Islanders' Mark Streit injures shoulder during scrimmage

GYI0060133526-streit-bennett-getty.jpgWhat was shaping up to be an intriguing year for the New York Islanders might be getting off to the worst start possible. During today’s scrimmage, defenseman Mark Streit left the game with an apparent shoulder injury. As for how it happened, TSN shares the awkward details.

New York Newsday is reporting that Isles’ All-Star defenceman Mark Streit left the ice clutching his left shoulder after receiving a cross-check from teammate Matt Moulson in a team scrimmage Saturday morning. He was seen later in the hallway leading to the dressing room with his arm in a sling.

Islanders Point Blank’s Chris Botta does some PR analyzing to take a blind stab at a timeframe for how long Streit could be out.

Not medical but PR diagnosis based on team waiting a day on Streit’s shoulder: best case – 2 weeks. Worst – hope for no more than 6.

Regardless, having the team’s best defenseman get hurt for any amount of time is no good and for the Islanders, losing Streit for an extended amount of time severely depletes their blue line corps. Instead of having Mark Streit and James Wisniewski being the top pairing, you’re looking at Wisniewski trying to shoulder the load for the rest of the team. Yipe.

We’ll know more about the severity on Streit’s shoulder by Monday but until then, Islanders fans will be hoping for the best. Streit’s production as a power play quarterback and rock-solid worker overall on the blue line cannot be matched by anyone else on the roster.

(Photo: Bruce Bennett – Getty Images)

Here’s hoping 3-on-3 doesn’t degenerate into a boring ‘game of keep-away’

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Are coaches going to ruin 3-on-3 overtime?

It’s been the one, big worry since the NHL decided to change from 4-on-4 to 3-on-3 as a way to reduce the number of shootouts.

Via TSN’s Bob McKenzie, here’s a quote from an anonymous coach (talking about 3-on-3 strategy) that won’t exactly quell that worry:

“Really, it’s a game of keep-away, that’s what it is and the longer you can keep it away from the other team, the more likely they’ll break down. So I say let’s slow it down and hold onto that puck for as long as we can.”

Now take that a step further and imagine there’s a team that’s really good at shootouts. If you were coaching that team, might you tell your players to rag the puck for as long as possible to try and get to the skills competition?

Granted, five minutes is a long time to rag the puck. Not sure any team could play “keep-away” that long. Plus, there will always be teams that aren’t very good at the shootout; theoretically, those teams should be more willing to take their chances in 3-on-3.

But just remember that more time and space doesn’t always lead to more goals. Look at international hockey, which is played on a bigger ice surface. Canada won gold in Sochi by beating Latvia, 2-1, the United States, 1-0, and Sweden, 3-0. It was hardly firewagon hockey.

While nobody’s quite ready to suggest that 3-on-3 will actually lead to more shootouts, it will be interesting to see how things evolve, and if there are any unintended consequences.

“I don’t know if anyone’s figured it out completely yet,” Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said Saturday after losing in 3-on-3 overtime to Vancouver.

“The big thing is, you want to control the puck as much as you can. It’s 3-on-3, so there’s lots of room and space out there. You don’t need to give it away. I think it’s smart to just wait, take your time, and wait for a good opportunity.”

Oilers go captain-less, name four alternates instead

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Edmonton’s made a fairly significant shift in its leadership group.

The big news is the Oilers won’t have a captain this season, as Andrew Ference will relinquish the “C” he’s worn for the last two years.

Ference will, however, remain part of the group and wear an “A” as part of a four-man alternate captain collective, one that also includes Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall.

The news of Ference being removed as captain doesn’t come as a huge surprise. The veteran d-man is a well-respected leader, but isn’t expected to be in the lineup every night this season.

The decision to go without a captain, though, is something of a surprise, especially given what new head coach Todd McLellan endured during his final season in San Jose.

The Sharks’ captaincy issue — stripping Joe Thornton, then going with four rotating alternates — was an ongoing problem, something that players, coaches and GM Doug Wilson had to repeatedly address until it blew up in spectacular fashion.

That said, the circumstances in Edmonton are quite different.

It’s believed the club’s intentionally keeping the captaincy vacant, on the assumption that Connor McDavid will evolve into a superstar and, subsequently, the club’s unquestioned leader.

Finally, McLellan noted that with Eberle currently sidelined, a fifth Oiler would be added to the leadership group — veteran forward Matt Hendricks, who will serve as a temporary alternate.