Today, the New York Islanders do not play a game. They will play the Philadelphia Flyers tomorrow night, though, for the second time in a week at UBS Arena; it will also be the teams’ third meeting in nine days. I do not believe that the Isles practiced yesterday, as there were no tweet drops of practice media availability, so they likely will take the ice later this morning.
Tomorrow’s game could be more than just a random Tuesday night game in late January, however. Keith Yandle, the much-traveled offensive defenseman who this season has been playing for the Flyers, will play his record-setting 965th consecutive NHL game, tying the all-time record set by Doug Jarvis. Yandle tonight will tie Jarvis’ record of 964 consecutive games played when the Flyers host the Dallas Stars.
The Flyers welcoming Dallas tonight means that the Isles will catch them on the second half of a back-to-back. The Isles might also catch them coming in on a 12-game losing streak; right now, their losing streak is at 11 games.
The Clark Gillies Section
Of course, for the Islanders, the actual on-ice hockey has been placed on the back burner over the last few days as the franchise continues to mourn the loss of an icon in Clark Gillies.
Clark’s daughter, Brianna Bourne (for those that do not know, Gillies’ daughter married Bob Bourne’s son), announced on Twitter that the legendary power forward lost a “brief, but aggressive battle with cancer.”
It was part of a long Twitter thread in which she memorialized her father, not for the hockey player he was to us, but for the incredible family man he was to them. I encourage you to read the thread for yourself (right-click this link to open it in a new tab and start scrolling from the top or click on the tweet below, which is the first in the thread, and start scrolling from the top).
As many already know, my father left us Friday evening after a brief, but aggressive battle with cancer. Our hearts are shattered.— Brianna Bourne (@brianna_bourne) January 24, 2022
To so many he was known as a fierce hockey player who was part of hockey history, but to us, he was a man who devoted his life to taking care of pic.twitter.com/WNr74TZTCL
He touched so many lives in his time on Long Island. He is the first dynasty Islander player to pass away (to my knowledge), so we have nothing to which we can compare Gillies’ death. But I cannot recall such a public outpouring of support, love, and mourning after a death in the sports world, especially not for a player who retired 35 years ago. It has been beautiful to see.
I mean, even Ranger fan—but lifelong Long Islander—Boomer Esiason has been wearing his jersey today on the TV broadcast of his morning radio show.
- That massive public outpouring of support, love, and mourning that I mentioned above can also be seen in this piece on the Isles team site, which contains embedded posts from teams, former players, and more remembering Gillies. [Islanders]
- I had included this piece in Saturday afternoon’s game thread/quick bits post, but Mark Herrmann returns to pen that Gillies wasn’t just an Islander—he was a Long Islander. [Newsday]
- He stuck around and stayed involved with the team, and now generations of Islanders have memories to share about Gillies. [The Athletic]
- He embodied the Islanders ethos. [Islanders]
- Gillies’ death has Bob Bourne remembering how he and Gillies, both Houston Astros prospects, both Islanders teammates, and neighbors for 20 years, became family when their kids got together. [NHL]
- Terry O’Reilly remembers Gillies as the “reluctant warrior,” a guy who did not really like to fight but who would absolutely kick your ass if he needed to. [NHL]
- Stan Fischler remembers his favorite Gillies moments, including his takedown of Dave Schultz, feeding his dog from the bowl of the Stanley Cup, and nearly getting pushed in the pool by him. [Maven’s Memories]
- On Saturday night, the Islanders honored Gillies before the game, and the players wore no. 9 patches on their jerseys, patches they will wear them for the rest of the season. [Islanders]
- In case you haven’t yet gotten a chance, you need to read these two excellent tributes to Gillies from our Dan Saraceni. Have tissues handy. [LHH I | LHH II]
About the other night:
- The Islanders, who by some accountings looked like their minds were in other places, dropped a sloppy game to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night. [3 Takeaways]
- They were upset; so were we. [LHH]
Not Gillies and not Toronto:
- After the All-Star break, the Islanders will play 43 games in 80 days, including two separate trips out west in the month of February. Barry Trotz says that he isn’t worried about Zdeno Chara holding up, but it’s a question worth asking. [The Athletic]
- LISTEN: On Islanders Anxiety, Mike and Dan look back on the games this week and try to process the monumental loss of Gillies. [LHH]
- NHL scores from this weekend. [Saturday | Sunday]
- Vancouver Canucks coach Bruce Boudreau talks about his new gig and reaching 1,000 games coached. [NHL]
- This past week, a week in which Martin Luther King, Jr. day passed and the Boston Bruins retired breaker-of-the-color-barrier Willie O’Ree’s no. 22, there were two major incidents of racism in on-ice taunts in the minor leagues: one in the AHL, and one this past weekend in the ECHL. Some people sounded aghast—shocked that the game they love could be so cruel. But Ryan S. Clark reminds us that this is nothing new and that there is so much more work to be done. [The Athletic]