Darius Kasparaitis, Travis Green

Best and worst sweaters of all-time: New York Islanders

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The Islanders past with sweaters is about as rocky as their present is in figuring out how to build a new arena. They started off so well, then went off course horribly before finding themselves all over again. If nothing else, the Islanders proved with their sweaters that you can always go back home again. And again. And again.

Best: The Islanders sweater history is that of a classic look. A large, logo crest on the front with simple sleeve and waist stripes with team colors ahoy. For me, the Islanders looked their best between 1998 and 2007. After recovering from the mistake years of the fisherman and adding teal to their look to resemble a bottle of detergent more than a hockey team, they went back to basics and added a shoulder patch as a nod to their past. The patch had four stripes, one for each Stanley Cup win in team history. The Isles white home jerseys of those days made you think of the Isles dynasty teams of the 1980s. Sadly for Isles fans, they didn’t perform the same way.

Worst: You’re assuming I’m going to pound on the Islanders fisherman days here. Not so fast, friends. When the Isles went back to their old look that won everyone over once again they made one big mistake in 2002-2003 by adding a third sweater. Their third embraced the color orange in such a way it made the Islanders look like a stock car gone mad with orange dominating the look and jagged blue edges throughout the sweater. The Islanders’ move to orange was bold, garish, and awful looking.

Don’t Trust The Gorton’s Fisherman: As for the fisherman years, this was all about a marketing wizard gone mad. The Islanders wanted a new look and move into the hip mid-1990s. Switching from an iconic logo that won the fans over in the first place and replacing it with something that belonged more on a box of frozen seafood than a hockey sweater made matters worse. I have a fondness for the awfulness contained in the Islanders’ fisherman era, but I’m also a jerk that owns more than a few really awful sweaters as well. The fisherman was a colossal mistake in judgment and one that Chris Botta at Islanders Point Blank recounts all too well and is worth giving a read to.

Assessment: The Isles have done right by their fans and by hockey fashionistas by re-embracing their original look and paying no more attention to the RBK Edge constraints of design. They tried that, it looked bad, they went back to normal. Kudos to Charles Wang for keeping it real. Of course, if the rumored Isles black third jersey this season turns out to be the nightmare concoction that Greg Wyshysnki at Puck Daddy showed off, the era of good feelings is over.

(photo credit: Islanders Point Blank)

Devils unveil ‘The Salute’ statue in honor of Martin Brodeur

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The New Jersey Devils on Monday unveiled ‘The Salute’ — a statue paying homage to one of the greatest goalies in NHL history, Martin Brodeur, who will have his No. 30 uniform retired Tuesday at Prudential Center.

“Looking at the pictures of my career and some of the events that meant a lot to me, I always saluted the fans,” Brodeur, a three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Devils, told the Fire and Ice blog.

“That picture, at different times, in different jerseys, actually, like with Team Canada, it all came to that same pose.”

More on the statue from the Devils:

The 900-pound bronze statue was created by renowned sculpture and artist Jon Krawczyk, who worked with Brodeur on the design. Krawczyk, a Boonton Township, N.J. native and lifelong Devils fan, who also created the hockey statue on Championship Plaza outside of Prudential Center, personally drove “The Salute” from his Malibu, Cali. studio to the arena late last week.

Video: Panthers furious after Abdelkader ‘cheap shot’ hit on Barkov

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The Florida Panthers are fuming after their skilled 20-year-old forward Aleksander Barkov left Monday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings following a hit from Justin Abdelkader.

Abdelkader caught Barkov with a hard hit near the goal line as the Panthers player tried to move the puck up ice early in the second period.

The only call on the play was to Panthers’ blue liner Alex Petrovic for the retaliatory cross check on Abdelkader. Barkov left the game and didn’t return with an upper-body injury.

Members of the Panthers irate with the hit, and the fact there was no call.

“It was a cheap hit, I don’t know how the ref didn’t call it,” Nick Bjugstad told the Miami Herald. “It was frustrating, the whole bench felt that way. We’re not happy with it. It turned the game around. Barkov has tough shoes to fill. It looked pretty serious. We’ll see how the league handles it and I think they will. I just don’t know how it wasn’t handled on the ice.”

“You hate to lose your top player, but that’s part of the game,” added Panthers’ head coach Gerard Gallant.

“We’re disappointed to lose him. I thought it was a cheap shot but the referees didn’t see it that way and explained to me it was a clean check. It’s tough. It happens quick and we get to see the replay. I think it’ll be looked at. [Abdelkader] left his feet a little and got him in the jaw.”

The Panthers gave up three goals in the third period in a 3-0 loss to the Red Wings.

Penguins thump the Ducks as Crosby’s hot streak continues

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In a meeting between two clubs enjoying hot streaks and their own subsequent climbs through the standings, the Pittsburgh Penguins bested the Anaheim Ducks courtesy another dominant Sidney Crosby performance on Monday.

After that slow start, Crosby has put together a growing number of dominant performances of late.

The latest, a four-point night, helped the Penguins to a 6-2 final over the Ducks, stopping Anaheim’s winning streak at six games.

— He extended his scoring streak to a career best seven games, and did so with two beauty goals versus the Ducks.

— From Dec. 18 to Feb. 8, he’s appeared in 21 games. In that span, he’s recorded 34 points.

— Crosby is now into the top five among NHL players in points, with 53 in 51 games this season.

He wasn’t the only Pittsburgh player to have a big night. Keep in mind, Evgeni Malkin wasn’t even in the lineup due to a lower-body injury.

Ten different Penguins players recorded points. In addition to Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Kris Letang had multi-point efforts, and four players — Kunitz, Crosby, Olli Maatta and Patric Hornqvist — were plus-four.

The Penguins now move into third in the Metropolitan Division, while the New York Islanders slip into the first Wild Card spot in the East. Pittsburgh’s lead over the Islanders, however, is only one point.

The Islanders also have a game in hand.

Panthers’ Barkov (upper-body injury) leaves game versus Red Wings

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The Florida Panthers will be without Aleksander Barkov for the remainder of their game versus the Detroit Red Wings on Monday.

As per multiple reports, Barkov will not return due to an upper-body injury suffered after a hit from Justin Abdelkader early in the second period.

Abdelkader wasn’t given a penalty on the play. Barkov didn’t play another shift after that hit.

In 42 games this season, the 20-year-old Barkov has 16 goals and 35 points.