The New York Islanders continue to wind down their season with their final few and meaningless games—today, they’re in Buffalo to take on the Sabres, who have actually been playing well in this second half, especially since native Western New Yorker, lifetime Sabres fan, and Jack Eichel return piece Alex Tuch joined the lineup.
It’s a 12:30 p.m. start for some reason, so this piece will also serve as today’s game thread. First Islander Goal picks go in this link.
#Isles Barry Trotz says he’s planning for same lineup today at Buffalo as 6-3 loss to Rangers but with Ilya Sorokin in net. As of now, no additional absences because of COVID or stomach flu going around. But Trotz acknowledged that had been very minute to minute with the team.— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) April 23, 2022
- It’s a fair question, given how this season has played out, what with all the losing to playoff teams: What sort of team will the Islanders be to end this disappointing year? [Newsday]
- The Islanders signed 2020 fifth-round pick William Dufour, who played well last season and exploded this season. He won’t be in Bridgeport just yet, though; his junior team is hosting the Memorial Cup. [LHH | Islanders]
- But the B-Isles will be going to the playoffs! They clinched last night with a win in Springfield, in which Aatu Räty made his North American debut. [B-Isles]
#Isles Barry Trotz on high importance to organization of Bridgeport qualifying for AHL playoffs: “They get that experience at a different level but still the experience of intense playoff hockey.”— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) April 23, 2022
- Mike Bossy’s career, which began when he slipped to 15th in the 1977 draft and Al Arbour told Bill Torrey that he could teach a scorer to check but not the other way around, could be a cautionary tale for the we-picked-defense-only Seattle Kraken, who will likely have a top-five pick this summer. [The Seattle Times]
- The Puck Junk Podcast pays tribute to Bossy. [Puck Junk]
- Stan Fischler nearly fell off his chair during the Easter Epic. He was saved, too! [Maven’s Memories]
- This (Yester)Day in Isles History: The Islanders knock out the Rangers to win their 14th consecutive playoff series (1983), and Alan Quine won Game 5 in double-overtime after Thomas Greiss stopped Sasha Barkov on a penalty shot (2016).
NHL scores from Thursday and Friday.
- Too many French Canadian hockey legends passing away from lung cancer. First, we lost Bossy. One week later, the Habs lost Guy Lafleur. This year has been brutal. [EOTP | Montréal Gazette]
- Almost a third of NHL coaches are on expiring contracts, so quite a few teams will have a decision to make. [The Athletic]
- Now that the league has expanded to 32 teams, it is time to expand the Stanley Cup Playoffs, too. It has been 16 teams since the early 1980s when there were only 21 teams. Do a play-in like the NBA has done for the last couple years and let the 9- and 10-seeds in each conference make the play-in. No, I’m not just saying this because it would help the Isles. [ESPN]
- The NHL Global Series will return next fall. The Predators and Sharks will face off in Prague, and the Avalanche and Blue Jackets will do battle in Tampere, Finland. [NHL]
- The Detroit Red Wings fired their Zamboni driver for peeing in public, and he’s suing for age and disability discrimination because he has prostate issues. [Detroit Free Press]
- The Ottawa Senators, in the wake of The Athletic’s long exposé of Eugene Melnyk’s tyranny, need to lead real change. [Silver Seven Sens]
- Old pal Andrew Ladd hit 1,000 games on Wednesday night. It was the goal he set for himself while working in Bridgeport. [Coyotes]
- The chairman of the PHF sat for an interview with On Her Turf to discuss the league’s search for a commissioner and plans for expansion. [NBC]