The New York Islanders host another team borne out of Gary Bettman’s forays into previously untapped hockey markets. First, from the American southeast, the Florida Panthers came to town. Then, from southern California, the Anaheim Ducks flew into UBS Arena. Tonight, we will see Bettman’s northern California team, the San Jose Sharks.
The 2022-23 season has presented rough seas for these 0-4-0 Sharks, at least so far. They opened the campaign by dropping both halves of a two-game set against the Nashville Predators in Prague. Then, they returned home and lost twice more. The Carolina Hurricanes beat the Sharks in the latter’s home opener Friday night, and then the Chicago Blackhawks, of all teams, came in on Saturday night and kicked them in the teeth.
To echo a recent Islanders Anxiety, this season feels like six months of playoffs. When you host a second team in a row that is not good and is playing its first game since flying across the continent, you need to win those games. What I’m saying is that tonight’s game, just the third of the year, feels like another must-win.
- Looking ahead to tonight’s game against San Jose. [Islanders]
Back at @UBSArena tonight.— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) October 18, 2022
: https://t.co/I5AtV06bvd pic.twitter.com/6UiOgf8uUn
- The Isles are hoping that their special teams can be, ahem, special. Inspiration: the Newsday headline writer who wrote basically the same thing. [Newsday]
- Noah Dobson could flourish in Lane Lambert’s new system; he already has two goals in two games. Not since Denis Potvin has an Islanders defenseman crossed the 60-point plateau. [amNY]
- The third jerseys—not the Reverse Retros, the Stadium Series ones—return tonight. Here’s the full schedule of when they plan to wear them if you like to match jerseys with the on-ice guys. You’ll have seven more chances. [Islanders]
- “Six months of playoffs” came from a recent episode, but here’s the latest Islanders Anxiety, recapping the first two games and calling out some of the cringey marketing ploys the Islanders have tried, speculating that those behind them are not from Long Island. [LHH]
- Check in on the prospects. It has been a great start to the season for OHLer Matthew Maggio, picked in the fifth round this past year. [Islanders Prospect Report]
- I don’t even know why I clipped this, but here you go: Nationwide Mortgage Bankers announced a partnership with our club. [Islanders]
Last night’s NHL scores: The Toronto Maple Leafs lost in regulation and in hilarious fashion and at home (serenaded by boos!) to the Arizona Coyotes(!); the Pittsburgh Penguins blew a two-goal lead and lost in overtime to the Montreal Canadiens; the Vancouver Canucks blew a two-goal lead in the third period to lose to the Washington Capitals.
- More on the Leafs: Coach Sheldon Keefe called out his elite players for not getting it done. I love this. [Sportsnet] To complicate matters, defenseman Jake Muzzin left the game with a neck injury. [Sportsnet]
- More on the Canucks: They have played three games this season. They are 0-3-0. Not great, but much, much worse when you consider that they have blown leads of three, three, and two goals in those games. That is a deflating way to begin your season. And coach (for how much longer?) Bruce Boudreau admitted that they are “mentally weak” at the moment. [Sportsnet]
When you’re on a roll, you’re waiting for good things to happen. When you’re in something like this, you’re waiting for something bad to happen. -Bruce Boudreau
Canucks are the first team in NHL history to lose each of their first 3 games of a season while blowing a multi-goal lead in each contest— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) October 18, 2022
- Rick Bowness, still out with covid, missed a chance to exact revenge on his former team. [Sportsnet]
- Pat LaFontaine is, according to The Athletic, the 94th-best modern hockey player. He learned a lot about hockey and life from his father, who recently passed. [The Athletic]
- Hockey Canada had a third reserve fund to deal with uninsured claims brought against it. There must be a ton of these funds still out there, right? I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that even more of them exist. [The Athletic]