After that platter of hot, flaming garbage being passed off as a hockey game Sunday, it will be nice to see the Canucks play a team that likes to do things like oh, I don't know, skate and stuff. They played right into the hands of Todd Richards and his soul-sucking, Lemaire-worshipping defensive nightmare. Columbus will take those kinds of games any day of the week if you let them, and that is exactly what the Canucks did, making Curtis McElhinney look like a god in the process.
Best to just put that one in the rear-view mirror, and lord knows John Tortorella made his feelings known to the team about their performance in that utter stinker of a game. Tonight they take on an Islanders team battling hard in a division with some (so far) truly awful teams. We decided to get some insight on tonight's opponent from someone who knows them well, and Dominik, bossman over at Lighthouse Hockey had this to say about his beloved Islanders:
1- The Islanders seem to be scrambling for replacements at the moment with the injuries and now suspension to Grabner. Tell us what we need to know about the players called up to replace these key components of your lineup.
Rookie Brock Nelson could be in the lineup any night anyway, so him filling in isn't such a big deal as losing Grabner's speed, which disrupts and surprises countless teams and their poor helpless defensemen. Nelson is a smart two-way player who excelled in his first pro year last season in Bridgeport. They are easing him in -- he played in Bridgeport over the weekend just to get a game in -- but he will be a keeper.
Matt Donovan, also a rookie, is an offensive defenseman but nowhere near as accomplished or even as mobile as Visnovsky. He should help the power play in Lubo's absence, but it's the transition game at even strength that's going to need help now.
2- It sucks not getting to see Grabner this time around, but there's still a chance when the Isles visit Vancouver. As a fan, are you happy they've gone back to a more balanced schedule again?
3- Those new jerseys. Dudes, really?
4- The gradual migration to Brooklyn, how are long time fans on Long Island taking it?
5- Is Garth Snow actually changing the fortunes of this team, or is it some type unintentional success that happened doing Charles Wang's bidding?
As for whether he has the secret to turning this thing around? That's to be determined. He's been playing with a poor hand dealt him for a while, but now that he's accumulated some good players and the arena situation is settled, we'll see what he does in trying to turn a now-respectable team into a contender.
6- Who should we keep an eye on in this game (who's playing well, due for a break out game, etc)?
7- Will you be happy for John Tavares when he leads Canada to gold in Sochi?
Chances are I'll be happily sleeping, paying only vague attention to Putin's Games and dreaming of a proper World Cup. But if Tavares wins a medal? Then it is his will, in accordance with the prophecies. Just as long as Canada doesn't make him wear black.
Thanks to Dominik for taking the time to answer those for us!
Apart from seeing Roberto Luongo back in goal tonight, the Canucks look like they'll ice the same lineup as they did against Columbus. I'd like our chances a lot more if this wasn't the 3rd game in 4 nights, but if they can get back into the kind of efforts we saw in the three previous games, they may be able to pull it off and head into New Jersey with a chance to come out of this road trip with a winning record.
One of the few bright spots, apart from Eddie Lack giving the Canucks a chance to win was Jeremy Welsh looking very comfortable and not at all out of place in his limited ice time. What I was able to see of the game he looked like he'd be a decent fit there, and maybe we'll see him try and make a case to stay up with the team after Jordan Schroeder recovers from his ankle injury?
Kickass Metal Tune Of The Day
Not just Long Island legends, but one of the most-imitated bands style-wise in the death metal scene, Suffocation are still going strong. One of the better live acts I've seen (though they now use a replacement vocalist on the road for some gigs I hear, which is a shame because Frank Mullen is one of the more entertaining front men to watch in the world of metal), they continue to be standard bearers for death metal.