Penguins (10-4-2) VS Islanders (5-8-3)
Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
7:00 PM EST, ROOT Sports
The Pens are in Brooklyn tonight, which means you should see a good number of beards, mustaches, flannel shirts and stupid hats. The Islanders have been hell this season, and have gone from trying to trade Halak to looking to trade for a top 3 winger but without trying to give anything away. Two names that keep circling the last 2 days are Brandon Saad and Matt Duchene, but at the end of the rumors they state that Garth Snow isn’t willing to part with young prospects or current talent… so I’m not sure exactly what he is offering, Halak for Saad? All rumors aside they desperately need something because the Islanders have sucked this year and currently find themselves invading Columbus’ home at the bottom of the Metro. The need for a trade and change should be urgent for Isles management, because John Tavares has this season and one more remaining on his friendly 5.5 million dollar contract. It will be a tough sell for the Islanders to get Tavares to stick around with a team that has made it to the playoffs a few times since he has been there when other teams, including his hometown Toronto, will be offering him some lights out money. Any Islanders fan wondering how their team ended up where they are should look no further than letting Kyle Okposo walk and sign with Buffalo for 6 million and replacing him with 30 year old Andrew Ladd for 5.5 million for SEVEN YEARS.
Honestly how is Garth Snow still in charge? He has been the GM of the Isles for 10 years! Where can I get that job security?
Owner: Why should we hire you, Garth?
Garth: Umm yeah, I strive to do my best, well I mean I will do some things here and there, but for the most part I try to keep low expectations and goals, I say if you set your goals low, you can’t be disappointed, right? Oh, and I will find a way to get rid of Dipietro’s contract.
Owner: My God… You’re hired!
All of this aside the Penguins are entering tonight with some questions of their own to answer after an Islander-like performance in Washington on Wednesday. Mike Sullivan made the team start their Thursday morning practice with laps, and the general feeling in the media suggested it was a firm and structured practice to get back to basics. The response by the Penguins tonight is obviously what everyone will be looking for, though it will come with variation.
Starting Lineups (well, sort of):
Patric Hornqvist has been diagnosed with a concussion thanks to Matt Niskanen, and Chris Kunitz is listed as day-to-day. The Penguins sent Tom Sestito through waivers yesterday leaving only Scott Wilson to fill in for Hornqvist as of now, though it is early in the day and a call-up is very likely. Jake Guentzel turned some heads in the preseason and is the top of the depth chart for call ups along with Rowney and Dea. Garrett Wilson could also be called up for his willingness to grind and fight since the game is against the Islanders. We will find out more as the day unfolds. If you want to brew up some hatred for the Islanders, you can check out this reminder, Steigy at his best in that one.
Players to Watch:
For New York:
Cal Clutterbuck (Wanted to change his name, but it isn’t original and not worth it. It’s fun insulting decent players, this guy on the other hand insults himself without my help)
Clutterbuck is the only Islanders forward with an expiring contract this year, so this could be one of the last times you see him in the metro division, please try to hold your tears. This is great news because the guy is dick. Hopefully he retires so we can all forget he was a thing, or at least goes west to Arizona so we can all forget he was a thing.
Letang started to turn in to 2012 playoff crazy-man Letang last game, and so far, Sullivan and the coaching staff have helped Letang in the maturation process. I fully expect to see the same Norris snubbed Letang from last season to show up tonight.
At the beginning of the week I had this game marked as one that the Penguins could potentially lose by a giant margin, but I assumed it would be after a win in Washington. Now that the Penguins have shit the bed once this week, I just don’t see them putting up a bad performance in this one. It is another division game against an opponent that likes to get physical instead of play hockey, so I’m almost willing to say that waking up tomorrow with no additional injuries to the lineup would be a win right now. If the Pens get to and stick to their game, the Barclay’s center should be empty by the second period.
Don’t forget to submit your picks for #maattamegamillions to @penshockeyblog on twitter. Directions on how to play can be found at pens.hockey
Also, check out Pat and Leahs podcast. Really good banter about the NHL and it’s terrible marketing decisions.