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Islanders News: Do you remember that this guy played for...?

On Puckdoku, Thomas Vanek’s well-traveled late career, and what Kyle Palmieri needs to provide in 2023-24.

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Vancouver Canucks v New York Islanders
Apparently this happened...
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Do you play Puckdoku?

A couple of my hockey teammates, sadly, have gotten me hooked on this daily activity, appealing to the acres of wasted space in my brain that are devoted to old hockey player trivia rather than something that would be useful to my family or society.

Puckdoku is like Wordle and other similar puzzles: Nine squares, you need to come up with players who fit the intersecting categories (e.g. someone who played for the Islanders and Panthers, a Sabre who scored 50 goals, etc.) Hockey Reference also runs a similar one, “Immaculate Grid” — so you can torture yourself twice each day if you like.

Which I do. Al Arbour is my go-to anytime there’s an intersection of Blackhawks, Maple Leafs and Blues. Well-traveled former Islanders J.J Daigneault (10 different teams), Mike Sillinger and Billy Guerin are great answers on any given day. Though in theory you get more credit for obscurity — not too many, when prompted to find an Islander-Penguin, picked Brian Strait. Craig Janney is another favorite, because his trade tree is a fascinating fall — from being dealt for peak Adam Oates to being acquired by the Islanders for a measly sixth-round pick, seven trades in seven years.

Also, after you finish your guesses, you can look at all the answers you could have made.

Anyway, this leads me to today’s random topic: After I finish my grid, I sometimes go down the rabbit hole with different players’ careers,, do you remember how many teams Thomas Vanek played for after he left the Islanders? I sure didn’t.

Yes, after Vanek wouldn’t re-sign, they flipped him to the Canadiens, then he signed a UFA deal the Wild soon regretted. And after that, he went to the Red Wings, Panthers, Canucks, Blue Jackets — and even back to the Wings. That’s a ton of stops I’d completely forgotten.

If I can commit them to memory, I’ll be able to deploy Vanek more often.

(By the way, coincidentally, the Athletic just ran a little interview feature with the Puckdoku creator.)

Islanders Reading

  • In a mailbag, Kevin Kurz figures this season (finally, for real this time) will be the last for the Identity Line, and elaborates on why fan ideas to “sell high” on Brock Nelson are counterproductive. [Athletic]
  • Kyle Palmieri had a frustrating season that included a promising rebound after he got past injury issues. The Isles will need more of the latter. [THN]
  • Anders Lee is ecstatic for the next iteration of his Jam Kancer event. [THN]
  • Blade Jenkins has signed with their ECHL affiliate in Worcester. [Railers HC]
  • Jon Ledecky and the Islanders were honored by Ice Hockey in Harlem. [Isles]


  • The Ducks have reached a seven-year extension with Troy Terry. [NHL | TSN]
  • Have the Sharks’ efforts to trade Erik Karlsson stalled? His contract, as ever, remains a major obstacle to get around. [THN]
  • Jonathan Huberdeau is confident he’ll have a better second season with the Flames. [TSN]
  • Famous hockey moment collectibles are worth lots and lots of money. [THN]
  • The Jets have signed Rasmus Kupari, an RFA acquired from L.A. in the Pierre-Luc DuBois trade, to a two-year extension. [TSN]
  • Jeff Carter may be washed up, but he still has a role in Pittsburgh. [THN]