UPDATED at 6:00 pm - From what I'm hearing, no major changes to the Islanders' lineup tonight.
The Islanders chose not to have a morning skate today. Only scratched players from last night's 6-3 loss in Buffalo are working out at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum this morning.
More than four decades after their invention, morning skates are still not an exact science. I've seen teams (not just the Islanders) work hard in the morning and blow out teams or get blown out at night. I've seen coaches insist that their players not show up at the rink until 5:00 pm, and later watch as their teams explode offensively or look like they're skating in mud.
Bobby Clarke once pointed out that he never saw NFL teams doing sprints and blocking drills the morning of a Monday Night Football game. (I'm paraphrasing). An opposing GM once told me he was confident the skates are a complete waste of time and energy, and even felt bad about all the unnecessary work his equipment staff had to put in. But he didn't want to be the renegade GM to stop the practice of morning skates.
Carolina coach Peter Laviolette banned morning skates. Perhaps it was only coincidence, but that was during Pete's final season as head coach of the Hurricanes.
After his team lost at home to Atlanta last night, Devils coach Jacques Lemaire decided to make today's morning workout in preparation for a home match against Carolina an optional skate. Two weeks ago today, the morning after they raised a Stanley Cup banner and beat the Rangers in Pittsburgh, the Penguins had a mandatory skate at the Coliseum under the command of Dan Bylsma. The Penguins certainly had plenty of life in their legs in the third period and overtime.
Martin Biron in goal. I expect Bruno Gervais will be back in the lineup, while Jack Hillen showed enough to stick. Let's see if the coaching staff sits a veteran, such as the struggling Brendan Witt (-9).
You would think the Joel Rechlicz experiment would be over for now. But very few of us have had much success over the last two seasons predicting what the Islanders are going to do in the toughness department. Otherwise, the forwards were pretty good last night in Buffalo. I could see Nate Thompson in for Rechlicz. Would not fall off my chair if Jeff Tambellini got back in, maybe for Blake Comeau. Just because.
As if the Lighthouse Project does not have enough support, now Charles Wang and Scott Rechler have the backing of a key Republican, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos of RVC. Skelos called the Lighthouse "a critical component in our effort to strengthen the regional economy and build a modern, first-class facility that allows the Islanders to continue to call Long Island home."
Good for him. Now, about our taxes, Mr. Skelos.
Islanders host San Jose tonight, Carolina on Wednesday, in search of their first win. During our live chat last night, I projected attendance for the Sharks to be around 14,000. After seeing what's available online, I'm now thinking closer to a crowd of 12,000 that the Islanders will announce as 13,000 and change.
Is tonight the night the Islanders get their first win? No reason why not. The Sharks don't show up every night. Would help if the Islanders hit some opponents.
Enjoy the game tonight. I'm on assignment for FanHouse - Carolina at New Jersey rematch. A guest writer will do a little post-game report and get the conversation started.
Talk about Islanders-Sharks here.