Well well well, the New York Islanders won another home game, their second in a row at home. That was fun—I saw my first win at UBS Arena, and it was nice to sing Maxine again. Sure, it was against a Boston Bruins team missing two of its best players and other important depth pieces and a full roster entirely. And sure, Semyon Varlamov had to make 40 saves to do it. But as Jenny said last night, we’ll take ‘em where we can get ‘em.
As COVID-19 continues to spiral throughout the league, the league continues to spiral in its handling of COVID-19 protocols. To wit:
You know, I think I take for granted sometimes that this whole thing is a business run by business people, i.e., not the best governors. There’s nothing democratic about the NHL, but you would at least like to see the same standards applied league-wide. Apparently, even that’s too much.
Yes, it’s an ever-evolving situation, dealing with COVID-19. But for the love of God, if you’re the NHL, just take the action yourself. Don’t even create the possibility for something like this to slip out and just cancel the game on your own.
Anyway, onto the fun stuff.
About last night:
- Can’t feel too bad for the Bruins; we’ve been there before. Good for Anthony Beauvillier, who scored on the power play for his first goal in 14 games; the goal ended up as the game-winner. [LHH]
- Varly was definitely the 1st Star of the Game, though. [NHL]
- It was a businesslike win for the Islanders, according to Barry Trotz. They looked like themselves a little bit. [3 Takeaways]
- Cal Clutterbuck put in the empty-netter for his second goal of the night. [Rapid Recap]
- Their record over the last eight games is actually pretty encouraging, and they have won 3 of their last 5. Still not enough to get back in the race just yet, but they’re improving. [Newsday]
- Not a bad way for Varlamov to earn his first win of the season. [NYI Skinny]
- Trotz’s insight:
“The Identity Line was playing to their identity, they were physical today and got rewarded.”— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) December 17, 2021
Trotz ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/TT7TrNLv1j
- Kevin Kurz is officially on the Islanders beat for The Athletic. Joining a new beat mid-season is tough, so rather than fake it or force it, he went around the league to get some perspectives on the Isles’ brutal start—a State of the Islanders address. [The Athletic]
- Meanwhile, Pierre LeBrun sat down with Lou Lamoriello to get his perspective on how the season has gone. No excuses, he says, and certainly not giving up hope yet. [The Athletic]
- The message from Trotz was difficult to hear, but Beauvillier heard it. [Newsday]
- The Isles called up Austin Czarnik ahead of the game. [Isles DTD]
- Trotz misspoke earlier in the day yesterday; not all the Isles have gotten their booster shots, but the Isles continue to offer it to them and encourage them to get it. [Newsday]
- Everything is contactless at UBS Arena, at least when it comes to paying, thanks to Fiserv, the new fintech partner of the Islanders. (Am I using fintech correctly? You can yell at me if not.)
Last night’s NHL scores include everyone in the Metro Division losing except the Hurricanes; the Flyers also got a point, but they lost to the Canadiens, who snapped a seven-game losing streak. Also, the Oilers beat the Blue Jackets to snap their own six-game skid.
- The NHL and NHLPA announced enhanced COVID-19 protocols, but are they enough? And where does the league go from here if COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere? [The Athletic]
- NHL 3-on-3 overtime was exciting when it first came in; then, the coaches got their hands on it. Here’s how we can fix it. [E$PN+]
- The Bruins are supposed to face the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday, but Habs winger Jonathan Drouin has reservations about playing a team going through an outbreak. [Sportsnet]