For observers and fans of the New York Islanders, the recent homestand plus a game in Buffalo carried so much weight because of what would follow on the schedule: Tonight’s visit by the Carolina Hurricanes, and Monday’s visit to Toronto.
While the Penguins have banked points against lower teams, the Islanders struggled against would-be-peer opponents, going 1-2-3 over the five games at home and the overtime loss in Buffalo.
The Islanders beat the Hurricanes soundly very early this season, but their most recent meeting, on Long Island, was a humbling 3-0 loss in December. If you had to pick and were going off recent form, you’d bet heavily on a repeat of the latter performance.
Tonight they’ll have Aatu Raty back, as it looks like Cal Clutterbuck will be out for a while and the lines will reshuffle once again. Andrew Gross of Newsday asked Lane Lambert about not getting Mat Barzal regular wingers, his reply (via tweet) is below.
Islanders News: Clutterbuck out, Raty Recalled
- Previewing tonight’s game. The Hurricanes are coming off a win Thursday over Minnesota, though they lost Max Pacioretty to a repeat injury. [Isles]
- Clutterbuck is out “indefinitely,” Raty was held out of last night’s Bridgeport game and has been officially recalled to the big club. [Isles]
- As you know, the Islanders continue to struggle to score, and frustration mounts. [Newsday]
- And the tests only get tougher, facing Carolina and Toronto. [Post]
- And with the offense so bereft, it’s Ilya Sorokin single-handedly keeping them in games. [Post]
- The Isles had a big alumni dinner to kick off 50th anniversary celebrations. Missing some beloved souls who we’ve lost over the past year, sadly. [Newsday]
Also, also asked #Isles Lane Lambert about Aatu Raty being used higher in the lineup, like, say, in a top-six role rather than centering the fourth line if he remains with team with Cal Clutterbuck out indefinitely.— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) January 21, 2023
"Certainly that's the ultimate objective for him for sure."
Asked #Isles Lane Lambert about not settling on wings for Mathew Barzal (tonight Lee and Cizikas).— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) January 21, 2023
Obviously, some of that is injury related.
"He can prosper with a rotating set of wings. But also, in his defense some continuity wouldn't be a bad thing as well."
Vox Layoffs, SB Nation Cuts, Lighthouse Future
If you missed last night’s post, I addressed the news of layoffs by Vox and cuts to all but six of SB Nation’s hockey sites (excluding ours). I shared a mix of my initial reactions here, and I want to say a heartfelt thank you to all the people who shared your appreciation and encouragement in that thread or in separate messages to me.
We’re still here. You’ve definitely helped remind me why.
Just two games last night, the Penguins picking up two points from the Senators and the Avalanche comfortably handling the Canucks.
- If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where Cole Caufield was born, and how his lousy season was ended by a shoulder injury. [NHL]
- Bruce Cassidy calls out Jack Eichel. [Sportsnet]
- Also in the doghouse: Matt Dumba, scratched by Minnesota for the second straight game. [TSN]
- Erik Karlsson is having a huge bounce-back year and is like, totally, the Sharks GM should explore all trade options, because I want to win. [NHL]
- Speaking of trade deadline fodder, pending UFA Vladimir Tarasenko is expected to return early from his hand injury. [NHL]
- And Bo Horvat trade talks “have intensified this week.” [Sportsnet]
- Bruce Bourdreau was probed in pre-game media for his feelings on essentially being a dead man walking. He got emotional. [NHL]
- The Canucks fans serenaded him with more “Bruce! There it is” chants. [Sportsnet | TSN] That “mindset and mood” may have affected the players’ performance. [TSN]
- A “We Don’t Talk About Boudreau” parody, pretty well done lyrically. [Pass It To Bulis]
- Continuing the pile-on: All of the players who’ve scored their 500th goal against the Canucks. [Pass It To Bulis]
- Ken Holland has blown a lot of decisions but he lucked out in swapping problems and getting a rejuvenated Klim Kostin from the Blues. [Sportsnet]
- Eric Staal is on IR after that dirty and uncalled reverse “hit” (blatant interference) by Mike Matheson. [Sportsnet] At least Matheson received a fine. [Sportsnet]
- And more injuries: The Penguins lost Kasperi Kapanen. [TSN] The Bruins lose Tomas Nosek to a broken foot. [TSN]