The New York Islanders will bless us with another game tonight. The Arizona Coyotes travel, for the first time, to UBS Arena at Belmont Park.
The Coyotes are, of course, bad, and probably intentionally so. Relatedly, they also, you’ll remember, made a trade with the Islanders this past summer—they acquired one Andrew Ladd and three draft picks for, as far as I can tell, nothing. I assumed at the time that the Coyotes just took on his contract to get the picks and planned to put him on LTIR as the Isles had.
But the ‘Yotes saw differently. They wanted the grizzled veteran Ladd to contribute to the lineup and the locker room. Ladd wanted to play, and he has: Ladd has suited up for 30 of Arizona’s 38 games, recording five goals and three assists; this is the same Ladd who notoriously could not stay healthy in his time on Long Island (and who, by the end, was probably told to stay away anyway).
His return to Long Island should be interesting, to say the least. I don’t think his time here warranted a tribute video frankly because he didn’t play all that much. But he was in the Islanders organization for five years, so I imagine that there will be some sort of “welcome back” for him. Perhaps the video will include the final 30 seconds of Game 2 against the Lightning in 2020—after all, that was his last game in an Islander uniform.
All systems go. pic.twitter.com/W25Ap5zYLX— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) January 21, 2022
- Keys to tonight’s game, courtesy of NHL dot com slash Islanders and our lovely arena’s banking sponsor. [Islanders] Tonight is Military Appreciation Night at UBS Arena. [Islanders]
- The Islanders have a plan for their new, packed schedule. How packed? After the All-Star break, they will play 43 games in 80 days. That sounds dangerous. [Newsday]
- With the Islanders rescheduled to visit Seattle in late February, Kevin Kurz took the time to delve deeper into Mathew Barzal’s compete level final season with the WHL Seattle Thunderbirds. He overcame mono to help them win the WHL championship. [The Athletic]
- LISTEN: On Island Ice, Andrew Gross offers reasons for hope now that the Islanders have reached NHL .500. He also talked trades and spoke with long-time Isles statistician Eric Hornick, who is celebrating a birthday and his 40-year anniversary of working Islanders’ broadcasts.
- This Day in Isles History: The Islanders beat the Penguins, 6-1, to begin their at-the-time NHL-record 15-game winning streak (1982); Semyon Varlamov’s season-opening shutout streak reaches 1:42:10, a new franchise record, before conceding his first goal of the season (2021).
- LISTEN: And, for even more history, Mike and Dan welcome Kevin Schultz to the second episode of Weird Islanders: The Podcast! Brian Rolston’s linemate, Jay Pandolfo, is this week’s subject. [LHH]
But first, last night’s NHL scores include the Bruins scoring on the power play with 45 seconds on the clock to beat the Capitals in regulation (at least it ended in regulation).
- The good: The Avalanche beat the Kings on the road to extend their point streak to 11 games (10-0-1 over that span). [NHL]
- The bad: On home ice, the Oilers got smoked by the Panthers, 6-0, extending their losing streak to seven games (0-5-2). They actually threw 40 shots at Sergei Bobrovsky, but he turned aside all of them; meanwhile, Mikko Koskinen gave up six goals on 28 shots. [NHL]
- The ugly: The Flyers lost to the Blue Jackets, giving them their second ten-game losing streak of this season—through only 40 games. That’s incredible. [NHL]
Philadelphia's season through 40 games:— Nick Alberga (@thegoldenmuzzy) January 21, 2022
News and bits other than last night’s action:
- Pierre LeBrun provides the Rumblings he has heard recently. Edmonton is exploring goaltending options, the Ducks are taking their time with their UFAs, and so is Claude Giroux. [The Athletic]
- It’s NHL Trade Deadline Big Board Season. Jakob Chychrun, at whom we will get a closer look tonight, tops the list, and the likelihood that he moves is “high.” [The Athletic]
- The Oilers simply look lost. [Sportsnet]
- In the second period last night, Garnet Hathaway interfered with and rode Brad Marchand into the boards, driving his shoulder into the boards. Marchand left the game and did not return. Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy did not like the hit. [Sportsnet]
- Some pleasant surprises from around the league, like Nazem Kadri, Ivan Barbashev, and Evan Rodrigues. [The Athletic]
- Since this might be how Islanders fans will follow their team this spring, here’s a list of the top prospects thus far for the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, according to Corey Pronman. [The Athletic]