The hockey season officially started yesterday, but for New York Islanders fans it starts today with a tilt against the New York Rangers at MSG.
It’s been four empty months without New York Islanders hockey. From May to October we’ve had to run on rumors, the draft, free-agency, and the pre-season. But now, the regular season is back.
We’ve all spoken about who the Isles should bring in. Who they should make a move for. Who belongs on the active and game-day roster. But it all comes down to this; the actual games.
Did the decisions the team made in the off-season pay off? We get to see if the Islanders management team was effective geniuses or feckless buffoons.
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The First Hurdle
The very first hurdle for the Isles is their cross-town rivals the New York Rangers. Last season, the Islanders were the better of the two New York teams. Yes, Buffalo is in New York, but New York isn’t in the name now is it?
The Islanders swept the Rangers in the regular season series between the two. Going 5-0. The Isles will look to keep that dominance going into 2016-17. Having Halak in net is a good start.
The Slovakian netminder has been something of an enigma for counterpart Henrik Lundqvist recently. Halak has gone 12-4 against “Hank”, with a recent nine-game unbeaten streak. If you include the World Cup Halak is 13-4, with a ten game streak. And both are confirmed to be between the pipes tonight.
Barzal In The Box
It looks like Mathew Barzal is going to join Alan Quine and Jean-Francois Berube in the press box tonight. It doesn’t sound like its injury related at this point.
Why put a kid in the team just to have him sit in the box, on opening night no less? Maybe, GM Garth Snow and Coach Jack Capuano want to take their time evaluating Barzal and Beauvillier individually.
It’s not a terrible strategy. The team has nine games before they have to decide if they want to burn a year of each’s ELC or send them to the AHL to have their deals slide another year. Keeping in the press box has no effect on this nine-game limit.
But it’s still an odd move. Couldn’t they evaluate both at the same time? Expect some questions in the pre and post game scrum on this.
Where Can I See the Game:
Time: 7:00PM ET
Arena: Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
Channel: MSG, MSG+2