An independent blog on the New York Islanders and the NHL by a guy from New York.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Islanders Off-Season 2015: Isles Offer A Few PTOs & Possible New Patch


Today, your New York Islanders offered professional tryout contracts for D, Matt Carkner, F, Eric Boulton, F, Tyler Barnes and G, Parker Milner.


Carkner scored 2 & 1 for 3 points in 19 games as an alternate captain for the Sound Tigers.  News originally broke on 8/11 per the BST on Carkner.  Isles apparently made it official today.


As I mentioned before, Boulton is probably in line for a staff or coaching position at some level in organization. My feeling is that his presence for the BST is most likely a calculated component of this initiave.


Barnes scored 74 pts (34 & 40) in 71 games for the ECHL, Toledo Walleye.


Milner had a .920 SV% & 2.28 gaa with a 24-13-3 record playing for the Quad City Mallards of the ECHL.






Last Wednesday, this photo of an Islanders jersey patch surfaced on social media commemorating the teams 1st season in Brooklyn.

To my knowledge it has not been confirmed, but looks very similar to a few previous versions on Isles merchandise seen at the Barclays Center.



Past Version 



Isles Notes:


Islanders top 5 prospects according to NHL.com.


Isles suing arena Management Company over Coliseum sublease.




Monday, August 17, 2015

Isle Be There: Matthew Klimberg & Islanders Fans In Brooklyn



In a series of articles called, Isle Be There, my intention is to focus on the different social groups that support your New York Islanders team & its players.  This will also include current events or situations in and around the team as it relates to its fan base.


John Infranca & Matthew Klimberg started Islanders Fans In Brooklyn in 2011.  




It is a 330 member Facebook group for Islanders fans who live and work in Brooklyn.  Their mission:  To coordinate Brooklyn “Gamewatches” and schedule group gatherings to help expand the Islanders' local fan base.  While it was never their intention to rally for the team’s eventual relocation, IFIB does hope to help fans make the best of the team’s new start at the Barclays Center. 


After John moved to Boston, Matthew took the reins and pushed hard to make a difference among the Isles faithful on social media. As someone who grew up 10 minutes from the NVMC, he has many memories from his time at the old barn.  Some good, some not so good.  As his friend’s mother began explaining him what the red light behind Vanbiesbrouck’s net was for, it would light up several times to remind them of the lesson.  Like so many fans in their 20’s, Klimberg has watched his favorite team struggle for much of his fandom.  Having favorites like Jason Blake & Josh Bailey, Matthew cheers for the little guy.  The players he feels exemplify a strong work ethic and show a perseverance to never succumb to adversity.


“Much of my 26 years have been spent watching the Isles not make it past the first round,” Matthew said.  “But we are a resilient bunch.  The team is much better now and have grown together. They are a year older, a year stronger.”  He added, “Whether it’s a less than perfect arena situation or any other adversity or obstacle, they are all something the fans can rally behind.”  The pressure felt by the Isles organization is definitely there.  Having the burden of proving the nay-sayers wrong and making it into the second round of the NHL play offs and beyond is certainly the way to accomplish it.  Klimberg feels this year’s team has a great shot at doing just that.

Matthew with his Grand Pa Stanley and long time NVMC usher, Angelo. 


Matthew looks ahead to the 2015-16 season as an opportunity to organize more local outings with other Isles fans.  “The Islanders have assembled some great role-players, along with guys like John Tavares and Nick Leddy, who can not only make the playoffs this year, but do some damage.”  He encourages everyone to check back often with “Islanders Fans In Brooklyn,” for information on “Gamewatches”.


You can do so on their Facebook page or following along on their Twitter account


Join Matthew and the supporters of Islanders Fans In Brooklyn.  



Rally around the team’s new home and cheer on your New York Islanders as they continue their resurgence to once again compete for the Stanley Cup.


***

Matthew Klimberg is also the NYCFC Beat Reporter for MetroSoccerNation.





Isles Notes:


Check out John Tandlich’s “Brooklyn HockeyDaily.”


Per Arthur Staple, “Isles and UFA D Marek Zidlicky have been discussing a contract past few weeks. Nothing decided on either side, but interest is there. Zidlicky, 38, started last season with Devils and was traded to the Red Wings at the deadline. 6 of 7 goals were on PP last season.”


Per B.D. Gallof, “have $8.6+ million in cap space. Figure Brock 2.75 to 3 million (2.85 my guess) +team wants breathing room. Looking for value at D.”


Per Tony Stabile, “@coreypronman released his 100 NHL Prospects and Top 10 Goaltender Prospects today, Isles had 6 in the Top 100 & 1 in the Goaltender top 10.” 

Prospects like, 13. Barzal 17. Dal Colle 45. Ho-Sang 65. Pulock 66. Beauvillier 79 Vande Sompel made the list.  10, Sorokin and Williams made it for goaltenders while Soderstrom got an honorable mention.


Red Wings sign former Isles prospect Russo. 




Per Mike & Mike, “A dad used melted ice from the Islanders' rink for his daughter’s baptism... the guys agreed it was awesome.”




NHL Notes:


Per Sirius, “We're very happy to announce a multi-year agreement with the @NHL and @SiriusXMNHL.”    


Per TSN, “From @rwesthead: @adidas lands exclusive @NHL jersey deal beginning in 2016-17 season.”


NHLPA donates $500,000 to Canadian university to aid in concussion research.




AHL Notes:


Chicago Wolves add former BST, Scooter Vaughan to the blue line.





Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Islanders Off-Season 2015: Black, White, KP, Cark & Where's Brock?



Arthur Staple confirmed the announcement by your New York Islanders & the Barclays Center that they will unveil a new third jersey sometime next month.  As expected, it will hold to the black & white color scheme associated with the new era teams in Brooklyn and should be met with a lot of … excitement from the fan base.  Stay tuned.




Isles retain 25 yr old goaltending prospect, Kevin Poulin.  Poulin has re-signed on a one-year, two-way deal. Financial terms for his new deal are the same as last year at $600 NHL/$275 AHL.  Poulin had a 2.87 gaa with a .912Sv% in 45 games with Bridgeport in his 5th season as a pro.  This is a good security measure for the Islanders system depth in goal.  While Poulin hasn’t played up to the level the Isles have hoped, he has had flashes of solid goaltending for the Sound Tigers.



Arthur Staple reports there has been no news on talks with 23 yr old, F RFA Brock Nelson (20 & 22 for 42 pts in 82 games last season).  Not sure what is going on between Nelson’s camp and the Islanders organization, but I do know the Islanders don’t allow players to miss the start of camp while holding out for a contract.  As the weeks move on, this may prove to be an interesting story and may only net a 1 year deal that will lead to another interesting scenario next summer.  59 days and counting until camp.



The Bridgeport Sound Tigers have signed 6’5, 227#, 34 yr old Matt Carkner to a two-year AHL contract.  Carkner was assigned to the Isles AHL affiliate after injury and had 2 & 1 for 3 pts in 19 games with the BST last season.  Arthur Staple reports it is on a player/coaching deal for Carkner to remain in the organization and help shape their prospect pool.




Isles Notes:



Looks like Lubo Visnovsky is still talking to Islanders and other pro (KHL) suitors. @nyifancentral



Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Islanders Off-Season 2015: Quick on JT, LIRR & NHL's MLBAM Media Deal



Jonathan Quick wrote a two-part series on NHL snipers where he gave an interesting perspective on the top offensive talent in the NHL from the viewpoint of an elite, Stanley Cup winning goaltender.  Both parts are worth the read, but Isles fans should take note of Quick’s observations on Tavares in Part 2.  He said that JT was "insanely balanced & tenacious."  He mentions the ability of Tavares to use his strength to shrug off defenders and mount a dangerous and elusive attack on net in a pretty deke, passing play or dirty goal.  His hockey IQ and off-the-ice regiment is also praised by Quick.  “You have the work he puts in in the weight room in the summertime to have the strength to shrug off defenders and maintain balance after 60-plus minutes of hockey, plus you have the hockey IQ to map out how to get past three defenders.”




The @LIRR is adding increased service to and from Barclays Center for all Isles homegames.  These services will include additional, non-stop trains to help Long Island residents make the trip a little easier.  There was no mention of reduced fares or specials for Isles fans using the LIRR at this time.  I can appreciate the concern that some fans are voicing about a longer trip to attend games.  As a resident of Putnam NY, my trips to the Coliseum could take over 2 hours by car.  But with our team remaining in NY, it is something we can all get used to if we want to see the team live.  Even if it means less visits to the BC for some fans.

And on the subject of 15-16 Isles games, the following 2015-16 match-ups can be seen nationally on @NBCSN @7:30pm: 11/25 vs. PHI 12/2 vs. NYR 2/4 @ WSH 3/8 vs. PIT 3/21 vs. PHI.



The NHL made a major announcement today.

MLBAM announced a “Historic” media deal with the NHL that will launch in January.  Charles Wang’s former provider, NeuLion is slated to assist MLBAM and aid them in the transition to full creative control.  They will create new digital products & platforms in a state-of-the-art production facility. “The partnership will transform the fan experience by creating a fully integrated global hub of digital content that encompasses video, live game streaming, social media, fantasy, apps, along with statistical and analytical content.”  It is also important to remember that although MLBAM will control NHL.com, "The NHL and its member clubs retain editorial control across all platforms."  Any fears that MLB will control how NHL hockey is depicted shouldn’t be validated by the new agreement.  It is also notable that the product perfected by MLBAM is recognized as the “gold standard in streaming sports” per The Hockey News.  It should be a win for hockey fans everywhere if it’s as good as advertised.





AHL Notes:


New season, new teams, new rules. Read up on the changes coming to the AHL. 



Saturday, July 18, 2015

Islanders Off-Season 2015: Leblanc, QO's & Tyler Gianchetta



Louis Leblanc, 24, signed a one year/two-way contract with your New York Islanders.  Leblanc, the former 1st round pick (18th overall) of Montreal in 2009, had 14 & 15 for 29 pts with AHL’s Norfolk (Edmonton) last season. He should provide some solid depth to the organization with the Sound Tigers and be given a chance to improve his skating and overall game.  Arthur Staple adds, “Isles now have 4 of the top 18 picks from the 09 Draft in the org: Tavares, de Haan, Leddy and Leblanc.”  Leblanc earned USHL & ECAC rookie of the year, All-Rookie Team honors.  In international play, Leblanc won a silver medal with Team Canada (3 & 4 for 11 pts in 7 games) at the 2011 World Junior Championships.




Mike Halmo and Kevin Czuczman accepted their qualifying offers, Brock Nelson and Kevin Poulin did not.  A deal with Brock Nelson (20 & 22 for 42 pts in 82 games last season) will get done, but Kevin Poulin may not have the leverage required to stay in the Islanders organization.  Especially with the way Parker Milner and Stephon Williams played in Bridgeport last season.  The BST started the 2015-15 campaign with Kevin Poulin and David Leggio, but then made changes.  Milner, a former two-time champion with Boston College, went 4-2-0 with 2.95gaa and a .905 Sv% in eight games with the Sound Tigers last season while Williams was 3-1-0, 2.12gaa and 936Sv% after a stellar outing with Minnesota State at 25-6-3.  In any event, despite not signing their QO’s, Nelson and Poulin’s real deadline is the start of training camp on 9/17.  The Islanders have an organizational rule that a player who doesn’t sign by the start of camp sits out the season, ala Sean Bergenheim.



Tyler Gianchetta is a super fan of the New York Islanders.  On Wednesday, he and his mother Susan were involved in a car crash.  Despite having a broken wrist from the impact of the accident, he pulled his mother from the burning car on the Island before authorities arrived on the scene. An act of courage for anyone who finds themselves in his kind of situation.  "I am not a hero until my mom is OK," Tyler Gianchetta said.


Tyler told me his Mom had successful neck and hip surgery yesterday and is recovering comfortably today.  I know Tyler from his presence on Isles social media.  He handled himself in the crash just like he faces the challenges of Autism.  With courage.  And be sure he is a loyal and passionate Islanders fan who is all about supporting his team.


But today, Tyler had a message for Garth Snow, the Islanders team and his fellow fans everywhere.  “One of their biggest fans would love if they could pray for my mom and send their support however they can. I know they have to focus on their own stuff, but it would be great to know that I have their support.”






Isles Notes:



Final game from Isles mini-camp:  Team Blue 7, Team White 4 @AWQuine scores four goals, including a natural hat trick in the third period.




Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Islanders Off-Season 2015: Blue & White Scrimmage At Barclays Center

After a day of rookie camp yesterday, your New York Islanders prospects met at the Barclays Center & competed in the teams’ annual Blue & White scrimmage. 6,311 fans came for a game on a Wednesday night to see the top prospects in the system compete.  They gave the fans a sample of what they can bring to the organization by showcasing their skills in the inter-squad game. Players like Michael Dal Colle, Joshua Ho-Sang & Ryan Pulock joined top 2015 draftees, Mathew Barzal & Anthony Beauvillier in the game.  Goalies, Ilya Sorokin (visa issues) and Linus Soderstrom (hip surgery) missed rookie camp.



Garth Snow mentioned how he felt about the teams prospect pool, "We feel that we’ve built a team through the draft now that can compete with any team on any given night."




Despite the White team’s puck possession early in the game, it was Otso Rantakari (Salerno & Quine) scoring for the Blue squad just 5:07 into the first period.  Camp invite, Miks Indrasis (Bertrand & Barzal) gave Team Blue a 2-0 lead in the second half of the period.  Adam Pelech showed up and brought his grit with a few nice physical plays and fellow BST, Stephon Williams was solid in net for the Blue team.  Kevin Lankinen played well in net for White despite surrendering 2 goals.



McAdam for Blue and Lankinen still in net for White to start the second period.  Sam Anas puts it up high to give Team Blue a 3-0 lead early in the 2nd period.  The White team gets a PPG off a sick feed from behind the net from Josh Ho-sang (Song) to Griffen Molino for the goal, 3-1 the score.  Sebastien Collberg (Barzal & Dal Colle) adds one and its 4-1 Blue off a really nice passing play to net the tally.  It’s the second assist for Barzal.  Undrafted, Sam Anas tucks in his second goal from behind the net for Blue to make it a 5-1 score.  Josh Ho-Sang sets up Anthony Beauvillier with another high light reel play to make it a 5-2 game after 2.



McAdam still in for Blue and Anthony Pupplo in net for White to start the third period. After some back and forth by both squads, Team White continued the pressure until they had a 5 on 3 chance for 1:27.  Joshua Ho-Sang to Anthony Beauvillier tallied again to make it 5-3 game late in the game.  Ho-Sang (Ole) chants rain down in the Barclays Center from the Isles faithful.  Team Blue defeated Team White by a 5-3 score in regulation.



In the skills competition, Hardest Shot was up first and Ryan Pulock ripped one at 105 mph. John Schaivo, a top roller hockey pro scored a sick lacrosse style goal in the shootout competition and Otso Rantakari netted the overall advantage for team Blue, for an 8-3 win.



Highlights included the play making of Ho-Sang, Barzal, & Dal Colle and a dark horse like Anas working hard to make an impression on the coaching staff.  Beauvillier was tenacious and looked lethal in front of the net while Indrasis should get signed to at least make some more noise with the BST.  I liked what I saw (when the stream wasn’t crashing) of D like Pelech & Rantakari.  Ryan Pulock didn’t have his best game, but Sebastian Collberg had some flashes of what Snow had spoken about when he acquired him in the Vanek trade.  Williams was solid in net to start for team Blue and McAdam got better for them as the game went on.  To me, Ho-Sang edged Beauvillier for the game MVP.


We can’t lose sight of the fact that it was a prospect game, but because it was, you can see some of the talent that will soon be fighting for a roster spot.  And once again, it makes me pleased to see how deep Snow has made the Isles system.  This doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to add a veteran or two on both sides of the puck, but I just don’t see it happening unless the right guy is available for the right price.  The Isles have built through the draft and added pieces here and there and they are much better because of it.  How much better will they be this season?  We shall see what they look like to start the season to have a better guess.






Isles Notes:



Former Isles goaltender, Anders Nilsson (Blackhawks) has been traded to the Edmonton Oilers and signed a 1 way NHL contract.


Some interesting side notes were the Barclays center boards were free of ads, the seats along the glass are 3’ higher than other NHL arenas. The Isles experimented with an alternate view of obstructed goal for affected fans on Jumbo Tron.


Per Rob Taub, “Aiden Salerno, John Schiavo : Blue, Michael Gilroy and Mike Marnell: White are the four players from LI playing in tonight's game.”



Thursday, July 2, 2015

Islanders Off-Season 2015: Free Agency, Part 1


Yesterday, day one of free agency opened and your New York Islanders announced 3 deals by 12:15pm.



They quickly addressed their need for a backup goaltender by signing 6’1, 220# Thomas Greiss to 2-year, $3 million contract. Greiss was with Penguins last season posting a 9-6-3 record in 20 games with a 9.08 Sv% and 2.59gaa.  It’s the 4th NHL team for Greiss who has also played for his native Germany on the international stage.  Credits include the 2006 and 2010 Winter Olympics, the 2010 World Championships and the 2004, 2005 and 2006 World Junior Championships.  Pierre LeBrun, “Kings made strong push on Greiss but he went with Islanders instead.”


I always thought Greiss was a good fit for the Islanders and his analytics matched the kind of guy they were looking for to back up Halak.  They either passed on Neuvirth or he wanted to play for Philadelphia based on the hope of becoming their starter.  Neuvirth got a two-year deal worth $1.5 M in year 1 and $1.75 million in year 2 which was comparable to the deal Greiss got from the Islanders.





Arthur Staple announced that the Thomas Hickey deal was made official. Hickey agreed to a 3 yr. contract extension worth $2.2M per.  Hickey was added off the waiver wire on January 15th, 2013 from LA and has filled in on the Isles blue line admirably in the roles he has been asked for.  Per islanders.nhl.com, “Hickey led all Islanders defensemen in games last season (81), set a career high in assists (20) and matched his career high in points (22).”  Hickey has 7 & 41 for 48 pts in 202 career NHL games for the Islanders. He has played for 2 gold medal teams (08 & 09) for Canada internationally and served as Captain in 2009.




Finally, 6’3, 225# F, Kirill Petrov agreed to a 1 yr, standard entry-level contract with New York.  Petrov was the Isles third round selection, 73rd overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft and has played in the KHL since 2006.  Petrov had 5 & 10 for 15 points with Kazan Ak-Bars of the Kontinental Hockey League last season. Per Islanders.nhl.com, “Playing parts of nine seasons in Russia’s top hockey division, Petrov has tallied 125 points (61 goals, 64 assists) in 318 games with Ak-Bars and Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk.”  Petrov has represented Russia 3 times in international competition.


Petrov was thought to be an early first round talent, but slipped in the draft due to his contractual obligations in the KHL.  The Islanders took a gamble and although he hasn’t reached that level in the K, they hope to see if his perceived potential will blossom with the chance to play with a much improved New York line up in the NHL. 



After the first two days of the free agency period, it seems very possible that Petrov & Pulock may be the only other roster additions the team makes.  This is unless an opportunity opens up via team’s cap issue or low cost trade for an Isles type of target.


The Islanders are about $10M under the cap and still need to sign F, Brock Nelson, so they still have some valuable cap space looking into next season.  The rumors of their desire to trade Michael Grabner (13 pts in 34 games in 14/15) and off load his $5M salary ($3M cap hit) are said to be true by insiders.  Especially after undergoing his second sports hernia surgery last season and seeing a decline in his “speed” game.  With these variables, the ability to now move Grabner is sure to factor into the future plan and is probably a limiting factor on the possibility adding another player via trade.





Isles Notes:



It is most probable that guys like Boulton, Kennedy, McDonald & Visnovsky have most likely been passed over for a future with the team and won’t be resigned.


Islanders sign six to two-way deals to restock the sparse forward cupboard and add/renew contracts in Bridgeport. 


Matt Donovan signed with Buffalo.

Aaron Ness signed with Washington.

Kael Mouillierat signed a two-way deal with Pittsburgh.

Brett Gallant signed with Columbus.

UPDATE:  Colin McDonald has signed with Philadelphia.


***


Check out the new shirt from my friends at Isles Army.