Top Shelf – Islanders Daily 5/31/13


May 24, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; NHL referee Dan O

Astoria, NY – As the NHL world collectively holds its breath in anticipation of Saturday’s Eastern and Western Conference Finals matchups, we’re again reminded of the fact that the 2012-13 season is drawing to a close.

In response to which, I’ve decided to start hording water and non-perishable food in advance of the annual apocalypse that is the NHL offseason.

Even after a lockout-shortened year, I’m not quite ready to give up watching hockey on a regular basis, even if it’s only for four months. Maybe calling it “the apocalypse” is going a bit far, but the end of the season is always a downer (unless your team happens to win the Stanley Cup – and even then, you’re anxious to see your team get back on the ice and defend its title).

The four teams left standing – the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Los Angeles Kings and Pittsburgh Penguins – are enduring the calm before the storm, just like the rest of us. Saturday gives us two NHL playoff games, which is exactly what we need.

After suffering through a night with no NHL playoff action, and having to do so again tonight, doubling up on postseason games on Saturday should remedy the situation. At least, until the Stanley Cup Finals, when hockey-every-night-of-the-week isn’t an option.

Enjoy it now, NHL fans. The season is ending soon; let’s get the most out of the remaining games on the schedule. I know the players will provide the type of high-quality hockey we’ve come to expect in the playoffs, especially this year.



Vezina Victory – Who Will Walk Away With the Award for Best Goalie (EyesOnIsles)

John Tortorella Takes It On the Arches (EyesOnIsles)

Could Luongo Be Long Island Bound? (The Province)

If Bought Out, New York Islanders Should Make a Run at Brad Richards (Rant Sports)

Floating Around The Twitter-Sphere

Two very good reasons to be excited: Friday – and who doesn’t love Friday – and the start of the Eastern Conference Finals. I’m sure Boston and Pittsburgh are more eager for the weekend than usual, and who could blame them? 

An interesting take on shot statistics as applied to projecting the results of the Conference Finals series. In the absence of any NHL action last night, this serves as a good substitute, because I know you’ve already read all the game previews that have been posted for Saturday.

Matt Moulson makes an appearance in this NHL-sponsored montage of Lady Byng Trophy finalists. (Plus, the call of the Martin St. Louis goal includes the phrase, “Top Shelf.” You do the math.)

Last Night In The NHL

[Sound of crickets chirping]

[Still chirping]

As NHL fans everywhere are aware, there was no playoff hockey last night for the first time in exactly one month. (There’s probably a German word for it.)

I’d go so far as to call it the darkest moment the NHL has had since the lockout, and I don’t think that’s exaggerating. We as NHL fans need our playoff hockey, plain and simple. Yesterday gave us the break that no one was looking for; Saturday can’t come soon enough.

There was one bright spot regarding the lack of games played: there weren’t any instances of terrible officiating in an NHL game for the first time in recent memory.

So there’s that.

Be on the lookout for Conference Finals preview pieces appearing on the site later today. If you think you’ve read everything you need to know about the Eastern and Western Conference before Saturday’s games…you haven’t. Come back later today and catch up on the Bruins-Penguins and Kings-Blackhawks matchups.


As always, thanks for reading us at EyesOnIsles. Keep it right here for all of your NHL playoff coverage and Isles offseason news. Be sure to check the menu bar at the top of the page for ways to connect with the EyesOnIsles staff, as we’re always happy to talk hockey.