Alright, I admit I’m a bit all over the place. But as Michael Leboff always says on Islanders Anxiety, “fan” is short for “fanatic,” right?
Just over a week ago, the 2-1 New York Islanders laid a turd against the New Jersey Devils on home ice and then looked a bit lackluster in back-to-back losses in the state of Florida. Sitting at 2-4, they had a gauntlet of a schedule of three straight Cup contenders. But so far, they have held their own, already exceeding my expectations.
Ilya Sorokin starred as the Islanders shut out the New York Rangers on Wednesday night at UBS Arena. And last night, in Josh Bailey’s 1,000th game, he and the rest of the team starred.
I was feeling really pessimistic Monday and Tuesday. Now? “I’m busting, Jerry! I’m busting!”
That all being said, there is one more team left on the gauntlet, and it’s arguably the most dangerous of all three: the Colorado Avalanche. They, like the Islanders, played last night, getting shut out by, of all people, Vitek Vanecek when they visited the New Jersey Devils. So the defending Stanley Cup winner will be looking for their own offensive explosion when they (likely but unconfirmed) face their old goalie, Semyon Varlamov.
About last night, an emotional night for Josh Bailey:
- It doesn't get much better than the milestone man’s goal being the difference. That and a ton more about Bailey and the rest of the great game. In the Crease said that Bailey was just the 12th player to score the game-winner in his 1,000th game. [LHH]
- Not only that, but it was a hell of an individual effort by Bailey on the goal. And Bailey was especially happy it was a win—especially sweet against a division rival that has owned us recently. [Newsday]
- Bailey’s teammates have a ton of respect for him, and you could tell they wanted to win this one for him. [Newsday] They’re “proud” of him. [NY Post]
- The current lines are working really well, and Brock Nelson scored his first two goals of the season. [3 Takeaways] Oliver Wahlstrom converted a gorgeous pass from Mathew Barzal on a 2-on-1 to get the Islanders on the board. [NHL]
- Ilya Sorokin also played well, and the PK remains perfect. [Rapid Recap]
- In fact, the Islanders have set an NHL record of eight games to start a season without giving up a power play goal, and doing it despite playing the most 5-on-3 time of any team in the league so far. [NYI Skinny]
More about Bailey:
- He’s not a guy who spends time looking too far ahead, but this summer, he couldn't help but get excited about the upcoming milestone. [amNY]
- Listen to part of his post-game interview. [Twitter]
- Mike and Dan recorded a special short episode about Bailey’s 1,000th game. [LHH]
- And finally, I linked it yesterday, but it’s worth bumping again Cory Wright’s excellent long read on Bailey’s 1,000th game. He clearly had been working on it for a while, and he spoke to some former Isles that played with him in Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen, Bruno Gervais, and Mark Streit, as well as Butch Goring and his first coach, Scott Gordon. [NYI Longread]
Few players can hit 1,000 games in the NHL with one team. Today my close friend, Josh Bailey, accomplishes this feat.— Johnny Boychuk (@joboych) October 28, 2022
Extremely proud of him on his accomplishment today. Great teammate on/off the ice and even better person. Congrats to Josh and the entire Bailey Family! Ohh Ahh! pic.twitter.com/mrGgiZIZV0
Other Isles bits:
- A preview of tonight’s game. [Islanders] Tonight really is ‘70s night; it’s one of five nights celebrating the five decades they’ve been around. [Islanders]
- Lou Lamoriello spoke about waiving Kieffer Bellows, saying it was “part of the business.” [Newsday]
- The B-Isles lost a wild 7-6 game in OT on the road. But among the scorers, Aatu Räty recorded two assists, including one on a goal by William Dufour.
- In The Athletic’s series on the 99 best players behind Wayne Gretzky in post–1967 expansion history, NHL99, Battlin’ Billy Smith comes in no. 86. This excellent piece was written by Minnesota Wild beat writer and Long Island native and boyhood Isles die-hard Michael Russo.
- More Isles alumni: Darius Kasparaitis joined for a special bonus episode of Hockey Night in NY. He’s a great interview, and he was very honest about his past. [Hockey Night in NY]
- The NHL has been honoring women in hockey, and yesterday they celebrated Joanne Holewa, who has worked behind the scenes for the Islanders for 45 years. [NHL]
Last night’s NHL scores include shutouts for the Golden Knights, Bruins, and Devils, as well as a big win for the Canucks over the Penguins.
- The Coyotes were excited to play their first game in Mullett Arena, the 4,700-capacity arena on the campus of Arizona State University. [NHL] It was pretty fun despite the loss—lots of mullets—and it apparently has great ice. [Sights & Sounds] They’re optimistic it will work; it certainly has the intimate feel they hoped they could create with the space. [Sportsnet]
- Pierre LeBrun reports that the Boston Bruins and UFA-to-be star winger David Pastrnak have a “sizable gap” in contract negotiations. [TSN]
- The Hurricanes granted Ethan Bear’s trade request, sending him and Lane Pederson to the Vancouver Canucks for a fifth-round pick. [NHL] The Canucks feel that Bear has top-four potential. [Sportsnet]
- The Canucks also swung a trade with the Bruins, acquiring Jack Studnicka for Michael DiPietro and Jonathan Myrenberg. Here’s a breakdown. [Sportsnet]
- Meanwhile, the San Jose Sharks have already let the league know they’re willing to listen on anyone except perhaps Tomas Hertl, who just signed a fresh eight-year deal. [TSN]
- Detroit Red Wings forward Michael Rasmussen will be suspended the next two games for high-sticking Bruins center David Krejci. [NHL]
- Ryan Kesler said he learned how to be a “dick” when then-43-year-old Mark Messier hacked and whacked and cross-checked him, then a 19-year-old rookie, on every faceoff. [Offside]
- The Avalanche have their names on the Cup now. [NHL]
- Four players who may or may not be returned to junior hockey rather than play more than nine games in the NHL this season, the ol’ ELC slide. [Sportsnet]