Good news: The Islanders are still above .500. Bad news: The Islanders are outside playoff position.
The first half is over, the second half begins tonight, the first 41 games could’ve been better, and they could’ve been worse. As Mike alluded to that and more in the Islanders Anxiety podcast looking at all the mixed emotions of the first half, this season stalled with a few important injuries, but those guys are on the mend and there’s still 41 games to go.
Leave your First Islanders Goal picks here.
- A double dose of good news as they resumed on-ice activities following the road trip: Simon Holmstrom looks set to return, and lined up next to Mat Barzal yesterday; meanwhile, the first good signs for Adam Pelech, who has skated at least three times. [Newsday]
- Will Holmstrom actually be in the lineup? As always, we won’t truly know until game time. Lambert: “He’s been skating and today was a day when we could integrate him into the group and see where he went from there.” [Isles]
- Mad. Encouraged. Frustrated. Sad. On the latest Islanders Anxiety, Dan and Mike capture all of the first-half emotions. [LHH]
- Prospect Report: A shutout for Tristan Lennox and a four-point weekend for Daylan Kuefler. [Isles]
- If you remember watching a mic’d-up Rick DiPietro begin what became a career-death spiral of injuries with a seemingly innocuous tweak during an All-Star Game shootout, then seeing him suit up for a shootout again may either trigger PTSD or a sense of happy closure. In this clip, he did far better than you’d expect. [ESPN]
- First-time All-Star Brock Nelson is excited to lose his bye week to participate in the event. [Isles]
- I’m surely not alone in being impressed by Hudson Fasching, and hoping he sticks around. He’s been more consistent than some other wingers whose names might begin with B:
#Isles at practice— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) January 9, 2023
Johnston, Raty, Palmieri all wearing gray jerseys as extra Fs.
D pairs rotating with seven d-men
Sorokin and Varlamov manning the nets
And...more power play tinkering?
Interesting PP2 at #Isles practice. Two d-men:— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) January 9, 2023
Another solid indicator Barzal will likely be back tomorrow after missing last game with a lower-body "tweak."
Monday’s NHL scores featured three shutouts, including the Flyers blanking the Sabres.
- Thus far this year’s edition of the Stars has been different by avoiding letting losses become losing streaks. [Athletic]
- Who else should go to the All-Star Game to represent the Metro? [NHL]
- Kevin Hayes has a big cap hit and a 12-team no-trade clauses but sure, maybe the Flyers can find a way to trade him. [Fourth Period]
- On the many ways the NHL’s new virtual (and flickering, moving) digital board ads suck, you may include how they can affect those with epilepsy. [CTV]
- Scary scene but he should be okay: Justin Kirkland of the Ducks is hospitalized after getting in a car accident on the way to a game. [NHL]
- Some sort of blockbuster trade in the WHL involving 10 draft picks and two guys who played in the WJC. [TSN]
- Also in junior horse trading, Shane Wright was traded within the OHL, where he is playing after starting the season with the NHL Kraken. [Sportsnet]