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Islanders Gameday News: Roy revisits Montreal as a deity, aims to shield Isles from the noise

The Islanders’ pre-All-Star sprint and evolution continues in Quebec.

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New York Islanders v Montreal Canadiens
“Hey, we’ve got the better coach.”
Photo by Vitor Munhoz/NHLI via Getty Images

I hope you’ve made time to watch Patrick Roy’s press conferences in his first week as coach. Even removing the time he’s set aside to field questions in French, he’s talked more about the game and his philosophy and what he’s trying to achieve than any Isles coach in recent memory, and perhaps in franchise history.

Whether he pulls it off or not, it’s a joy to hear someone talk with passion and insight about the game. He has Doug Weight’s gift of gab but with — and granted, this remains to be proven — what sounds like a much clearer idea of the variables that are in play to determine success or failure.

Anyway, tonight the Isles are in Montreal, where the circus will absolutely focus on Roy. The Isles just need two points. Hopefully they get the job done against a struggling Habs squad.

FIG Picks go here.

Islanders News

  • Previewing tonight’s game: Alex Romanov says it’s fun to play hockey again, and the Isles got their first practice yesterday under Roy. He knows he’ll be the story in Montreal, so he wanted to get the practice in today, and they can skip the morning skate circus. (Video for his latest presser is in this post.) [Isles]
  • Speaking of which, boss move to keep the team away from the media hordes in Montreal. [Newsday | Post]
  • How Roy plans to transform the Isles, particularly defensively: With more aggression, trusting instincts. Also in that piece, Mat Barzal went out of his way to praise Lane Lambert, wanted to make sure his enthusiasm for Roy didn’t come across like bashing his old coach. [Athletic]
  • That said, Barzal is already really enjoying Roy. [THN]
  • All the Isles are learning as they go under Roy. [Newsday]
  • More on Semyon Varlamov appreciating a reunion with Patrick Roy. Roy says Varly should’ve won the Vezina their first year together in Colorado but it went to Tuukka Rask instead. [Isles]
  • Former Canadiens are also excited for Roy’s return: Larry Robinson, Guy Carbonneau, Jacques Lemaire...dude commands a buzz. [NHL]
  • Bridgeport Report: The team is 11-22-0, which is...you almost have to try to be that bad. Jakub Skarek is 3-15-4. Remember when it was a Garth Snow/Brent Thompson problem? Perhaps other factors are in play. [Isles]
  • Tonight’s opponent, the Canadiens and their coach Martin St. Louis face a daunting challenge trying to turn things around. [Sportsnet]

Elsewhere

Last night’s NHL scores

  • Five hockey players are reportedly expected to turn themselves into Toronto police as part of an investigation of the sexual assault at the 2018 WJC (which Hockey Canada, controversially, settled a civil suit about). In quite a coincidence, five players are taking leaves of absence from their teams, including Carter Hart and two Devils. [Sportsnet]
  • The Kings were the darling of the first quarter, now they’ve lost 12 of 14. Todd McLellan takes responsibility. [NHL]
  • Apparently Steve Simmons still has a platform, so you get great stuff like “is it time for John Tavares to waive his no-trade clause?” because he’s in the first major slump of his time there. This was all written into the script back in 2018, and now we’re here. [Sun]
  • It’s taken a while and it’s definitely too late to matter, but the Senators are finally playing the way Jacques Martin wants them too. [Sportsnet]
  • The Canucks’ top line is facing a perplexing slump. [Sportsnet]
  • The owner of the Utah Jazz officially announces he wants an NHL expansion team. [Sportsnet | NHL]
  • Oliver Kylington has appreciated the support of teammates on his long road back to the Flames. [TSN]
  • But his Flames are fading again after a blown-lead loss. [Sportsnet]