Ryan Strome, Brock Nelson, and Josh Bailey.
Those were the three names that were named today by Islanders coach Jack Capuano.
“We need Strome to be better. We need Brock to be better. We need Bailey to be better. We need guys to be better if we’re going to have any chance at all,” Capuano said, per the Daily News.
And just to make it clear, the coach added, “The guys mentioned need to pick their pick their s—t up and start playing.”
The Isles host Tampa Bay tonight. They were throttled, 5-0, on Saturday by Pittsburgh.
With just four wins in their last 10 and the playoffs starting next week, it’s no wonder Capuano is sounding worried. Only two of those four wins came in regulation, and they were over non-playoff sides Ottawa and Columbus.
New York is also dealing with key injuries to Jaroslav Halak, Mikhail Grabovski and Travis Hamonic, making it even more necessary for others to step up.
“The video doesn’t lie,” said Capuano. “It doesn’t come down to X’s and O’s, it doesn’t come down to systems. It comes down to how hard you want to compete.”
Blackhawks winger Artemi Panarin, Sharks defenseman Brent Burns, and Penguins goalie Matt Murray have been named the NHL’s three stars for the past week.
Panarin led the League with 3-5-8 in three outings as the Blackhawks (46-26-7, 99 points) won two of three starts for the week to clinch a berth in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Burns finished second among all scorers and first among defensemen with 1-6-7 in four games as the Sharks (44-29-6, 94 points) gained six of a possible eight standings points.
Murray went 3-0-0 with a 1.95 goals-against average, .929 save percentage and one shutout as the Penguins (46-25-8, 100 points) recorded four victories for the week to extend their overall winning streak to six games and move into second place in the Metropolitan Division.
Panarin now holds a 20-point lead in the rookie scoring race. Most observers believe it’s down to him, Connor McDavid and Shayne Gostisbehere for the Calder Trophy.
Related: McDavid named rookie of the month — where does the Calder Trophy race stand right now?
Willie Mitchell has been in the NHL for a long time, and he’s seen all the changes that have been made to make the game safer.
But the 38-year-old Panthers captain — currently out of the lineup with a concussion — is worried that the league has been “slipping” in the safety department.
And he says that his fellow players are “worried about it.”
“If my game slips, a coach will come tell me, it’s slipping,” Mitchell told Sportsnet in a lengthy interview. “Well, on trying to protect us, the league is slipping.”
If the players are as concerned as Mitchell suggests they are, it will be interesting to see if the NHLPA tries to do something about it. That’s the organization that’s supposed to represent the best interests of the players. It could always pressure the league to crack down on dangerous play.
Of course, the PA also has a duty to represent players who believe they’ve been unfairly suspended, which has the potential to complicate matters.
Nazem Kadri‘s season is over. The Maple Leafs forward has been suspended four games — as many games as Toronto has left in the regular season — for crosschecking Detroit’s Luke Glendening on Saturday.
“This is not a hockey play,” explained Patrick Burke of the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. “This is a player intentionally striking an opponent with his stick in retaliation for an earlier action on the same shift.”
For Kadri, it’s just the latest punishment he’s received. Last week, he was fined for diving three times in the past two months. In February, he was fined for making a throat-slash gesture. Last season, he was suspended four games for a headshot on Edmonton’s Matt Fraser.
Considered a repeat offender under the CBA, Kadri will forfeit $200,000 in salary for cross-checking Glendening.
The Florida Panthers clinched a playoff berth Sunday, and they didn’t even have to put their equipment on.
It was Boston’s 6-4 loss to Chicago that gave Florida its first postseason spot since 2012. The Panthers haven’t won a playoff series since 1996 — two decades ago — when they went all the way to the Stanley Cup Final. This will be just their fifth postseason appearance since entering the league in 1993.
According to Jaromir Jagr, the Panthers still need to prove to many that they’re for real.
“There are so many doubters when it comes to our team, and that’s fine with us,” Jagr said Saturday, per the Miami Herald.
Jagr is correct that there are doubters, and not just because of the club’s history. The analytics suggest that the Panthers don’t dominate games, that they’re all the way down with the Edmonton Oilers in terms of puck possession.
But then, if the playoffs were to start today, the Panthers would face the Islanders in the first round. And the Islanders, who haven’t won a series since 1993, are hardly a perfect team themselves.
At the very least, Florida has achieved its main objective for 2015-16.
“It’s really all about the playoffs for our team; nothing beneath that will be acceptable,” Roberto Luongo said over the summer. “I think as a group we realize that and demand that of ourselves.”