Well, folks, today is my birthday; I am now Anders Lee-years-old. I don’t really know what to wish for, though, with respect to our New York Islanders.
On one hand, we’d all love a playoff run, obviously. But after last night’s regulation loss to the Detroit Red Wings, it’s getting to the point that even a ten-game win streak would only just put us back in the race. If this team gets back in the race, like the New York Lottery says, hey, ya never know. But it is going to require a metric ton of energy just to get there, and that might gas this older squad. Adrenaline reserves eventually peter out and cannot paper over exhaustion forever. The more likely outcome, then, would be that they just miss the playoffs and end up with a lamer draft pick.
So, on the other hand, we could shut it down. Each regulation game lost right now tolls the bell just a little louder. Perhaps the lottery metaphor works better here because then the Islanders would enter the draft lottery, and if they shut it down now, they may position themselves to earn a high pick—maybe even winning the Shane Wright sweepstakes. Man, wouldn’t that be one of the most needed infusions of young talent in recent memory? I cannot think of a better fit.
Of course, asking NHL players to throw games generally isn’t even a question and arguably even less so with the Islanders, who pride themselves on their work ethic and who are coming off back-to-back final four appearances, so the point is probably moot. But we are quickly reaching the point of no return—if we haven’t already—and an infusion of young talent might be the best medicine for this team going forward.
About last night:
- Hard to win when you score only one goal and it comes with two minutes left. [LHH]
- Mathew Barzal did not play, as he was placed in COVID-19 protocol. Barry Trotz confirmed that he entered protocol yesterday morning while they were in Detroit and that Barzal will now have to stay back in Detroit to quarantine. He’ll likely be out through Christmas. [Islanders | Newsday]
- It was always going to be tough with Barzal in the lineup, and since he’ll be out for a little while, perhaps the shutdown I described above actually will come. [Newsday]
- Too little too late, and the Islanders once again wasted a sterling performance from Ilya Sorokin. [3 Takeaways]
- Lee had the six-on-five goal for the Isles, while Dylan Larkin and Michael Rasmussen scored for the Wings. [Rapid Recap]
- With Barzal out, Trotz had to shuffle his lines. But he called out his unproductive right wings, Josh Bailey and Kyle Palmieri, ahead of the game. They did not deliver. [Newsday]
- Oliver Wahlstrom got his third-highest TOI of the season, so at least Trotz is starting to recognize that Wahlstrom is actually a good player whose offensive ability is sorely needed on this moribund team. [NYI Skinny]
- Listen to Barry.
Trotz Postgame Availabilities pic.twitter.com/hTDhHwZkUk— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) December 15, 2021
- The Isles are getting involved in the crypto game, I guess? They announced a partnership with Socios.com. [Islanders]
- Keep yourself abreast of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, who are settling nicely into their familiar mediocrity. [Bridgeport Report]
- One fifth grader's love of New York hockey led to her winning third place in a national science fair. She proposes to make the boards clear. [NHL]
The Isles Podcasts
- They actually had some wins to discuss on No Sleep Til Belmont. Arthur Staple and former Isles coach Scott Gordon also chatted about Anthony Beauvillier’s benching and Wahlstrom’s ice time.
- Mariusz Czerkawski, my first favorite Islander, was the latest guest on Talkin’ Isles.
Last night’s NHL scores include the Penguins winning their fifth straight and the Senators walloping the Panthers on the road.
- Yesterday was the single biggest day of entries into NHL COVID-19 protocol of the season, and the Wild vs. Hurricanes game got postponed as part of that. Here’s a live blog to stay on top of the updates. [The Athletic]
- The league and players’ association have not yet considered pausing the season, but the Olympics seem more and more unlikely. [LeBrun @ The Athletic]
- Ben Bishop teared up as he reflected on his career in his “my playing days are over” press conference. He truly was one of the best in his prime, and he will be missed. [NHL]
- Catching up on some business: Folks have had some difficulty with finding streaming-exclusive games. Also, John Tortorella is on his way to becoming the NHL’s Skip Bayless. [The Athletic]
- For all you fantasy hockey players, here is the list of the top 100 forwards. Barzal is the only Islander in the top 100, but a few others just missed the cut. [NHL]