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Islanders News: Well, at least [...]

Some long-awaited injury returns and an NHL debut for Samuel Bolduc, but the result is the same.

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Toronto Maple Leafs play the New York Islanders
Each game feels like this now.
Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

With their fifth consecutive loss, and still stuck on two wins in 2023 on its 23rd day, the New York Islanders have descended into that place where we look for “Well, at least...” things from each loss.

I’m not talking about silver linings — as Jenny noted in the recap, those don’t exist when a team constructed to “win now” is, well, not winning — but rather the small tokens we seek as a way of forgiving ourselves for watching yet another doomed performance.

Last night’s 5-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs had its share: Hey, well at least Adam Pelech is back! Hey, Kyle Palmieri is back (and was an immediate threat throughout the first)! Well, at least Ilya Sorokin stopped a penalty shot! Well, at least we got to see how Samuel Bolduc is progressing. (Not quite exclamation-worthy, that last one, but still interesting.)

By all means, give us your “Well, at least...” in comments — if you have any. But complete fatalism is also accepted and expected.

Islanders News

  • Good to see the return of Pelech and Palmieri, who each gave the Isles a little boost. But still, well you know how it went. [Newsday]
  • “It’s the rotating cast of characters on Barzal’s line, it’s minimal production out of allegedly top six players Anthony Beauvillier and Josh Bailey. It’s the impotent power play, which is hovering around a hard to believe 5%...” [LHH]
  • Three Takeaways: Lots of breakaways. [Isles]
  • Big moment and steady NHL debut for Samuel Bolduc, who played 17 shifts and 14:28 as Noah Dobson deals with “a little issue,” according to Lane Lambert. [Isles | Newsday]
  • Four-point night for William Nylander (who has one year left at $6.96 million before free agency, while Morgan Rielly [sic] is set for $7.5M through {gasp} 2029-30!) [NHL]
  • Prospect Report: Four-goal week for Matt Maggio, who leads the OHL in goals (at age 20, settle down now). Quinn Finley, Eetu Liukas also highlighted. [Isles]
  • Former Islanders teammates Pierre Turgeon, Benoit Hogue, Darius Kasparaitis are among those appreciative of their renewed efforts to connect with all alumni. [AM NY]
  • Adrian Aucoin discusses the current team’s funk and how he was supposed to stay with the Islanders, but with a four-year extension on the table from Milbury before his pre-lockout arbitration hearing, Charles Wang overthought things. [Hockey Night in NY]

It was actually a surprisingly good and energetic first period from the Isles. On the broadcast, Butch Goring sounded like he hardly recognized this team, but was pleased to see it appear. Thomas Hickey called it the best first period they’ve had in a month.


Sadly, last night’s other NHL results included no “Well, at least” scores.

  • The Isles’ next opponent, the Senators just received devastating news as Josh Norris is out for the season. Surgery for a shoulder he tried to rehab first. [Sportsnet]
  • More from Bruce Boudreau, who isn’t going to bash his old employer (at least not yet) and is more reflective on the thrill of coaching and love for hockey. [NHL | Athletic]
  • Looking back at Boudreau’s most memorable moments with the Canucks. [Sportsnet]
  • “The Flyers are stuck in purgatory because of decades of being stuck in the old-boys network.” The interwoven family/coaching trees outlined here are even more remarkable than I realized. [Crossing Broad]
  • Having won their fifth in a row (again), the Bruins feel like they’ve got something “really special going here.” I haven’t decided who I want to shock them in the playoffs. [TSN]
  • The Canucks are now paying three head coaches over $2 million per year, though only one of them is being paid to actually coach. [TSN]
  • It’s difficult to wrap your head around how things got so rotten in Vancouver. [Sportsnet]
  • More than a year after Sammy Blais’ knee injury in an awkward encounter with P.K. Subban, he’s still not a lineup regular and he could struggle just to get another contract. [Post]