The New York Islanders have piled up losses — regulation and OT — all January, with only two wins over pushover teams, losing ground in the wild card race, shuffling through callups and strange combos in response to all the injuries. The latest appears to be Samuel Bolduc, a decently regarded blueline prospect who may get his NHL debut. Bolduc scored twice over the weekend.
UPDATE: And yet more roster news, as today the Isles announced both Kyle Palmieri and Adam Pelech have been activated from IR. A sight for sore eyes. To make room, Dennis Cholowski was returned to Bridgeport and Hudson Fasching was placed on IR.
The Isles have four games left before the break, a two-game swing through Ontario before a back-to-back at home this weekend. It starts with a visit to Toronto, whose Maple Leafs are coming off an embarrassing blown-lead OT loss to the Canadiens, one of the two dysfunctional teams the Islanders have actually beaten this month.
At other crisis points this season, the Isles have surprised us with hot runs and impressive performances against good teams. Of course, that was when all key players were healthy, shooting percentage was high, and Ilya Sorokin was standing on his head. Only one of those three is happening right now, so hopes for another happy surprise this week are low.
I don’t think I’m piling on to say the above fairly captures the mood in the Islanders universe right now.
Leave your First Islanders Goal picks for tonight here.
- The Isles are struggling for offense, and struggling just to put a complete game together. Not a recipe for success as they meet the Leafs. [Newsday]
- Which leads Dan and Mike to wonder, “What...what are we doing here?” They also talk about future plans for the podcast(s) now that Vox is
pulling the rug out“withdrawing support.” Read more details in this post, but they’re also looking for feedback on what listeners want and don’t want. [Islanders Anxiety podcast]
- Cal Clutterbuck’s “indefinite” loss adds to the pile-up of injuries, and while Lane Lambert was “hopeful” about Adam Pelech and Kyle Palmieri, he didn’t sound too convincing (to say nothing of Oliver Wahlstrom, who doesn’t even get an update at this point). [Post]
- Ilya Sorokin is deserving of his All-Star nod. (He and Zach Parise are very nearly the only guys who deserve anything right now.) [Isles]
- In his latest Maven’s Memories, Stan recalls how the ‘70s Islanders finally got over the hump by beating (and fighting) the intimidating Bruins and Flyers. [Isles]
- Jan. 21 in Isles history: The 15-game win streak begins. [Isles]
- Meanwhile in the Alumni Classic, players like Pierre Turgeon and Johnny Boychuk took out the Rangers alumni. [Newsday | Photos here]
The 2023 Alumni Classic was a success!#Isles | @NorthwellHealth pic.twitter.com/Yt3faYyRMU— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) January 22, 2023
I did not figure Radek Martinek for “guy willing to try to play while recording on a phone.” (He wasn’t the only one. Johnny Boychuk had some fun with it.)
When you're trying to make social content but also play in a hockey game. pic.twitter.com/BXHY3CajNQ— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) January 22, 2023
Sunday’s NHL scores include the Devils and Penguins combining for a three-point game (Devils in OT), and the future Cup-winning Bruins winning their 11th straight.
- They finally, actually, officially did it! The Canucks announced the firing of Bruce Boudreau and hiring of Rick Tocchet. Jim Rutherford sort of rationalized but also sort of apologized for how they butchered the process, and how he undercut his coach (for months and months on end, conveniently apologizing now probably because a PR guy suggested to be prepared to do so since reporters would surely ask. [NHL | TSN | Sportsnet]
- Goodness the Canucks handled the slow-motion firing of Boudreau like dicks. So if they want to repair their rep, they better start getting things right. [Athletic]
- Tocchet is “embracing the challenge.” [NHL]
- As they introduced Tocchet, the Canucks “continued to wage war on reality.” While that may sound harsh, they literally started the press conference saying “as of this morning, I decided...” Like, really now. [Athletic]
- Boudreau: “I don’t think there’s anyone who loves the game more than me.” Players raved about the connections he built with them. [Sportsnet]
- Meanwhile the Canucks are looking for three players including a top prospect in any Bo Horvat trade. [Sportsnet]
- The Kid Who Did Not Win the Calder is approaching his 1,000th NHL regular season game. Funny choice of pictures to accompany the story: him in an Isles jersey, then a guy who was rumored to go to Toronto but stayed with his original team and won a bunch, and a guy who left his Cup-winner to Vegas for an eight-year no-trade clause. [NHL]
- After surviving mild and semi-satirical boos on the East Coast, Johnny Gaudreau knows to expect a different level of reaction on his return to Calgary. [Athletic]
- A Ukrainian hockey team stages its own Miracle on Ice on its North American tour. [NHL]