The New York Islanders will try to avoid finding spectacular ways to lose tonight when they host the New Jersey Devils. The Islanders are still—still—searching for their first win at their new home. A big regulation win over a division rival just might save the Islanders’ season.
I mean, it might be shot already, but a win tonight could keep the dream alive.
- A preview of tonight’s huge embarrassing failure.
- They will try to win tonight without the services of Anthony Beauvillier, who Barry Trotz is sending to the press box. Between that and his treatment of Oliver Wahlstrom (more on that below), it’s hard not to laugh when Trotz says with a straight face that he doesn’t favor veterans.
Trotz sending a message to Anthony Beauvillier, he’ll watch from the press box tonight. #isles— James Nichols (@JamesNicholsNYI) December 11, 2021
#Isles scratching Beauvillier is certainly justified based on no points in 13 games and a lack of focus on Thursday.— Arthur Staple (@StapeAthletic) December 11, 2021
However, if you want to dispel the idea that you give preference to older players, hard to keep rolling Parise/Bailey/Palmieri out and bench the younger guy.
- But on the bright side, they will have back both Casey Cizikas and one of the only guys who bothered to show up this season, Brock Nelson.
Trotz confirms both Cizikas and Nelson in tonight's lineup for #Isles— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) December 11, 2021
Tells me I don't have to assume.
- Trotz did say that there would be lineup changes tonight. He will deliver on that promise. [Newsday]
- Trotz also said that he hopes that Wahlstrom becomes a top-line forward for the Islanders. I’m not a hockey coach, but I think one way to make that happen is to give him top-line ice time because he is a top-line forward and not giving him the second-least even-strength ice time. I don’t know, just a thought. [Newsday]
- Arthur Staple, in what I’m sure will be one of his last long Isles’ posts for a while, has 22 thoughts on the Isles after 22 games, perhaps a nod to Our Lord and Savior Bossy. They include Kieffer Bellows stepping up of late, Wahlstrom deserving more ice time, and the sheer curse hanging over Kyle Palmieri, who has objectively played well. [The Athletic]
- In that piece, Staple speculates about potential trades. Beauvillier has always been the trade chip in these conversations.
If #Isles are thinking about changes, putting Beauvillier in a possible deal opens up a lot of options -- for a top-4 D-man with term, for an elite scoring wing.— Arthur Staple (@StapeAthletic) December 11, 2021
Lot of teams would be very interested in a 24yo F on a reasonable deal who could score 20-25 goals.
- And James Nichols reports that the Islanders checked in on Jakob Chychrun and Patrik Laine this summer. He also says that the scuttlebutt is that the Islanders may want to make a deal. [Fourth Period]
- Staple also discussed Trotz’s hand in Anatoly Golyshev leaving—something Golyshev spoke about at length in a Russian interview. [LHH]
- Isles’ GM and President Lou Lamoriello was a high school math teacher before he got into hockey. [NY Post]
I want to be clear in stating that I do not believe that the Islanders should fire Barry Trotz. That would be one of the worst decisions this franchise has ever made. But he is not absolved of blame for how this season has gone. Every coach has their weaknesses and blind spots, and Trotz’s have been on full display.
I do think Beauvillier deserves to be scratched because he has been bad, full stop. He is ice cold, not having scored a point in over a month, and the details have slipped from his game. But they have slipped from Josh Bailey’s game, too. Where’s his seat? On the other hand, as soon as Wahlstrom’s game slips, to the end of the bench he goes.
I don't know the inner workings of the team and locker room, but these seem like obvious corrections to make.
Last night’s NHL scores include the Rangers pulling it out over the Sabres, the Penguins knocking off the Capitals, and the Predators beating the Devils.
- Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin are friends now. Dogs and cats living together; mass hysteria! [NHL]
- Jonathan Bernier’s hip injury has the Devils “very concerned.” [NHL]
- The Ottawa Senators waived Michael Del Zotto. I can’t believe he’s still around. [TSN]
- The Senators were bad, but COVID-19 ensured they’d stay that way. The Islanders caught COVID-19, and it basically tanked their season. But the St. Louis Blues catch COVID-19, and instead of folding, their call-ups have stepped up and made big plays. [STL Today]
- I assume while winking, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said that the Arizona Coyotes are not a threat to relocate. He swears it, too. [ESPN]
- Bettman also said it’s up to the players whether they go to the Olympics in February. He didn’t wink that time; he just crossed his fingers behind his back. [TSN]