I don’t think any one of us expected the New York Islanders to defeat the Florida Panthers. So to take two separate leads on them and then get the game to overtime is an accomplishment in and of itself—accomplished, for the most part, by Ilya Sorokin, who is giving us a taste of what we can hope to expect next season.
The game, though, was not the first thing anyone wanted to see last night. Most of us tuned in because we wanted to see the tribute to Mike Bossy that the organization had planned. And the organization did not disappoint.
- Sasha Barkov scored all three Florida Panthers goals, including a beauty of an OT winner. [NY Post]
- His performance, despite coming against the Islanders, was befitting of Bossy’s memorial night. [LHH]
- Sorokin made thirty-nine saves, but it wasn’t enough. I feel like I have written that a lot this season. [Newsday]
- But to be fair, this was Florida’s eleventh straight victory. They’re really, really good. [NHL]
- The tribute was “touching,” not just focusing on Bossy the hockey player but also on Bossy the man. It included clips of him “speaking on his values.” [NY Post]
- The fans paid tribute, too. The Islanders set up a memorial around Bossy’s plaque on the Hall of Fame wall when you first come up the main stairs. Many fans placed their own flowers. [Newsday]
- Especially on the fans that watched Bossy and the dynasty-era Islanders, the loss of another franchise hero weighs heavily. [Newsday]
- Scott Burnside spoke with Cassie Campbell-Pascall, who worked with Bossy for sixteen years on General Motors’ Safe and Fun Hockey Program, about her friendship with the legend. [Daily Faceoff]
This and that:
- Aatu Räty is now officially in North America and has been assigned to the Bridgeport Islanders. [LHH]
- Räty’s most recent coach in Finland, former NHLer and former Islander Olli Jokinen, believes that he has a “great chance” to make the big club next year. [The Athletic]
- After all, even Barry Trotz acknowledges that Räty is the only “high-end” talent in the Islanders’ system. [Newsday]
- Trotz has had a difficult time determining what to make of this season because of the irregularities of their schedule this season—between a thirteen-game road trip, long COVID outbreaks and breaks, and then making up for it with an unprecedentedly compressed schedule down the stretch. [NY Post]
- As the Isles were eliminated on Sunday, the NHL site ran its post-mortem piece. Brian Compton wrote that injuries and the lack of scoring did them in. [NHL]
- The B-Isles signed to full contracts three former college players that they had brought to the team on amateur tryouts.
Last night’s NHL scores include important games in the only remaining playoff race of intrigue, or of any kind, really.
- Goals scored (and shots on goal) are on the rise this season, hitting levels not seen in a quarter-century. Players, coaches, and executives around the league offer their theories, such as fatigue, unfamiliarity with teammates, and the changing landscape of the NHL. [ESPN+]
- The 3-2-1-0 points system has been an idea in NHL circles for a while, but many forget (or, in my case, never knew) that the league itself considered changing the points system to that coming out of the lockout. Not everyone thought it was a good idea, though. [The Athletic]