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Islanders Question of the Day: Who’s your all-time favorite Islanders goalie?

The Isles won’t play again for a while (again), so here’s an open thread to go with your news bits.

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Denis Brodeur Collection
Jamie McLennan in a photo dated “circa 1993”
Photo by Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images

With the Islanders facing another long break in between games, we’ll continue our morning news roundup but also add a diversionary topic here and there.

For today I’m curious about your responses to this question, which should draw a variety of responses across generations: Who is your all-time favorite goalie?

If you’re a dynasty or even mid-’80s fan, you’ve seen them all but you also grasp how things have changed. As with head coaches (Al Arbour coached 1,499 of the first 1,764 regular season games in franchise history), the Islanders used to have near-permanent goalies...until they suddenly had a non-stop turnstile at the position.

Billy Smith (who I later loved, but kind of feared at the time) and Chico Resch were fixtures up through the launch of the dynasty. Even after Resch was dealt to the original Colorado Rockies, Kelly Hrudey soon became what was assumed to be the heir apparent to Smith over four-plus seasons in the late ‘80s.

Then the turnstile really began, so younger(ish) fans have a mind-spinning list to choose from: I can utter a stream of consciousness without Google/hockey-reference — Healy, Fitzpatrick, McLennan, Hextall {curses}, Soderstrom, Salo, Fichaud, Felix {cringes}, Luongo, DiPietro, Osgood, Snow, Roloson, Biron, Koskinen/Nilsson, Poulin, Nabokov... — and still not mention even half the names that have come since that time.

Which is part of what makes the Islanders’ current goalie situation novel: They have relative stability in Ilya Sorokin and Semyon Varlamov, who’ve each taken their turns with big moments over the past few seasons. So if you choose to play along today, who’s your favorite of all time? If you had to put a poster of an Isles goalie on your wall, or as a keychain, or jersey, who would you choose?

I...I’m not sure I even have an answer. It would probably be Smith because #badassery, but I was a tyke during his heyday and like I said: Dude scared me. But the list of goalies I had high hopes for — only to be crushed, because Islanders 1988-2014 were mostly like that — is lengthy. I do remember create-a-playering Roberto Luongo in EA Sports to be one of the best goalies in the world after his mid-season callup, but then some guy outsmarted himself and traded him.

Here’s a handy list of all the goalies in franchise history, where you can get your perfect Goran Hotosta groove on.

Islanders News

  • With the team finally trending in the right direction, the break is certainly not ideal. But “it’s the world we live in” now, and they’ll have a chance “to work on quite a few things.” [Athletic]
  • Are the Isles turning a corner? Talking with Ethan Sears of the Post [Hockey Night in NY podcast]
  • What does success for the Isles look like in 2022? [Fourth Period]
  • In case you didn’t get enough Oilers fan ire from yesterday’s bits, here’s more about why things stink there and Dave Tippett is rotten. [Copper & Blue]


Last night’s scores include the Smurfs shutting out the Lightning and the Penguins proving a long break is no problem — they won their eighth in a row after a 13-day break. There’s only one game on the docket tonight, the Oilers visiting the Garden, as two other Canada-based games were postponed.

  • The Flames also returned from a long pause without missing a beat. [Sportsnet]
  • Panthers forward and “repeat offender” Sam Bennett has been suspended three games for a check to the head of the Canadiens’ Cedric Paquette. [NHL | NHL discipline video]
  • The Rangers jumped to a big early lead on their way to shutting out the Cup champs, and continue to answer their doubters. [Post]
  • The Canadiens GM search has begun in earnest, and includes Roberto Luongo. (No chance, right? Surely?) [TSN]
  • James Neal signed with the Blues after a preseason PTO, but injuries for him and health for others has landed him on waivers. [TSN]
  • Some NHL storylines to watch in 2022. Do unsigned veterans go to the Olympics? [Sportsnet]