The second of five consecutive games at UBS Arena will be tonight when the puck drops between the New York Islanders and the Minnesota Wild. The Wild haven’t been quite as consistently good this season as they were last season, but they’re still a good team, albeit one with inconsistent goaltending.
The Islanders need to shoot the puck at whoever is in net, whether it’s Marc-André Fleury or Filip Gustavsson.
- A preview of tonight’s contest. Tonight is apparently a Reverse Retro night, too.
- Scouting the opponent: The Wild were fully healthy for the first time all season in their game against the Rangers on Tuesday, but they still lost and haven’t won in their last three tries. [The Athletic]
- Aatu Räty and Robin Salo were loaned to Bridgeport so they could get into some game action last night against the baby Flyers. The Islanders made no immediate corresponding moves, so it’s possible these two are back up at noon today. [Isles DTD]
- But it’s also possible that Räty stays back because he has played seven NHL games; if he plays ten, his entry-level contract begins running this season, but it will slide if not. In any event, he impressed his big club teammates. [Newsday]
- Samuel Bolduc is the B-Isles’ representative at the AHL All-Star Classic. [Islanders]
- Not hockey, but Las Vegas Sands has proposed a multibillion-dollar project involving a casino and luxury hotels on the site of the Coliseum. [Newsday]
There were four games in the NHL last night and only one of them mattered to the Islanders’ playoff race, but they somewhat surprisingly got the result they needed: The Philadelphia Flyers rode a Travis Konecny hat trick and held on to beat the Washington Capitals in regulation.
- That game was Capitals defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk’s 500th NHL game—pretty cool that he got to play it against his brother, James. [NHL]
- NHL GMs remain difficult to gauge: After letting some interesting players pass through waivers all year, the Rangers claimed Jake Leschyshyn and the Panthers claimed Casey Fitzgerald. Needs change throughout the season, and there are salary considerations with waivers, but why these guys? [TSN]
- E$PN+ graded all 32 teams at the midway point. The Isles got a B+, a little higher than I would have expected but not too much.
- Another midway point story: The Calgary Flames are still waiting for the turnover they stirred over the summer to fall into place. [Sportsnet]
- The Vancouver Canucks will try to re-sign KHL import Andrei Kuzmenko beyond his current one-year deal, but he is generating interest from teams looking to rent his services. [TSN]
- Petr Mrazek got his friend, all-time great soccer goalie Petr Cech, to suit up as a hockey goalie for Chicago Blackhawks practice. [NHL]
- Good for the tank: Brendan Gallagher will miss six weeks of Montreal Canadiens hockey with a lower-body injury. [NHL]
- A less intrusive way to vote for the All-Star Game than going through the NHL’s site is by voting on Twitter, which opened early this morning. [NHL]
- The Winnipeg Jets are in win-now mode, and GM Kevin Cheveldayoff recognizes this, but he still kept his cards close to the vest in this Q&A. [Sportsnet]
I tried to watch that Flyers-Caps game last night on ESPN Plus. I pay that subscription so that I can watch ESPN+ exclusives and out-of-market games.
You’d think that someone living in New York would be out-of-market for a game between Washington and Philadelphia since I would have needed an exorbitant, super deluxe sports package—not just a regular sports package that would get me MSG and affiliates—on top of a normal cable subscription to watch a Washington-Philadelphia game in the manner that a blackout works to protect, watching on cable. Yet, the New York market (or at least just I) was blacked out.
Blackouts made a little sense when everyone that watched TV had cable. It was the only game in town, so to speak, so it kind of worked. But as cable packages expanded, and now especially with sports in the midst of a transition between cable and streaming, blackouts make no sense.
Why does the NHL want to keep shutting out its fans and making it harder for a person of even average means to watch a hockey game? You would need to pay for both cable—with an extra sports package, usually—and an expensive streaming package to get every single NHL game. That adds up quickly. Thus, I don’t have cable. Most of my friends don’t have cable because it’s expensive and besides sports, anything you’d want to watch is on a streaming service. Okay, rant over.