NHL refused Islanders request to postpone tonight’s game because of blizzard

With the northeast part of the country being hammered by a winter storm and blizzard-like conditions a couple of tonight’s games were put directly in danger because of the weather. Games in New Jersey and Long Island are being affected by the weather and the Islanders sought to get their game against the Montreal Canadiens postponed for the sake of fan safety.

With both teams already in Long Island and ready to play, the NHL thought differently on things and rejected the team’s request. Katie Strang of New York Newsday has the details.

Chief Deputy County Executive Rob Walker told Newsday that he discussed the situation with NHL executive Colin Campbell and advised the league disciplinarian to postpone the game.

“The most important thing for us is to ensure that roads are passable for public safety. We asked Nassau County residents to stay home unless it was an emergency. To have people out of their homes at 7 p.m. didn’t feel prudent at this time,” Walker said. “[Campbell] said he understood the issues and would have to discuss the situation with [NHL commissioner Gary Bettman].”

Traditionally the league decides to postpone a game based on the recommendation of the home team, but decided otherwise Sunday.

Although they declined to comment for this story, it is believed the league made it’s ruling because both teams arrived safely and were available to play and because no State of Emergency was declared for Nassau County.

It’s not particularly surprising that the league denied the Islanders’ request, but it certainly doesn’t reflect well on the league to put fans in potential danger having them travel to the game. The NFL postponed tonight’s game in Philadelphia between the Eagles and Vikings because of the snowstorm, but rescheduling an NFL game for two days later is easier than picking out an open date later on for two NHL teams. It makes sense that the NHL made the call they did, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right one.

Fortunately, most fans are staying away from the game to be safe anyhow and the Isles are at least making good on their tickets for fans that missed out. The Islanders are giving fans that had tickets to tonight’s game the opportunity to exchange their tickets from tonight to use in other games this year, including games against the Rangers and Penguins. Apparently attendance is much more of an issue than they let on in New York.

The New Jersey Devils were in the same boat tonight as well but apparently didn’t seek to get the game postponed nor has there been any announcement about reimbursing fans who were snowed out of going to Newark for the game.

Update: Tonight’s attendance on Long Island: 3,136. Safe to say that perhaps postponing tonight’s game might’ve been a good idea as this attendance is even poor by Islanders standards.

Roberto Luongo leaves game with apparent injury, as Panthers fall to Penguins

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The Florida Panthers lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday. Making matters worse was the fact their goalie Roberto Luongo left the game in the third period with an apparent hand injury.

The injury occurred after a collision in the crease with Penguins forward Conor Sheary.

Luongo immediately went down to the ice in pain. A replay from above the net showed Luongo’s right hand getting caught in an awkward position against the post after coming into contact with Sheary as he cut through in front of the crease in pursuit of the puck.

The injury forced James Reimer off the bench and into the game with the Panthers trailing by a goal. MacKenzie Weegar tied the game for Florida before Sheary scored the eventual winner about eight minutes later, on a night when the Penguins fired 48 shots on the two Panthers goalies.

Luongo gave up three goals on 36 shots before leaving the game. The Panthers now head out on the road. They’ll visit the Washington Capitals on Saturday.

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Cam Tucker is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @CamTucker_Sport.

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Video: More offside drama had Sabres coach Phil Housley up in arms

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Just hours after the NHL admitted to an offside challenge error, there was another controversy during the Sabres-Canucks game on Friday.

Vancouver appeared to take the lead on a Daniel Sedin goal. However, Buffalo coach Phil Housley challenged the play for offside, after replays showed Jake Virtanen may not have had complete control of the puck as he broke in over the blue line.

The following challenge resulted in a brutally long review. For Buffalo, it was also unsuccessful as, surprisingly, officials deemed Virtanen did have control of the puck as he entered the zone. The goal counted, Vancouver took the lead.

Housley was not happy about it.

Not only was the challenge unsuccessful, but the Sabres were penalized for delay of game as a result.

From the NHL:

After reviewing all available replays and consulting with the Linesman, NHL Hockey Operations staff confirmed that Vancouver’s Jake Virtanen had possession and control of the puck as he entered the attacking zone prior to the goal. According to Rule 83.1, “a player actually controlling the puck who shall cross the line ahead of the puck shall not be considered ‘off-side,’ provided he had possession and control of the puck prior to his skates crossing the blue line.”

Therefore the original call stands – good goal Vancouver Canucks.

It took 4:27 to come to a decision, too.

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Cam Tucker is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @CamTucker_Sport.

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Devils place goalie Cory Schneider on injured reserve

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NEWARK, N.J. (AP) The New Jersey Devils placed goalie Cory Schneider on injured reserve with a lower-body injury suffered Thursday night in a 5-4 overtime victory at Ottawa.

Schneider left after the second period. Keith Kinkaid replaced him and stopped all nine shots he faced to earn the victory.

With Schneider sidelined, Kinkaid was expected to start Friday night at home against San Jose.

The Devils recalled goalie Scott Wedgewood from Binghamton of the American Hockey League.

The Devils catch a scheduling break with a week off until their next game Oct. 27, the first day Schneider is eligible to return.

Schneider is 4-1-0 in six games this season with a 3.30 goals-against average.

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Andreas Athanasiou, Red Wings finally settle on one-year deal

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The contract stalemate between the Detroit Red Wings and Andreas Athanasiou is finally over.

On Friday, TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported that the two sides struck a deal that will see the 23-year-old forward back in the lineup, at least for this season. It’s a one-year deal worth $1.387 million.

Due to Detroit’s tight salary cap situation, the deal has not been officially registered with the NHL because general manager Ken Holland needs to free up space in order to fit Athanasiou’s contract.

Athanasiou, who was a restricted free agent this summer, was seeking a two-year deal worth around $2.5 million per season. The Red Wings, meanwhile, were holding firm on a one- or two-year deal carrying a $1.9 million AAV. As the stalemate dragged on, he began practicing with Swiss side HC Lugano, but did not sign a contract. He had until Dec. 1 to make an NHL return in order to be eligible to play this season. The KHL card was played, but as Torey Krug showed, that move is always a clear bluff.

The one-year pact is essentially a “show-me” deal for Athanasiou, who scored 18 goals and recorded 29 points last season. He finished second on the Red Wings in even strength goals (17) in 2016-17 and tallied a pair of overtime winners. A good year and with some salary off the books next summer, he can cash in with a longer-term contract. He’ll once again be an RFA next summer, so Detroit will control his rights, but he’ll have arbitration rights.

According to MLive.com’s Ansar Khan, along with the contract Athanasiou has been promised a minutes bump from the 13:27 he played last season, as well as regular time on both special teams units.

Detroit is off to a 4-3-0 start and averaging 3.14 goals per game. Once Athanasiou arrives from Switzerland and gets up to speed — possibly with an AHL conditioning stint — his presence will certainly be a boost to the Red Wings’ lineup.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.: