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Islanders News: Team returns home “fragile” after their 13-game road trip

Is it time to be concerned?

New York Islanders v Florida Panthers
Mayfield might get in more trouble for this one.
Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images

Broken, battered, defeated—all words that aptly describe the New York Islanders at the end of this 13-game gauntlet.

Barry Trotz, in speaking to the media after last night’s massacre at the hands of the Florida Panthers, called his team “fragile.”

The last time he called his team fragile was when he first took over. John Tavares had just left, and the team was fully in flux. This time, though, it’s all in their heads.

The unusual schedule would have been difficult for any team to tackle, but a team that is built around a mindset of The Routine must find it especially challenging. I have resisted worrying about this team knowing that they had yet to play a home game.

But between how they looked last night—where they had a chance to come home above NHL .500 and to finish the trip strong—and then Trotz’s comments about it, doubt about this team’s chances this season has finally crept into my mind. That doubt has only been exacerbated by the rest of the Metro starting the season on a heater, though surely some of those teams will come back down to earth.

Well, now they get to come home and actually stay there for a while; 15 of their next 21 games will be on home ice, starting this Saturday against the hot-starting Calgary Flames. It is sorely needed.

Islanders News

  • Far from returning home from war with their chests pumped high, the Isles will be limping home after that defeat. [LHH]
  • It was over after twenty minutes with the Panthers scoring four times in the first period. [NHL]
  • It was their most lopsided loss of the season. It’s time to go home. [Newsday]
  • Kyle Palmieri finally scored his first goal of the season, but the Isles were down 5-0 at that point. Palmieri didn’t even smile. [Isles Rapid Recap]
  • Once again, the Islanders’ defensive lapses—unusual for them—cost them. [Isles 3 Takeaways]
  • The Isles did not have available Ryan Pulock, who was out with a lower-body injury, and Josh Bailey, who was in COVID-19 protocol. Pulock blocked a shot with his foot Monday night and missed most of the third period; Trotz had no update on him, which seems concerning. Bailey actually tested positive, and he is staying behind in Florida to quarantine. [Newsday]
  • They also lost Scott Mayfield early in the game after he was ejected for a kneeing major that knocked Aleksander Barkov out of the game. Trotz thought, and the replay seemed to suggest, that Mayfield was going for a shoulder check, and Barkov tried to avoid it, leaving his leg exposed. But if the league sees it differently, Mayfield may miss the opener. [The Athletic]
  • Even Eric Hornick wants to go home. [NYI Skinny]
  • Arthur Staple had five thoughts on the Islanders after their loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning Monday night. [The Athletic]
  • After last night, he has only one main thought: The Islanders look lost, something that could not have been said about the Islanders thus far under Trotz. [The Athletic]
  • Robin Salo continues to impress down in Bridgeport. The B-Isles are on a five-game road trip right now and have gone 1-1-1-0 to start it. [Bridgeport Report]
  • 2020 fifth-round pick William Dufour continues to dominate the QMJHL, and he currently sits tied for the league lead in goals. [Islanders Prospect Report]
  • Orange Comet was named the exclusive NFT partner of the Islanders and UBS Arena. One day, I’m going to learn exactly what an NFT is. [Islanders]

Elsewhere

Last night’s NHL scores include the Rangers eking out a win over the lowly Canadiens, the Flyers topping the Flames in overtime, and the Penguins falling to the Sabres.

  • Long-time defenseman and cheap shot artist Dion Phaneuf formally announced his retirement even though he hasn’t played since 2018-19. [ESPN]
  • The Rangers have lost new trade acquisition Sammy Blais for the rest of the season with a torn ACL suffered during a “collision” with P.K. Subban. [BSB | Yahoo]
  • Panthers interim coach Andrew Brunette has managed to lead the team successfully through Joel Quenneville’s resignation, even with a rough stretch. [ESPN]
  • Sidney Crosby said that his Pittsburgh Penguins need to “find some desperation and some urgency.” [NHL]
  • Yesterday, we linked to a piece in which Seattle Kraken GM Ron Francis lamented his struggling defense and goaltending. Today, Davy Jones Locker Room points out to Francis that this is sort of his fault for prioritizing cap space over skill in the expansion draft.