The New York Islanders are set to host the Boston Bruins — one of last spring’s playoff victims, teehee — with the NHL (and the world) facing a new, quickly accelerating surge in COVID cases, just as people are looking forward to getting together again over winter holidays, damn it.
There are big batches of cases around the NHL — and more stringent, 2020-esque league protocols are on the way — but pertinent to tonight’s game (before any additional news today) is that the Bruins will miss both their key tool Brad Marchand and now their star center Patrice Bergeron due to COVID Protocol.
The Islanders, of course, are missing Mat Barzal for the same reason. The way things are going, there could be more by game time.
Speaking of which: Is that Austin Czarnik’s music?
Prelim indication is no Austin Czarnik for Bridgeport tonight. No vets issue; team has reported no one in protocol and no injuries beyond Panik and Dal Colle.— Michael Fornabaio (@fornabaioctp) December 15, 2021
Felix Bibeau appears to return after missing five games. Sam Bolduc and Erik Brown are out for their fifth in a row.
Leave your First Islanders Goal picks here, and do take note of Clarence’s awesome and concise write-up of Anders Lee’s late goal in Detroit and its effect on the FIG standings.
- Previewing tonight’s game. [Isles]
- After a frustrating loss in Detroit, the Isles try to soldier on. [Newsday]
- Recovering from shoulder surgery, Butch Goring is ready to get back in the booth. [Newsday]
- Last night the AHL versions of these teams went at it, with Bridgeport losing to Providence in a five-round shootout. [BP Isles]
- The Isles’ ECHL affiliate in Worcester has had its three-game weekend set postponed due to COVID. [Railers]
Last night’s non-postponed NHL scores include the Capitals tying Derek King’s Blackhawks with three seconds left in regulation only to lose in overtime, #knowthefeeling. This, after giving up three goals in 34 seconds in the second.
I mean...hopefully this wave passes quickly? The Omicron variant is insanely more transmissible, hopefully its effects less devastating and we can get on to...some kind of...normal?
- The Flames’ COVID pause has been extended after 17(!) more were added to COVID Protocol, including coach Darryl Sutter. [ESPN]
- The Leafs and Senators have to drop back to 50% capacity due to new/reinstated measures in Ontario. [Sportsnet]
- “The COVID explosion comes at the perfect time to back out of the Olympics,” one agent said. [32 Thoughts]
- “From an infectious disease and public health perspective...this is a critical situation,” but everyone is in damn denial about the Omicron wave and its potential to overwhelm health systems. [TSN video]
- Call the Wild a Stanley Cup contender? [ESPN]
- Seriously, what are we to make of Erik Karlsson’s resurgence? [Sportsnet]
- The Devils took losing to the Flyers 6-1 as a sign they better claim a goalie who has played on two AHL teams, one ECHL team, and one COVID-slammed NHL team this season. (But seriously, good for Jon Gillies for sticking with it and getting some more NHL action.) [ESPN]
- COVID but not: Justin Bourne on the effects of playing with a short lineup. [Sportsnet]
- The Blackhawks and Kyle Beach have reached terms on a settlement. [TSN | ESPN]
- The WJC schedule is out, starting Dec. 26 in Alberta. [NHL]
- The Oilers are slumping, dragged down by turnovers and their depth players. (Again.) [TSN]