The New York Islanders are staring down their biggest challenge of the season, starting tonight with the New Jersey Devils, who have lost once in regulation over the last month and a half. They’ll have to try to slow them down probably without the services of Adam Pelech.
It won’t be easy, that’s for sure. It’s a road game in Newark, so it starts at 7:00 p.m. ET. Plan accordingly.
- A preview of tonight’s game. The Devils will be in their Reverse Retros, which are white. That means the Isles will likely be in blue for a little pre-2002-03 road color action. [Islanders]\
- Pelech predictably missed practice yesterday. [Isles DTD] It seems unlikely that he’ll play this weekend. The Islanders are calling it an upper-body injury, but it was clearly a head injury. Robin Salo will almost certainly take his place. [Newsday | amNY]
- And then on Saturday night at UBS Arena, the Islanders will debut on ice their own Reverse Retros. The Gorton’s Fisherman hasn’t seen NHL game action since 1997. [Islanders | Newsday]
- A longer form story on the Fisherman logo, featuring quotes from Mike Milbury and Jamie McLennan and input from We Want Fishsticks author Nick Hirshon. [The Athletic]
- Ilya Sorokin has gotten the Islanders this far, but he needs help. Sadly, I can’t read this story, but I’m sure someone out there has NY Post+, so let me know what upgrades Ethan Sears projects here. I’m guessing it’s a scoring winger.
- A rare Thursday episode of Islanders Anxiety. Dan starts out encouraged by the Islanders’ play despite the losses but gradually gets more anxious as his conversation with Mike progresses. The upcoming stretch will be brutal, perhaps even more so without Pelech. [LHH]
- On their weekly interview episode, 32 Thoughts: The Podcast spoke with Bryan Trottier about his new book, All Roads Home, as well as his time with the Islanders and the Penguins and probably some weird junior hockey memory from Jeff Marek (haven’t listened yet, plan to do it today). The YouTube link has the video of the interview. [YouTube | Sportsnet]
- Thomas Hickey has a new side gig at NHL Network: how quickly they grow up. Many folks saw it and tweeted their good wishes to him thinking he was leaving MSG, but it doesn’t sound like it from the way he speaks about MSG here. And generally speaking, the NHL Network analysts are a rotating cast. It’s probably just a side gig, and good for him that he’s getting it already. It surely helps that he lives on Long Island, not a far trek (relative to other NHL markets) to the studios in Secaucus, New Jersey.
Last night’s NHL scores include big wins for the Panthers, Maple Leafs, and Lightning. Not much of note for the Islanders. The Red Wings lost to Florida, and with Tampa winning, the two teams switched standings spots. The Isles are still the first wild card this morning.
- Attendance changes throughout the league: revenge of the non-traditional market. The Islanders, Senators, Hurricanes, and Panthers, maligned by Canadian media for years about low attendance numbers, have seen some of the biggest increases. The Isles are averaging over 96% capacity. [The Athletic]
- The Islanders don’t make it in, but here is Elliotte Friedman’s written 21 Thoughts. [32 Thoughts]
- The Vegas Golden Knights announced that Alex Pietrangelo will be away from the team for an indefinite period as he deals with a family illness. [NHL]
- During the Toronto Maple Leafs’ victory last night, Mitch Marner extended his point streak to 21 games, or just about a quarter of the season. [NHL]
- Shane Wright, who hasn’t played much for the Seattle Kraken this season, will play for Team Canada at the World Juniors and has already been loaned there. [NHL]