What's this? Surely, there isn't another basketball tournament, circus, Rich Dad seminar, gun show, medieval festival, mass religious cult wedding, etc. to keep the Isles from returning home? A game tonight at Barclays, where the Isles are 9-0-2 in their last 11. They take on the ex-Whalers, who lead the season series against the Isles, so let's hope for some reversal of fortune.
We do so on pins and needles as JF Berube gets the start tonight. Guessing Dougie feels they'll play with purpose to protect a goalie who has been...less than ideal this season. Quine and Cizikas have skated, but not ready to return; Doug says they're "close, but not ready yet". Same forwards. Similarly, Boychuck is not ready to return on D, so Adam Pelech gives Scott Mayfield a break tonight.
I noticed Mathew Barzal has missed the last couple of games for Seattle, and today see that according to a British Columbia hockey blog that
|a source in the Seattle area told Taking Note on Sunday that “indications are that (Mathew) Barzal has the mumps. He’s in isolation as a precautionary measure but signs point to mumps.”
Get well, kid. And even in his absence against Everett on Saturday, the opposing coach had this to say about Barzal:
|“It doesn’t change our approach, but he’s a helluva player,” Everett head coach Kevin Constantine said. “I think he’s the most dynamic offensive player in the league.'
One interesting thing I picked up on: regarding the prospects at the goaltender position, I think we all know that we're waiting for Ilya Sorokin to make the jump. But don't forget that Linus Soderstrom is also highly regarded, and may well make it to the US before Sorokin given Sorokin's KHL contract that still has another season on it after this one. Regarding Soderstrom:
|Soderstrom broke a record held by fellow Swede Henrik Lundqvist by posting the lowest goals against average in the SHL with a 1.34 GAA. Lundqvist’s record was 1.45 GAA. While Sorokin is contract tied to the KHL,Soderstrom’s deal with his club HV71 has expired. Making him eligible to sign an entry-level NHL contract.
Let's also see if the road trip and the success on it are things the Isles can build on. Dougie:
|“We’ve gained some confidence on the road as a team,” he said. “I think playing on the road, the style we have to play, we’ve played a lot of different teams with different elements.”
Finally, Josh Bailey is one point shy of 50 this season and 300 for his career.
Let's Go Islanders