Training camp officially begins today and the players will be on the ice Thursday for us to ruminate and pre-panic over line combos and such...except that the Islanders’ lines are pretty much set and everything is as Lou designed.
It’s an exciting time: The Islanders are coming off back-to-back conference finals runs where they were the Cup winners’ biggest test, expectations are high, their captain is back, and they’ll be in a new arena in November.
It’s also a nerve-wracking time: The win-now team is another year older, their two big offseason additions are far past their prime, and the odds of making a third consecutive final — let alone getting over the hump to progress farther — are daunting.
But damn it’s a loveable group that gives its all. And they’ve got Barry on the bench.
Anyway, as a camp warmup, Lou Lamoriello spoke to media yesterday and said mostly predictable Lou kinds of things.
- Lou presser: “The fire is the same every training camp and the aspirations are the same each and every year.” He said everyone is healthy (e.g. Lee, Pageau after surgeries) and confirmed the Erik Gustafsson PTO, Corey Schneider re-signing on a two-way, and Michael Dal Colle and Kieffer Bellows being in camp and signed. Here’s the audio. [Isles]
- Zdeno Chara was the latest in Lou’s summer of righting wrongs, which was cause for Dan and Mike to reflect on another chapter in the story, as well as concerns about how much the old man can provide. [Islanders Anxiety podcast]
- The Chara signing: A surprising full circle to be sure. [Athletic | Isles]
- Dave Scatchard recalls the first go-around with Chara as an Islander. Big shot, not much aim. [NYI Hockey Now]
- Five questions on the eve of Isles camp. [Newsday]
- They of course aim to be Cup contenders again. [Fourth Period]
- A bit about the recent Bridgeport additions (and a couple of re-signings). [CT Post | Isles]
- Big results from the golf event benefiting the Islanders Children’s Foundation. [Story | Photos]
- LIRR eastbound Hempstead branch customers can use the new Elmont Station for service to the new Arena starting in November 2021. Westbound platform opens in 2022. [LIRR]
- This could be like any time in the last 20 years or so:
- One of the last big RFA holdouts, Kirill Kaprizov has re-signed with the Wild for five years, an AAV of $9 million, buying out arbitration years and a couple of UFA years. [NHL | Hockey Wilderness]
- It’s a new season, which means a fresh batch of now-32 Thoughts. He talks about everyone’s optimism, excitement for fans being in person, and more. [Sportsnet]
- One of the voices long associated with the game, announcer Jim Hughson retires after 42(!) years. [Rogers Sports | NHL]
- The Coyotes finally returned to their Kachina look. I can’t believe it’s been almost 20 years since they abandoned it. At the time, it was one of those shortsighted marketing moves that I knew they would eventually reverse — like the Flames, Oilers, Isles and so many other teams that abandoned their identity — but I guess a lockout and RBK Edge and various other distractions made it take a good long while. [Icethetics | Sportslogos | ESPN]
- Devils fans on the retirement of Islanders playoff great and one-time Devil Travis Zajac. [All About The Jersey | ESPN]
- Kevin Hayes will miss 6-8 weeks with abdominal surgery recovery. [NHL]
- Somehow the Blue Jackets signed Zac Rinaldo just a month ago but maybe didn’t ask, “Oh by the way are you an anti-vax kind of guy?” So he’s not allowed to camp unless he changes. [TSN]
- One question for every team. (Spoiler: The Islanders one is about Noah Dobson’s role/minutes.) [Sportsnet]
- The Blues re-signed their last holdout, Rob Thomas, for two years, $2.8 million AAV and a lifetime supply of Matchbox 20 b-sides. [NHL]