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Islanders Gameday News: First visit to the Capital

Also: Nicklas Backstrom takes “time away,” which is very open-ended.

Washington Capitals v New York Islanders
“How’s the hip?” “Not good, actually. Not good.”
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

I am by no means predicting a win tonight vs. the Capitals — who can predict anything with this team? — but remember when it used to be really dreadful for the Isles to visit D.C. or Pittsburgh? You could count on, at best, a frustrating OT or shootout loss, and hope something “Really?! This too?” doesn’t happen like Jack Hillen receiving facial reconstruction via slapshot.

Those days are over, as those two aging squads live out their window’s twilight years.

Again, it’s not like the Isles are in some superior position, but at least the days are long gone of going into these meetings wondering how bad it’s gonna be.

The Islanders face the Capitals in the arena that’s maybe still named after a telecom company, or maybe a bank or a tire company (not sure, and not checking, “The Capital Center in Landover, Maryland” had a much better ring to it, and it didn’t change every five years) at 7:00 p.m. EDT tonight.

FIG Picks go here.

Zdeno Chara plays for neither team, but he probably still could. Nicklas Backstrom is back-strom with the Capitals after major hip surgery, but they announced Wednesday he’s taking some time away. Patrick Kane buyers beware.

Islanders News

  • Previewing tonight. Both teams have had a wee bit of rest. [Isles]
  • Wednesday practice updates: Scott Mayfield will travel with the team, and Hudson Fasching appeared to be in the rotation while Oliver Wahlstrom was an extra. [THN]
  • Fasching is itching to get back in there. [Post]
  • Tickets for the Feb. 18 outdoor game vs. the Smurfs at, we’ll call it Giants-Or-Jets-Stadium, are now on sale. Lou Lamoriello is looking forward to it. [Isles | Post]
  • Some Islanders have played outdoors before, a bunch are looking forward to it again. [THN]
  • What was it like to work with Lou Lamoriello? One guy dares to share. (Fluff warning: Don’t get your intrigue radar up, it’s all flowery praise.) [THN]


Last night’s NHL scores include the Stars handing the Flames their sixth consecutive loss.

  • 32 Thoughts: The new Senators owner has come out swinging about league punishment for his team, including a first-round pick for the Evgenii Dadanov fiasco. Also, in firing Pierre Dorian: “Let’s put it this way...a lot of the decisions that have been made and the issues that we had could have been avoided.” [Sportsnet]
  • Former Islander Steve Staios replaces Dorian on an “interim” basis. [NHL]
  • The Canucks are prospering and that is totally unfamiliar for them. [Sportsnet]
  • Looking at the Oilers’ d-zone system, which some fans are complaining about. [Sportsnet]
  • Carter Hart allowed two goals on five Sabres shots before leaving with an injury. The Flyers proceeded to lose by giving up five goals on 15 shots. [NHL]