The Islanders look to continue their winning ways when they open a three-game series with the New Jersey Devils, who enter the Coliseum tonight at 7:00 p.m. They will have fans in the building to cheer them on, as the Islanders will welcome 1,000 healthcare workers as a thank you for everything they have done to help us through this miserable pandemic. Well-earned, if you ask me.
The Devils have struggled this season, but perhaps not as much as the Sabres have. When you watch New Jersey, you can tell that the pieces and the foundation are there, even if the execution is not. I do not think you could say the same about Buffalo, which is why getting all six points from the Sabres was so critical.
That being said, the Islanders could potentially snag six points from one weaker opponent, just as they did last weekend. The last two games of the series will be in New Jersey, so not as much of a breeze as having three straight home games against Buffalo. But failing to take at least four points from the Devils would certainly disappoint.
- The team site looks ahead to tonight’s contest.
- As mentioned up top, the Islanders will honor healthcare workers at tonight’s game. [Newsday]
- The Isles have already sold out their first seven home games in which they will host fans. Not too many seats to sell, but it still counts! [Islanders]
- Toronto’s rag advocates for Barry Trotz to be named head coach of Team Canada for the 2022 Winter Olympics. In it, Michael Traikos describes the Islanders as Mathew Barzal and a bunch of third- and fourth-liners. Strong journalism, if you ask me. [Toronto Sun]
- LISTEN: Andrew Gross hosts Neil Best, whose voice I strangely love, to chat about the NHL’s return to ESPN; Gross then chats, on his own, about the Isles’ deadline options. [Newsday]
- On this (yester)day in Isles history: GM Bill Torrey trades Billy Harris and Dave Lewis to the Los Angeles Kings and receives back center Butch Goring, The Final Piece of the Puzzle (1980). Also, the Islanders ripped a late-night seven-goal third period to steal a game from the Canucks in Vancouver (2014).
- The Sound Tigers hit the ice and the Providence Bruins blanked them, 3–0. Andrew Ladd played his first game of the season. [Sound Tigers]
- More importantly, though, Michael Fornabaio covered Bridgeport hockey again. Here, he tells a wonderful story about the hardships faced by Tanner Fritz. [CT Insider]
Big day in Bridgeport -- Scoops is in the house. Follow this man for updates on today's BPT-Providence game. https://t.co/hPKPuZQFqT— Arthur Staple (@StapeAthletic) March 10, 2021
Last night’s NHL scores include nothing from our lovely division, but an exciting game out west between the Wild and Golden Knights. Minnesota held on 4–3 despite a late Vegas push.
- The big news from yesterday: the NHL officially announced its return to the Worldwide Leader in Sports. ESPN and Disney secured some of the TV rights over the next seven years.
- As Newsday’s Neil Best put it, hockey is back at the cool kids’ table. Or no longer going out with the safe option. He kind of mixed up his metaphors, but it was entertaining, nonetheless. [Newsday]
- After his Russian politics-induced leave of absence, Artemi Panarin came back to practice with the Rangers. [NHL]
- Predators’ defenseman Dante Fabbro has been suspended for two games for an ugly elbow to the head of Hurricanes’ forward Brock McGinn. [NHL]
- A comprehensive determination of whether buyer or seller describes all 31 NHL teams ahead of the April 12 trade deadline. [The Athletic]
- Speaking of which, Bruins GM Don Sweeney vowed to make changes if his team’s offense did not improve. [NHL]
- Flames forward Sam Bennett, who previously requested a trade out of Calgary, looks forward to a fresh start under new coach Darryl Sutter. Their styles sound like a match made in heaven, honestly, and it would not surprise me to see Bennett rescind his request. [NHL]
- Evander Kane has been involved in bankruptcy proceedings. The Sharks, his employer, have notified the bankruptcy court that they may void his contract. [The Athletic]
- When someone has not played in a year, “it’s hard to turn the switch on.” [The Athletic]
- To the extent you care about these things, the Islanders moved up to no. 6 in ESPN’s Power Rankings.