THE MORNING SKATE — Determining Playoff Seedings, Bridgeport Call-Ups?

Kevin Schultz

It’s a big night in determining seedings for the playoffs. In addition to the Islanders being in action, Ottawa, the Rangers, Winnipeg and Toronto are all playing as well. As it just so happens, all of those teams are on the road tonight except Winnipeg. There’s not much hockey left to be played, but with these five teams separated by only four points, the playoff seedings are still very much TBD.

Last night the Maple Leafs lost in Tampa Bay, keeping them only one point ahead of the Islanders for fifth place in the East. Both teams have two games left and the Leafs own the tiebreaker, but it’s possible the Islanders could move up and pass them with a good finish to the season.

JOHN TAVARES THEMED AWESOMENESS
Reader Bryan Molloy passed along the following image that he designed, and it’s freaking cool. You can check out more of his work here.
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BRIDGEPORT CALL-UPS?
Now that the Sound Tigers season is over, the Islanders are free to call up a few of the players. The normal 23-man roster limit disappears after the trade deadline, which is why the Islanders have been carrying extra players and didn’t need to make a move to free a spot when Brian Strait came back.

According to Arthur Staple of Newsday, the Islanders will not call up Rick DiPietro or Nino Niederreiter. Both could be distractions to what has been a very positive run. While I don’t know how much of a distraction 20-year old Nino could possibly be, especially from the press box. I understand the whole trade demand angle with Nino, but again, I don’t know that’s such a big story at this point in time or that it would overshadow anything. At this point, you might just be making him more of a black sheep, but I guess it’s not really a big deal either way. Obviously DiPietro would be a huge distraction. I can imagine the media sprinting to their computers to hastily compose Islander jokes again for the first time in over a month. With DiPietro, the team’s moved on from him and it’s best that it stays that way.

(edit: Staple also says Nino could play at the World Championships, which would be much better experience for him.)

COLIN McDONALD’s HIT OF THE WEEK
Last night on NHL Network, Colin McDonald’s hit from last Tuesday against the Panthers earned the #1 hit of the week title. Here’s the video from Keith:

ALSO: A certain Red Wings coach calls timeout at home with a lead late in a game. Shoe’s on the other foot now, eh?… Some crazyness at the end of a OMJHL game between Blainville-Boisbriand and Baie-Comeau…