The New York Islanders and Columbus Blue Jackets stand as examples of how dramatically things can swing for NHL teams in 2016-17.
As you likely know, John Tortorella and the Blue Jackets were essentially left for dead heading into this season, with most of the questions surrounding the team revolving around whether Torts would even keep his job. Or, honestly, how long he would do so. That … hasn’t ended up being the narrative of these Blue Jackets. Not by a mile.
The Islanders sure looked hopeless when they fired Jack Capuano, too, with the definition of a mediocre record at 17-17-8.
Perhaps that will just be part of the story for the Islanders’ 2016-17 season, though.
Tuesday presented what might be a surprising plot twist, as the Islanders beat the Blue Jackets 4-2. With that, they’re now 3-0-1 under interim head coach Doug Weight (and 4-0-1 in general).
They’re now in a solid position to keep climbing up the East bubble with 49 points in 46 games played. They’ll need to keep this hot streak going to improve their odds of sticking with the wild card pack … but all of a sudden, the unthinkable seems reasonable.
Now, if you’re expecting Tortorella to congratulate the Islanders for showing some life after many gave up on them – not unlike his team – well … maybe ask tomorrow.
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) Former NHL defenseman Zarley Zalapski has died at age 49, according to the Calgary Flames. No cause of death was given.
Zalapski, a native of Edmonton, played 637 NHL games for Calgary, Pittsburgh, Hartford, Montreal and Philadelphia from 1987 to 2000.
He was with the Flames from 1993 to 1998.
“We are proud that Zarley wore the Flames jersey, made Calgary his home following his playing career, represented our alumni executive and we will always remember him as a member of the Flames family,” Flames president and chief executive officer Ken King said Tuesday in a statement.
“This is a terrible loss of a man with great character who truly loved the game of hockey. We express our sincere condolences to the Zalapski family.”
Zalapski was a member of the Canadian team that finished fourth in the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.
He had 99 goals, 285 assists and 684 penalty minutes in the NHL. Zalapski was named to the all-rookie team in 1989 and participated in the NHL All-Star Game in 1993.
Zalapski played stints in Austria and Switzerland after his NHL career and appeared in 11 games for the United Hockey League’s Kalamazoo Wings in 2004-05.
He was the fourth overall pick by the Penguins in the 1986 entry draft.
Taylor Hall puts on a show as Devils end Kings’ winning streak
The New Jersey Devils put an end to the Los Angeles Kings’ eight-game winning streak on Tuesday night with a rather convincing 5-1 win.
The Devils dominated in pretty much every aspect of the game, limiting the Kings to just 17 shots on goal and scoring five goals against a team that had not allowed more than two goals (and never more than three) during its winning streak.
The star of the game for the Devils was most certainly forward Taylor Hall.
Hall continued what could be a career year with a pair of goals, including this highlight reel play in the second period that saw him force a turnover, split through the Kings’ defense (including Drew Doughty!), then beat Jonathan Quick with a backhander.
With that performance on Tuesday Hall is now up to 11 goals and 31 total points on the season.
His first year with the Devils wasn’t quite what he or the team wanted, but he has bounced back in a big way this season. His performance, along with the development of young players Nico Hischier, Will Butcher, and Jesper Bratt have the Devils back on track to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2011-12 season.