One night after exorcising some demons in a place they had trouble winning at this past decade, the Dallas Stars will cross the Hudson and travel over to what is now the oldest arena in the NHL in Uniondale, NY to take on Islanders team against which they've experienced plenty of success.
Ever since they moved from Minnesota, the Stars have gone 7-3-1 against the Islanders on Long Island, including their last visit on October 23, 2008. That night, Mike Ribeiro dished out assists on the Stars first four goals of the night before getting the favor returned by Mike Modano and Brenden Morrow to complete a five point night.
A look at both teams after the jump:
After last night's win at New Jersey, Stars coach Marc Crawford created a little unnecessary drama when he inform the leering press that he had not decided on a starter for tonight's game. This morning, that drama was resolved this morning when Kari Lehtonen was officially announced as the starter.
I'm not really sure why Crow didn't go ahead and commit to him after the game last night. As Crawford himself pointed out this morning to Mike Heika, Lehtonen had five days off between last Saturday's pre-season finale. After tonight, the Stars don't play again until their home opener Thursday against Detroit.
The lines for tonight's game are almost identical to how last night's started in New Jersey. One minor change is Wandell and Ott apparently will switch wing positions with Benn still centering the line. Barch will take Segals place on the 4th line for some fresh legs.
And now for the Islanders.
Obviously, the ownership issues of the Stars have been well chronicled. But honestly, they pale in comparison to what Long Islanders have been forced to endure over the last decade in a fight to try and get a new building to replace the decrepit eyesore that fans of the Devils and Rangers mockingly refer to as the Nassau Masoleum.
If you'll forgive the pun, the Lighthouse Project proposed by current owner Charles Wang was supposed to give the locals a ray of hope. But a collection of feet dragging have stalled the project and put the future of the club on Long Island in flux.
On the ice, the Islanders have only made the playoffs twice since 1994 and haven't won a playoff series since May 14,1993, when David Volek became the most hated player in Western PA thanks to his Game 7 OT goal at the Igloo. That goal eliminated any hope Pens fans had of becoming the first team since the early 80's Islanders to win three straight Cups.
And speaking of that glorious history, the Islanders decided to do away with whatever the hell look they were going for after the lockout and go back to the clean, basic look that they entered the NHL with back in 1972.
It's also the same look that the players sported on the foosball style game I got for Christmas back in 1986. That foosball style game is the sole reason I became an Islanders fan, BTW.
And it's a look that our friend, Dominki from Lighthouse Hockey, gives his 100% approval of.
It's about that crest right there, with its endearingly '70s collision of fonts, its old-time-hockey circular container, its one-of-a-kind silhouette of the Island the team calls home, and the subtlest of nods to a storied history. I look at that crest and I get a rush of memories from Bossy to Tavares. I also see a four-stripe tribute to the Dynasty where it should be: Understated, on a stick decoration (stripes above the heel) that is a relic of the past. Honored, but not overbearing.
Teams may feign an entirely unbelievable ignorance about how important a consistent visual look is to fans, but we know. Players, management, even buildings (if we're lucky) change, but our collective history following this team is symbolized by that visual identity that carries through from Westfall to Niederreiter. I'm thrilled the original visual theme is back, because now every Islanders fan -- even those who came on in 1995 -- can identify with the Orange & Royal Blue.
The Isles followed up last year's draft, which was capped off by the selection of John Tavares, by selecting promising Ned Niederreiter.
He will start on the third line tonight. And since Mike Milbury is no longer the Islanders' GM, there's almost no chance neither Tavares, Niederreiter, or even Matt Martin will be traded before they realize they so much as even scratch their full potential with another team.
As for tonight's game, expect the following lines from the Isles according to Heika:
Comeau - Tavares - Parenteau
Moulson - Nielsen - Hunter
Bailey - Weight - Niederreiter
Gillies - Konopka - Sim
Mottau - Wisniewski
Eaton - Martinek
Jurcina - MacDonald
See you in the Gameday Thread, where hopefully we'll be celebrating a Texas Rangers sweep about midway through the hockey game tonight.