To follow up on the title of the story, Kyle Palmieri has already crossed a couple of bridges to get from New Jersey to Long Island when the Islanders acquired the veteran forward from the Devils before the NHL trading deadline. Palmieri is scheduled to become a free agent after the season but right now his singular focus is to help the Islanders win a Stanley Cup.
The Long Island-born Palmieri is certainly happy to be a part of an Islanders team that has a chance to do something special.
“I’ve had the opportunity to play against them for a while,” said Palmieri during a Zoom meeting with reporters on Thursday morning ahead of the start of a three-game series with the Washington Capitals.”
“All the guys have been great…a super welcoming group,” said Palmieri. “Definitely a group I’m excited to be a part of and looking forward to what these last ten games and what’s beyond that.”
And with those words “and what’s beyond that”, now brings up some debate on what Palmieri’s future holds with the Islanders beyond this season.
Was he talking about the playoffs?
Was he alluding to re-signing with the Islanders after the season?
Or was he talking about both?
“These first couple of weeks, all you’re really focused on is fitting in and get to know the guys and the systems and being an impact,” said Palmieri. “Obviously, they brought me in for a reason and that’s to come in here and help this team win and that’s really all I’m focused on. The stuff coming up in the summer…that will take care of itself and we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. Right now, I’m just excited to have the opportunity to help this team.”
Palmieri and the Islanders head into Thursday night’s game against the Capitals at Nassau Coliseum tied with Washington for first place in the East Division and one point ahead of the third place Pittsburgh Penguins. For Palmieri, who was born in Smithtown on Long Island, being a part of this Islanders team has been a great experience so far, especially when you consider that he came from a Devils team that has been battling the Sabres for last place in the East.
Throughout his years with the Devils, Palmieri had plenty of experience playing at Nassau Coliseum as a visiting play but now he’s getting the chance, albeit with only 1,400 fans (10 percent of capacity) on hand because of COVID restrictions, to be cheered by Islanders Country. And this season, the Islanders have been magnificent at “The Barn” with a record of 19-2-2, heading into Thursday night’s game, the best home mark in the league.
“It’s incredible,” said Palmieri. “Obviously, a record like that speaks for itself. Playing here as a visiting team, I’ve always had an appreciation for the atmosphere at the Coliseum. Now being here as part of the Islanders, it’s been incredible. It’s a limited capacity but they’re a passionate fan base and it’s been an awesome opportunity for me to be able to play in front of them.”
Kyle Palmieri is certainly happy to be an Islander and to have a chance at winning a Stanley Cup. He’s also excited about the chance to play in front of Long Island-based family and friends as well Islanders fans that are ready for another long playoff run. But what about beyond this season for Palmieri? He didn’t dismiss the possibility, but right now the only thing on his mind is helping the Islanders win a championship that they fell six wins short of last season.