You might call today the official start of the New York Islanders 2022-23 campaign. You could say season, but that doesn’t feel right until the puck drops in game number one.
But whatever you call it, the Islanders will take the ice as a team for the first time since last April (though they may not hit the ice until tomorrow, as they just have to “report” today). They might not have expected it—and we as fans definitely did not—but it will be essentially the same group that you see in the photo, plus one Alexander Romanov and minus one Barry Trotz.
I was not alone in hoping we saw an upgrade to the forward group this offseason, but I still cannot help getting excited every year about hockey.
- Season preview season: The NHL site discusses the keys to the Isles’ season, including Mathew Barzal producing more and getting secondary scoring, as well as a rundown of the roster, which again is pretty much unchanged. [NHL]
- After the initial shock of hearing that the Isles fired Trotz, the Islanders now feel recharged and ready to thrive under new coach Lane Lambert. [The Athletic]
- The guys know that Lou Lamoriello has stuck his neck out for them by not altering the group, so they want to reward his faith in them. [Newsday]
- William Dufour spoke to Kevin Kurz about aiding his mother through her cancer treatments during the pandemic and how mother and son have become beacons of positivity. [The Athletic]
- Though Lou thinks Dufour and Aatu Räty aren’t quite ready yet, he did not foreclose the possibility that we see a young rookie make the NHL sooner rather than later. Simon Holmström, the Isles’ first-round pick in 2019 who now has three years of North American professional hockey under his belt, hopes to be that young rookie. [amNY]
- Action shots from NHL Media Day, featuring Mathew Barzal and captain Anders Lee. [Islanders]
- This Day in Isles History: Mark Streit is named captain, the first Swiss captain in NHL history (2011).
Notable Retirements: Two Norris Winners and a Record Holder
- Zdeno Chara, who we can now say spent the final season of his legendary career on Long Island, signed a one-day contract to retire with the Boston Bruins. [NHL] Elliotte Friedman has a lot of good Chara nuggets, including how after being named captain of the Bruins, he called Hall-of-Fame Isles’ coach Al Arbour, who lived nearby Chara in Florida, for leadership advice. [Sportsnet]
Congratulations to Zdeno Chara on an amazing career! Here’s a look at his emotional final interview last season. #isles fans gave him a wonderful send off! #ZdenoChara #NHL @NYIslanders pic.twitter.com/YhtKNiQN4H— Shannon Hogan (@Shannon_Hogan) September 20, 2022
- P.K. Subban, only 33 years old, announced his retirement. [NHL] Subban was an electrifying player in his prime, but he was an even bigger presence off the ice, a man who often devoted his free time to giving back and who left an indelible impression on the city of Montreal. [Sportsnet | EOTP]
- Keith Yandle, once one of the league’s top offensive defenseman and currently the NHL’s ironman—but poised to be overtaken by Phil Kessel—also retired. [NHL]
- That big contract Nathan MacKinnon was hoping would be done before the season started got done before the season started. It is an eight-year extension that kicks in next season and will give MacKinnon the highest AAV in the league at $12.6 million, or just $100,000 more than Connor McDavid. The man is competitive. [NHL]
- What does the MacKinnon contract mean for everyone else? Well, for one, Auston Matthews is a happy guy, as he will probably be the next player to earn the distinction of the highest AAV in the league. [E$PN+]
- Sara Civian moved on from the Carolina Hurricanes beat and The Athletic, and she has landed at Bleacher Report. Her first article: some do’s and don’ts for the preseason. It’s not even a slideshow! [Bleacher Report]
- The Arizona Coyotes joined the jersey advertisement frenzy, agreeing to a deal with the Gila River Indian Community, who previously sponsored their old arena. [ESPN]