Hey, there was some actual news involving the New York Islanders yesterday. We still haven’t heard from Lou Lamoriello and Lane Lambert, so it’s not necessarily the news we’ve all been waiting for. But it was critical news nonetheless! Our standout, save-our-ass goalie is getting recognized for his work.
- That’s right, folks. Ilya Sorokin: Vézina finalist. It’s his first time being nominated, and boy, is it well deserved. [Islanders] The general consensus is that he probably won’t win it, but he definitely should have been nominated.
- Frankly, without Sorokin, the Islanders don’t even sniff the playoffs. [THN]
- And they know it, too. Multiple players on this year’s team said that he should get MVP consideration, not just best goalie consideration. [Islanders]
- Sorokin is the first Islander to be nominated since Robin Lehner in 2019; Billy Smith is the only one who has won it. [Newsday]
- His nomination may influence how expensive his extension will be; he’s eligible to sign one as of July 1. [The Athletic]
- Professor Stan Fischler (turns out he actually was a professor, including at my alma mater) has released his grades for the forwards for the 2022-23 season. Only two guys had As, and they were A-: Brock Nelson and Zach Parise. [THN]
- Then, he put on his Maven hat to hand out some awards. [THN]
- The Islanders have the “hard to play against” thing down, but watching this year’s playoffs shows they need to get faster, both in footspeed and in moving the puck. [NY Po$t]
Stanley Cup Playoffs
- As noted above, the Hurricanes did what they couldn’t do with a 3-1 series lead against the Islanders and got the job done on home ice in Game 5, courtesy of Jesper Fast’s OT-winning tip of Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s shot on the power play. (Jonas Siegenthaler was in the box for flipping the puck out of play.) That was Fast’s second OT winner in these playoffs, both in Raleigh. The first one shouldn’t have been allowed to happen, though; yes, I’m still bitter. [NHL]
- Also, the Dallas Stars rode a three-point night from Roope Hintz to a 5-2 win over the Seattle Kraken in Game 5 for a 3-2 series lead. They can punch their ticket to the Western Conference Final with a win in Game 6 back in Seattle this weekend. [NHL]
- Game 4 got feisty between the Edmonton Oilers and Vegas Golden Knights, and two guys will be suspended for tonight’s Game 5 in Nevada: Alex Pietrangelo, for his tomahawk chop (hey Rod, that’s what one of those looks like) of Leon Draisaitl’s wrists [NHL] and Darnell Nurse, for earning an instigator penalty in the final five minutes of the game. [NHL]
- Lindy Ruff wanted his Devils to give him everything they had, and they did. Jack Hughes, suffering through an upper-body injury, played less than he’s used to and almost didn’t play at all. [NHL]
- The Toronto Maple Leafs host the Florida Panthers in Game 5 tonight as they try to stave off elimination again. John Tavares says that they’re “just going to keep fighting.” [TSN]
- Only problem with that is they lack anything resembling a power forward to create time and space for perimeter players like Mitch Marner. [Maple Leafs Insider]
- Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe wasn’t a fan of Radko Gudas’ slightly late hit on David Kampf. [TSN]
- In 16 Stats, Dom L. tries to show that actually the Leafs' “Core Four” has been playing well and notes how depth scoring was a problem for Carolina against the Islanders, but it improved significantly against the Devils.
- The other Vézina finalists were Connor Hellebuyck and the presumptive winner—because the GMs, who vote on this award, prefer his Wins over Sorokin’s Fancy Stats—Linus Ullmark, who couldn’t start Game 7 with his team’s life on the line (okay, he was injured, but still). [NHL]
- The Philadelphia Flyers announced a “new era” of sorts, although they still went with former Flyers in their front office. Danny Brière had the word “interim” removed from his GM title, and Keith Jones (yes, the one from your TV) is the new President of Hockey Operations. [NHL]
- They had a tough time narrowing it down, but The Athletic’s two Pittsburgh Penguins writers identified Ron Hextall’s ten worst moves as GM. [The Athletic]
- In a battle between two leagues for women’s hockey dominance, one star chose the PHF over the PWHPA/PWHL. [THN]
- After all that hullabaloo, Ryan Reynolds’ ownership bid for the Ottawa Senators won’t move forward. In terms of celebrities, it seems like it’s down to Snoop Dogg vs. The Weeknd. [ESPN]