We’re finally here! The NHL season began almost a week ago, it feels like, but the Islanders are finally opening their schedule tonight.
NOTE: First Islanders Goal (FIG) picks go here!
It’s a refreshing Saturday night home opener, so the crowd should be pumped, well-served and ready. I trust the team will be too.
There’s been much debate about whether the team is the same (I refuse to use the cliche “run it back,” and I don’t understand why that has suddenly become the default phrase across the NHL), or whether the rather significant changes since a year ago represent a more promising outlook.
On the bright side: Lane Lambert entered a year ago with either a mandate or a mission to open up the offense a bit. That didn’t seem to work, so a mid-season return to more Trotz-like hockey yielded results. And even with Mat Barzal out injured, the Isles played at a 100-point pace and made the playoffs, giving the Hurricanes more than most figured they would.
- Consider Barzal a fan: “I like the look of [this year’s roster]. Lou does a great job at finding pieces that we need throughout the year. Last year getting Engvall and Horvat and [Julien] Gauthier this offseason, he’s provided some size and speed, so I like our roster right now.” [Isles]
- Waiting so long for the season to start: “Not ideal.” [Post]
- Simon Holmstrom on what he needs to do, and on joining the top line. [THN]
- The Islanders really better have an improved power play. [Newsday]
- Four questions the Islander must answer. They must! [AM NY]
- Hudson Fasching is ready to face the Sabres, one of the teams that rejected him, and a team he “kneed” last season. [THN]
Other teams continue to play games. The sad Penguins shut out the sadder Capitals, while Logan Cooley had two assists as the Coyotes beat the Devils in a shootout.
- Devon Toews signed a seven-year extension in Colorado because he’s really good; even Garth Snow knew that. [NHL]
- Shane Pinto to Long Island! To continue his training away from the Ottawa media spotlight, at least, while he waits for them to fix their cap and sign him. [TSN]
- Garnet Hathaway was fined but not suspended for kneeing Zach Werenski, who will miss a couple of weeks. [NHL]
- Daniel Alfredsson returns to the Senators once again, and this time it’s probably for good. [Sportsnet]
- Ryan Reaves hit a guy in the numbers and then whined about getting jumped. It’s kind of hilarious how much Leafs media will co-sign making him a big story early in the season, before he’s inevitably a regular scratch by mid-season. [Sportsnet]
Some former shampoo salesman and part-time hockey player thinks the Rangers goofed in adding Blake Wheeler, should have (somehow?) kept Vladimir Tarasenko.
Blake Wheeler has had a nice career, but I have seen very little value to him thus far !— Ron Duguay (@RonDuguay10) October 13, 2023
Training camp & game 1
They would of been better off keeping Tarasenko
Wouldn’t be so sure about that last part though! Tarasenko has not left a sterling impression on several Sens observers:
But the smart move and what would take huge balls by Dorion is to move Tarasenko along before the rest of the league realizes where his game is at. Just say it hasn't fit for either party. Tough adjustment to city, system, weather, and metric.— Shawn Simpson (@TSNSimmer) October 13, 2023
I’ll just be over here chewing popcorn.