Some thoughts as the Islanders prepare for their season-opening, home-and-home series against the Sabres:
- Always great to begin the season against the team that bounced you from the playoffs the previous year, and the Islanders get that team twice in two days. And have we mentioned that it's also the team Ted Nolan used to coach? With so many new faces looking to make a statement from the get-go, expect the Islanders to be absolutely flying.
Good job by the team in signing Radek Martinek to a three-year contract extension. This guy was sorely missed and will be a huge difference maker if he can stay healthy.
- The Sabres had a rough off-season. That may be more of an understatement than saying Willie Randolph is on the hot seat. Daniel Briere is in Philly and we all know where Chris Drury is. And don't forget Danius Zubrus in New Jersey. Throw in Teppo Numminen's heart troubles and the Sabres could be in for some trouble. Then again, with Ryan Miller between the pipes, there's always hope.
- Have you seen the Versus TV ads? The one with the little guy in a Flyers T-shirt breaking panes of glass from 30 yards? That's Briere. He looks like he should be skateboarding in a Waldbaum's parking lot somewhere, and he just turned 30! Are we sure he's not related to Doug Flutie? How many times did we all yell "Just HIT HIM!" last season? And now we'll get to do it even more when the Flyers are across the ice. Beautiful.
- Three games in less than four days for the Islanders when they host the Capitals Monday afternoon in Kids' Opening Day. When you think of the Caps, do you picture Bryan Murray behind the bench? Me, too.