The time has nearly come. The New York Islanders will open their brand-spanking-new arena tomorrow night against the Calgary Flames, the franchise to whom they will be forever linked thanks to expansion.
The two franchises debuted against one another at Nassau Coliseum on October 7, 1972, a 3-2 Atlanta Flames win and one of 60 Isles’ losses that season.
What will tomorrow night hold? I don’t know, but I cannot wait to get to Belmont tomorrow.
- To replace Ryan Pulock while he recovers from a lower-body injury, the Islanders have recalled top defense prospect, Robin Salo. I’m hopeful that he pulls a Devon Toews and turns into the in-house answer to LD2. [Newsday | Isles DTD]
- Looks to me, too, that Salo isn’t just a warm body—per practice lines, he’ll be in the lineup tomorrow night. How about that: making your NHL debut in your team’s first game in a new arena; a night to remember.
#Isles at practice— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) November 18, 2021
Johnston the extra forward.
- The Islanders hope that Salo fills in admirably. But they still have only two capable right-handed defensemen in Scott Mayfield and Noah Dobson, and neither one of them can do what Pulock does. So here are five options they could choose for this season; calling up Salo was one of them. [The Athletic]
- LISTEN: No chance on that one, Howie! Howie Rose was the latest guest on Talkin’ Isles.
- LISTEN: Ahhhh, feels like home: Mike and Dan brought the “Anxiety” back to Islanders Anxiety. But Carey Haber stops by to tell us what the Isles can do better, based on the numbers. [LHH]
UBS Arena News
- If you’re reading Newsday’s hard copy today, you’ll find a big preview section on UBS Arena. “Well, the danger on the rocks has surely passed. . . .”
- The players may have wanted to come home from their long trip, but Islanders fans are ready to return to a home on Long Island—for good. [NY Post]
- The Islanders practiced on UBS Arena ice for the first time yesterday; it was also their first look at the building. [Islanders | Newsday Video]
- Mathew Barzal, in particular, said the arena “absolutely blew [him] away.” [Newsday]
- The story of how Offside Tavern, an Isles dive bar on 14th Street that shut down during the pandemic, found its way into UBS Arena. [Grubstreet]
- A comprehensive timeline of events leading up to the Islanders landing at Belmont Park. [News12 LI]
- As you might imagine, tomorrow’s game is a hot ticket: Secondary market prices have soared. [Newsday]
- LISTEN: The Isle Seat Podcast chats about the opening of the new arena and the 13-game road trip.
Last night’s NHL scores include the UBS Arena-opening Flames cruising to a 5-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres—Jacob Markstrom’s FIFTH (5th!) shutout already this season. Meanwhile, the New York Rangers couldn’t come back against the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Pittsburgh Penguins waxed the Montreal Canadiens by a 5-0 score, as well.
- Connor McDavid has done it again, this time to an opponent that isn’t that funny to us. But the goal is still incredible.
Connor McDavid is good at hockey pic.twitter.com/UDsEEq2cqk— Mike Milbury's Fight Club (@mikesfightclub) November 19, 2021
- New Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ryan Ellis suffered a lower-body injury and will miss 4-6 weeks, just like Pulock. Top Metro defensemen are dropping like flies. [NHL]
- The Hockey News identifies four GMs feeling the heat right now. Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning may as well be fired already. [THN on SI]
- Meanwhile, Benning did that thing that all really successful people do when things are going really well for them: blame someone else for his problems; specifically, his star players. [Nucks Misconduct]
- That being said, Elias Pettersson has been pretty disappointing thus far this season. He made DGB’s All-Disappointment Team. So did Zdeno Chara—he’s skating on the third pair with P.K. Subban. [The Athletic]