That must have been one hell of a meeting last night between the Islanders, (Konopka, Gillies, Martin and Haley were all reportedly called in) Justice Czar Campbell and Commissioner Bettman who announced he was going to be personally involved. Announced to have been scheduled for 5 PM EST, the announcement of the suspensions didn't come out till sometime around 11 PM EST. Trevor Gillies got the worst of it with 9 games, Second time offender Matt Martin got 4 games and the Islanders were fined 100K as "The Islanders also must bear some responsibility for their failure to control their players," from Campbell's mouth. Sort of ironic that the Isles get the fine for failure to control their players, but the Penguins did not have Bylsma suspended nor was the team fined for Godard leaving the bench which is normally automatic. Eric Godard does get the automatic 10 games for leaving the bench.
Today the Islanders are looking to win the season series with the Sabres, while they hope to tie it at 2-2. If the previous games in the series are any sign, the Islanders need to break out the big guns as all 3 games have been won with 5 goal games (Isles 5-3, Isles 5-2, Sabres 5-3). With Gillies and Martin definitely out and Jack Hillen (concussion) possibly out, you can expect to see Rob Schremp, Ty Wishart, Jesse Joensuu and Michael Haley in the lineup tonight. No word yet on whose starting, but all signs point to it being Mikko.
I have absolutely NO IDEA how the FIGs are working (sorry JP) at the moment. So I'm going to make the first comment for the FIG tree and everyone please reply to that one. My apologies to the guys doing the FIGs (JP, ICanSeeForIsles) if I'm making everything worse.
Statement from Matt Martin on the game Friday from Newsday.
One thing to remember is that most people coming down hardest on the Islanders haven't been watching them all season. They haven't seen the horrible calls or missed calls for the Islanders. Who can forget when Frans Nielsen got a 10 minute misconduct when Danny Briere hit him with a cheap shot? This wasn't just about one game a week ago for the Isles, it was a season worth of incidents blowing over in one game.
The Penguins though have particularly been chippy when playing the Islanders. Looking back you have Cooke running DP three times during the October 15th game. Cooke also ran DP at the end of the February 2nd game, which lead to DP taking things into his own hands and the DP/Johnson fight. Talbot also charged Blake Comeau giving him the concussion he hasn't yet returned from in that game. Even if nothing was called and no penalties were handed down that doesn't mean it wasn't a borderline illegal hit. We've seen with Jordan Staal's recent non-suspension that the league tends to be lenient with the Pens.
Initial Reactions from Around the Internet
Reactions to the Suspensions
With both the Islanders (2 game) and Sabres (3 game) on winning streaks, this should be an entertaining game. The Sabres have recovered from their early season struggles and are 3 points out of a playoff spot. The Islanders meanwhile can't come out flat after a great game again. As I said the other night the Islanders continue to tease us with great games against the top teams in either conference, only to come out flat against a team closer to them in the standings.
It should be the same top six forwards for the Islanders today, and Rob Schremp back in the lineup. It looks as though the Isles will be going with 7 defenseman, especially since BP has a 3 PM game today also. No word on who starts in the crease, but Cappy tends to go with the hot hand which would be Mikko Koskinen. Obviously lost in everything is that Mikko played a great game Friday night and if you discount the first two goals he gave up he has 93 saves on 102 shots over 3 games. That would give him a .911 SV% which isn't far behind team leading Kevin Poulin's or Dwayne Roloson's .920 with the Islanders.
This is your dual preview and in-game thread. And Let's Go Islanders, it's frustrating how you keep teasing us.