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Islanders Gameday News: Semyon Varlamov returns from COVID wilderness

Also: The Isles visit the other Oak View jewel.

Seattle Kraken v New York Islanders
Trying not to become expansion team trivia...
Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

The New York Islanders have given themselves — per outsider assessment, at least — nothing left to play for in 2021-22. They’re an aging core that went on dramatic playoff runs the last two seasons, but this season has fallen flat. There aren’t any prospects to trot out for the second half (though giving Kieffer Bellows and Oliver Wahlstrom regular work would be nice), so it’s going to be different than rebuild/tank springs of seasons’ past.

Tonight the interest lies in visiting the other brand spanking new arena, the overhaul of Key Arena in Seattle to what I believe they are calling Climate Pledge Arena.

This is of some interest not just for the arena itself (maintaining the historically designated roof and all that), but for the fact it and the Isles’ new arena at Belmont Park were both led by Oak View Group. I don’t spare much energy for corporate concerns and branding, but they seem to have delivered on their promise in both instances. (Oak View Group is also behind the ASU arena that will now, through Spano-esque happenstance, be the temporary home of the Coyotes.)

Anyway, the Isles are in Seattle to kick off their second Western road trip of the month. The first one didn’t go well. This one probably won’t either. They’ve also already lost to the Kraken. It’s awkward that the Isles and Jordan Eberle are both in disappointing places (standings-wise), looking at the other and remembering what was and what could have been.

The Kraken are playing the second end of a back-to-back, returning from Vancouver last night. Follow Kraken updates at Davy Jones Locker Room.

Islanders News

  • Semyon Varlamov is back! After his ill-timed COVID positive and subsequent quarantine in Canada, the goalie was re-activated and back at practice. But we’ll see “where he’s at,” as the saying goes. [Isles]
  • Meanwhile, the trip to Seattle is a return to the scene of Mathew Barzal’s junior exploits. [Newsday | Isles]
  • In which Larry Brooks says the Rangers could use a Cal Clutterbuck. [Post]
  • More on Barry Trotz congratulating Uncle Leo for the Olympic gold. [Newsday]
  • (Yester)day in Isles history: John Tonelli’s #27 finally goes to the rafters. Eberle scored a hat trick. [Isles]
  • Prospect Report: Alex Jefferies scores a pair of game-winners, Aatu Räty records three assists. [Isles]

Elsewhere

Last night’s NHL scores include the Hurricanes beating the Flyers in OT, and...Don’t feel so bad! One night after the Canadiens beat the Isles, the Leafs were humiliated by Montreal. Per usual, a section of Leafs fans are crucifying John Tavares. But Isles fans are the cruel ones.

  • Martin St. Louis has the Canadiens playing with a restored sense of pride. [Sportsnet]
  • The Leafs made a weird move by acquiring the recently waived Carter Hutton from the Coyotes but are loaning him back to the Coyotes’ AHL affiliate. [PPP] (Here’s PPP’s reaction to their loss to the Habs, by the way.)
  • Meanwhile, the Leafs waived newly acquired former Coyote Ryan Dzingel with the hope of hanging on to him, but the Sharks claimed him. [TSN]
  • Concern for Jake Muzzin as he left the Leafs game after hitting his head on the ice. [Sportsnet]