Seeing who gets the call to get a chance to make a team via tryout is one of the rites of the fall when it comes to the NHL. Sometimes you’ll see an old goalie get the nod, other times it’s a guy trying comeback from injury. For the New York Islanders, they’re giving a former New Jersey Devil a shot to make a comeback in the league this time around.
Former Devils defensive forward specialist Jay Pandolfo is getting an invitation to Islanders camp where he’ll get a tryout and try to join up with former Devils teammate Brian Rolston. Pandolfo spent 13 seasons with the Devils but did not play in the NHL last year, playing in just 12 games with the Springfield Falcons of the AHL. Pandolfo and Rolston were teammates for five seasons in New Jersey. Rolston was more of the offensive player while Pandolfo was the guy on the third line being sent out to help shut down opponents top scorers.
If Pandolfo can recapture some of the play that helped him be one of the toughest defensive forwards in the NHL he can help the Islanders get a bit better defensively up front. As it is, Frans Nielsen is their lone standout defensive forward and he could use the help on his wing to give the Isles at least most of a line capable of battling the opponents top lines.
Realistically, however, Pandolfo is 36 years-old going on 37 and has more than likely lost a step in his play. If he can compete for a job and teach the Isles young forwards a thing or two about how to match up against opposing talent, then it’s an invitation to camp that will pay off in the end.
People love star athletes because they can do amazing things. Even so, people also often love to see the occasional moment of weakness.
Aside from the occasional injury hiccup, Sidney Crosby‘s been as advertised after being a super-hyped No. 1 overall pick. He has that “Golden Goal,” two Olympic gold medals, a Stanley Cup ring and plenty of individual accolades.
Not many people expected the Capitals-Penguins series to be over in five games, but there’s a chance that could happen before the end of the week. After their 3-2 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh on Wednesday night, the Capitals are one loss away from being bounced from the 2016 playoffs.
The Capitals failed to take advantage of the fact that Kris Letang was suspended for Game 4 because of his hit on Marcus Johansson in Game 3. Letang is now set to return for Game 5 which makes Washington’s task even more difficult.
“We didn’t take advantage of it,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said, per NHL.com. “One thing I said to the guys coming into this, and we talked it about it yesterday, was when Kris got his suspension, is that they’re going to rally. Their whole team, their forwards are going to come back. They talked about they didn’t play their best game (in Game 3) and now they have Letang out and everybody had to step up on their side, and I thought they did.”
If you look back at the regular season, the Capitals were head and shoulders above the rest of the Eastern Conference and the league for a good portion of the season. Washington finished 11 points ahead of second place Dallas in the league standings and it looked like they had the team that would finally take them over the hump.
Although things look gloomy, it’s important to realize that the series is far from over. Many NHLers would tell you that the fourth win is always the hardest to come by in a best-of-seven series, and by no means is anyone expecting the Capitals to wave the white flag.
“Whenever you lose a game, it’s obviously an opportunity missed, but it had nothing to do with them missing some of their players,” said Caps forward Jay Beagle, per NHL.com. “We’re looking forward. Our back’s against the wall and the most important game of our lives is coming up.”
Game 5 goes Saturday night in Washington.
PHT Morning Skate: Shane Doan takes a (friendly) shot at the Miracle on Ice
The Pittsburgh Penguins ended a long run of playoff overtime struggles on Wednesday … and are now one win away from ending the Washington Capitals’ season.
Many expected the Penguins to crater on defense without Kris Letang (they were 2-8-1 in the regular season without him). While there were shaky moments, Pittsburgh emphasized its speed and other strengths in taking a 3-2 overtime thriller against Washington.
With that, the Penguins’ series lead grows to 3-1.
Trevor Daley, traded to Blackhawks for Sharp & Johns and to #Pens for Scuderi (who was flipped to LA for Ehrhoff) played 28:41 in G4 W.