Follow the Lee-der
Welcome to the Pregame Skate, a Five Minute Major Upgrade to Your Inbox
🎃“The Michigan” Reincarnated: Andrei Svechnikov scored the goal of the year Tuesday night, and the Hurricanes celebrated by handing out Halloween candy after the game.
☎️Thanks to all the subscribers who tuned in for our LIVE conference call with New Jersey Devils forward Kevin Rooney on Tuesday - we loved learning about what it’s like to be in the locker room with P.K Subban and also enjoyed Kevin’s advice on how to handle being a healthy scratch. We will send out a recording of the call in the next few weeks. Speaking of the Devils, they were able to snag a point against the Lightning last night thanks to a hat trick from Kyle Palmieri.
Follow the Lee-der
What’s Happening: The Islanders are winners of seven straight, the longest streak the franchise has seen since 1990. After letting John Tavares walk out the door two years ago, the Isles watched as the NHL’s Comeback Player of the Year, goaltender Robin Lehner, shipped off to Chicago ahead of this season. With this in mind, how are they having so much success?
Follow the Lee-der: Longtime Islander Anders Lee has blossomed into one of the more effective captains in the NHL. Lee leads by example with hard play and tenacity around his opponent’s net, as evidenced by his 156 career goals.
Brass is Back: Another key has been Derick Brassard, who has found a second life with the Islanders on a line with Brock Nelson and Anthony Beauvillier. Brassard, who played for three different teams last year, has three goals in his last three games while filling in on the second line for the injured Jordan Eberle.
Losing Lehner was a big blow, but Semyon Varlamov is proving to be a worthy replacement. The Russian netminder currently boasts a .918 save percentage to go with his 4-2 record.
Next Up: The Isles play the Lightning on Saturday. Read more on their streak here.
Central Scheduling Struggles
What’s Happening: Jonathan Toews has an idea for how to make the NHL schedule a little more tolerable for players writes The Athletic’s Dom Luszczyszyn and Mark Lazerus. According to the Blackhawks captain, the schedules of the Central Division teams have become a nightmare due to a combination of one-off road trips and longer ones that don’t seem to make sense.
One example is a nine-day trip later this season that will start AND end in Winnipeg. Toews’ solution? Play two game series’ like they do in the MLB. The Blackhawks play each Central Division team six times, so playing one series plus an additional game in both cities would cut down one road trip for each team.
By the Numbers: The Athletic actually modeled out what this new format would look like, and the numbers were staggering. NHL teams would fly a combined 291,020 fewer miles—that would result in 15.5 million fewer pounds of CO2 entering the atmosphere.
Parody Problems: This seems like a simple solution, so why has the NHL and scheduling guru Steve Hatze Petros avoided this format? Arena availability could be one reason, but the biggest has to do with the parody in the NHL. Two game sets would often result in series splits because NHL teams are so close to each other in skill level. Fans also prefer to watch the big names like Crosby and Ovechkin play multiple times throughout the season rather than over the course of one weekend.
The Blackhawks also made the news this week after trading a former first round pick…
One Game to Watch: Sabres vs. Capitals
When: Friday, November 1st @ 7 p.m. EST
Watch: NSWA, MSGB
The Matchup: The Sabres are quite possibly the biggest surprise in the NHL, but they will have their work cut out for them Friday against a Capitals team coming off a big overtime victory over the Leafs. John Carlson continues to light the lamp, and Ovie seems to be hitting his stride which could mean trouble for the young Sabres.
Players to Watch: John Carlson, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Connor Sheary, Rasmus Dahlin