Connor Jones earned a well-deserved call-up from the New York Islanders on Saturday night. That and more with the Isles Daily Insight.
Despite the Islanders’ 2-1 victory on Friday night, it appears that the team has thrown in the towel.
That’s because, well, the math just doesn’t add up. Even winning out would do little to bolster the team’s chances of making the postseason (highly unlikely considering that captain John Tavares, center Casey Cizikas and defenseman Travis Hamonic are all likely done for the season).
This has presented management with a conundrum: Which players are worthy of a call-up? For months, the fanbase has been clamoring for Ryan Pulock, the budding defenseman who has spent the entire regular season down in Bridgeport. But that’s not going to happen, simply because the Sound Tigers are in the midst of a playoff push, and Pulock is one of their best players.
So the Isles made their first move on Saturday night, recalling career journeyman Connor Jones. This baffled people, especially those who thought Pulock was on his way to Brooklyn. But let’s be real here: it shouldn’t.
There’s something to be said for competing in meaningful games, particularly those down the stretch. Pulock — and guys like Devon Toews and Michael Dal Colle — can build confidence and character over these last couple of contests.
There’s also the idea of rewarding guys who’ve been in the organization for years, but haven’t cracked the NHL lineup. Good for Connor Jones, whose loyalty and perseverance is finally paying off.
The captain, John Tavares, is week-to-week with a lower-body injury, and Cal Clutterbuck believes it’s the Barclays Center ice that’s responsible. “You see a guy’s heel dig in like that, it doesn’t happen other places,” Clutterbuck said. “It’s something that doesn’t get addressed . . . It was a little worse [than it’s been]. It had been a little better the last few games, but not tonight.”
The Isles’ late season struggles represent more than a short-term problem: as I wrote last week, “This offseason, with the exception of Dennis Seidenberg, the Isles don’t have any UFAs… That’s a problem because not only weren’t the 2016-17 Islanders very good, but they couldn’t win the big game.”
John Santamaria sat down with rookie play-by-play guy Brendan Burke to discuss his first season broadcasting Islanders games. Burke called this gig a “dream,” and expressed his admiration for Shannon Hogan and Butch Goring.