PHILADELPHIA — Alan Quine didn’t exactly circle Saturday’s game in Ottawa on his calendar when the season began, mostly because he didn’t know if he’d be an Islander this late in the year or if he’d be a regular in the lineup.
But Saturday is coming up fast and Quine, an Ottawa native, will almost surely get to play in his hometown for the first time in his NHL career.
“Yeah, it’s going to be pretty exciting, playing in my hometown, in the building where I grew up going to games,” said the 23-year-old Quine, who has earned himself a regular spot centering Andrew Ladd and Jason Chimera. “A lot of friends and family, people who have been there along the way.”
Quine took an interesting route to his first full NHL season. He was a third-round pick of the Red Wings in 2011 while playing for Peterborough in the Ontario League but wasn’t signed by Detroit, which meant he went back into the draft pool as a 20-year-old in 2013.
The Islanders selected him in the sixth round that year and Quine played three full seasons in Bridgeport before earning what seemed like a courtesy call-up for the final weekend of the 2015-16 regular season.
But there he was in the playoffs last spring, scoring the second-biggest goal of the postseason for the Isles — the Game 5 double-overtime winner against the Panthers. After a crowded training camp at forward Quine emerged on the roster and, even though he’s got just five goals and eight assists in 42 games, he’s seen time on the second power-play unit and some penalty kill time.
“I’m trying not to worry about the lineup every night these days,” he said. “I think I’ve improved a lot over the season, just trying to do things right and play a smart game.”
And his reward, in addition to regular spot, is a chance to play in front of 40 or so supporters on Saturday.
No plans to talk to Julien, yet
Two sources confirmed to Newsday what TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported on Wednesday, that the Islanders currently have no plans to ask the Bruins for permission to speak with Claude Julien, who was fired on Tuesday after a decade behind the Boston bench.
Julien joined Ken Hitchcock as two respected coaches now out of work. The Islanders previously requested permission from the Panthers to interview Gerard Gallant, a move that prompted Garth Snow to fire Jack Capuano last month.
Capuano is in Las Vegas this week to meet with the owner and GM of the expansion Golden Knights squad. Vegas GM George McPhee worked as an advisor to Snow the past two seasons and has told people how much he respected Capuano’s work as Islanders coach.
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