If the New York Islanders continue to win, we will have some spare time! Let’s check in on the AHL and KHL.
On Friday the New York Islanders affiliate, Bridgeport Sound Tigers will begin their Calder Cup pursuit at the Webster Bank Arena vs. the Hershey Bears. The Washington Capitals affiliate finished 3rd, a point shy of Bridgeport in the regular season and will cede home-ice advantage to the Sound Tigers.
Bridgeport is stacked with future Islanders.
Otto Koivula had an impressive rookie campaign (21-25-46). The 20-year-old six-foot-five Finnish center finished third overall in freshman scoring. Sebastian Aho (9-37-46) had an impressive NHL stint last season was the Tigers second-leading scorer behind former Bear Chris Bourque.
Josh Ho-Sang (8-35-43) now in his third AHL season, has a lot to prove and will make his first playoff appearance. New additions, Grant Hutton, Bobo Carpenter, and Oliver Wahlstrom, were active in their debuts this month, and will likely see ice time.
The Bears have Islander ties as well.
Although the series will start in Bridgeport, home ice advantage will be tested. Hershey has a legendary fan base. Win or lose, the Bears regularly fill the 10,500 seat Giant Center.
On the other side of the planet, the KHL Gagarin Cup finals are underway. CSKA Moscow, temporary home of the white whale (thank you Mike Carver), Ilya Sorokin, has a two game to none lead over Avangard Omsk.
The Avangard squad is led by 2001 Stanley Cup winning coach, Bob Hartley.
If you get a chance to see one of these games you won’t be disappointed.
Sorokin is even better than advertised.
He had a dominant shutout performance in Game Two. He is a very special, technically perfect netminder, with elite vision, agility, and demeanor. He’ll remind you of Robin Lehner as his calmness under duress is the reason for CSKA’s success.
The Isles may never need him but adding the now 23-year-old Sorokin to the mix one day, will present a very deep, very good, goalie problem for the Isles.
When was the last time Islander fans had so many meaningful hockey options?
It’s a good time to be an Islander fan.