five years.)

Anyway, the Islanders are in Florida tonight to play in a 23-year-old publicly financed arena that was named after a car rental company by a video rental guy, before it was renamed after an office supply chain, before it was renamed after a bank, before it was renamed after a different bank that bought the previous bank, which has since been bought by yet another bank which, through sheer inertia, briefly kept the name that always made me think it was the Bed Bath & Beyond Center.

That naming rights agreement has lapsed, so now the [your brand goes here] Official Home of the Florida Panthers has yet another, generic name — a placeholder until the next corporation brilliantly* “partners” with the franchise. (Where is Brett Yormark when you need some unfounded hype?) Whatever they call the place today, it’s a certainty it will be forgotten tomorrow.

*I of course mean no offense to our valued friends at UBS, without whom none of this would be possible.

FIG Picks

First Islanders Goal picks for tonight’s game go here. Big thanks to Clarence for posting and collecting them; check the FanPosts section to make your FIG picks this season. If it helps your planning, the Panthers plan to start Sergei Bobrovsky tonight.

Islanders News

Asked about the first game, Barry Trotz talked about cheating on coverage, not committing to defensive gaps and angles, and much more. There could be one or two lineup changes depending on “banged up” guys:

  • Specifically, his update on Semyon Varlamov had some Very Barry quotes: “Our timetable is no timetable. It’s when he’s 100%, we’re not going to settle for 98, or 97 ... Then we’ll get him totally ramped up to where we’re comfortable to throw him in a game. He’s making good progress, he looks fine… Right now he’s still in that controlled stage and it’s leaning to getting to that chaotic stage and that holistic stage where he can do different things.” [Isles]
  • Previewing tonight’s game. [Isles]
  • Andrew Gross is following the team on the road, and distilled Barry Trotz’s assessment of what went wrong in Raleigh. [Newsday]
  • Bridgeport opened its (now fully Islanders-branded) season last night with a loss to Hartford. As a preview, Noel provided an update on their many offseason moves. [LHH]
  • Arthur Staple’s thoughts on the lineup and the future after the first game. [Athletic]
  • The Maven recalls dynasty member Dave Langevin, an ex-WHA Oiler who leveled a body or two (hundred) in his day. [Isles]
  • The Isles ECHL affiliate in Worcester was not idle during its pandemic hiatus. [Telegram]
  • Cool gig, as far as telephony gigs go:

The opponent: They are high on Anton Lundell [Miami Herald] And Sergei Bobrovsky is ready for a fresh start after a terrible season. [Herald]

Elsewhere

Last night’s NHL scores include the Devils winning in overtime and the Flyers losing their home opener in a shootout.

  • The Panthers’ previous game was a comeback win over the Penguins, featuring two goals from the Grabner Trade Piece Who Got Away, Carter Verhaeghe. [Litter Box Cats]
  • This was really fun: The history of the Stanley Cup and its many shapes and rings/bands, paralleling the evolution of the NHL. Very fitting that an early Rangers victory is one of the loudest etchings. [ESPN]
  • The Bruins extended Charlie McAvoy for eight more years, for Seth Jones money. [Stanley Cup of Chowder | NHL]
  • Newly signed Brady Tkachuk says staying in Ottawa is exactly what he wanted to happen. [Sportsnet]
  • Matt Murray is already on IR, but it’s for illness not injury. [TSN]
  • Dylan Larkin had a hearing with the Department of [air quotes] “Player Safety” and was suspended one game. [NHL | TSN]
  • The Sabers won their opener but experienced a couple of injuries. [NHL]
  • A very quippy power rankings, with this fun zinger: “I’m all in on the Islanders, and I think they’re gonna make quick work in the Metro playoffs, thanks in part to table-setting center Tristan Jarry.” [Athletic]