Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
Middletown, N. J. – As our resident werdsmith Mike Willhoft brilliantly framed out for you yesterday, another night has come and gone with no playoff hockey and fans all around the league are taking a moment to catch their breath, maybe get some long delayed chores around the house completed or just sit on their couch and stare at a blank TV screen.
That all changes in a big way today as the conference finals kick off in earnest. First up at 5pm EST has the Los Angeles Kings visiting United Center to take on the Chicago Blackhawks followed by game one between the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins at 8pm EST from Consol Energy Center. It marks the first time since 1945 that the 4 conference finalists are also the 4 previous winners of the Stanley Cup.
With the news quiet on the playoff front the last two days does not mean the same holds true in Islanders country. Bob McKenzie, respected journalist for TSN, tweeted on Thursday about the possibility of Roberto Luongo making a return to Long Island. Far from a sure bet, McKenzie noted it makes a lot of sense from both perspectives as the Canucks would be taking on Rick DiPietro‘s contract for the sole purpose of using one of their amnesty buyouts thus giving them a lower cap hit for the duration. From the Islanders perspective this move would make a ton of sense depending on who the prospect is that they would most certainly have to send to the Canucks in the deal. Luongo could offer the Islanders a real chance to win sooner rather than later and has playoff experience, taking the Canucks to game seven of the finals just a short time ago.
It also shows that management is not completely sold on 37 year old incumbent Evgeni Nabokov, who is without a contract. After Nabby’s poor playoff performance against the Penguins it is clear that the Isles brass is making that a top priority as we head into the summer months. Just what the team has in Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson remains to be seen, as neither has been given a real legitimate chance to strut their stuff at the pro level just yet.
Here is your chance to have your voice heard. What do you think Islanders fans about this ‘potential’ move that is being discussed?
Public Service Announcement : Keep it tuned to EyesOnIsles as we preview the Eastern conference finals today at 1pm, followed by the Western conference at 4pm. Report cards start tomorrow for the entire roster at one per day, starting with Josh Bailey.
- Great light reading on what Isles fans options are from Eric Bordin (EyesOnIsles)
- Chris Triantafilis previews another potential Isles draft choice on June 30 (EyesOnIsles)
- Travis Betts writes about how the Isles rolled with the flow this season (New York Islanders)
- Randy Holt says the Islanders should take a run at Brad Richards if he is bought out (Rant Sports)
- Mark Messier would be a huge risk hire for Glen Sather (Blueshirt Banter)
- Wicked weather continues in Oklahoma and floods AHL arena (USA Today)
Around The Twitter-Sphere
- 99 is the best ever to play the coolest game on ice. Going to coach the Rangers, in my opinion, is nothing more than a public relations move for Sather and would be a huge mistake.
- Very cool Islanders shirts if you have not checked them out over at Isles faithful. Here Ben shows off my personal favorite, the Moulson Brewery. They are working on a Tavares version this summer.
- This is absolutely fantastic and is just another example of how far fandom extends in the NHL playoffs.
- This is going to be a battle of wills with no more than two days off between games (games one and two are back to back) and a lot of flight miles logged. Conditioning will play a huge factor when all is said and done.
Around The NHL