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

Friday, December 2, 2016

Islanders Making Waves & BST Star Wars Night

Our New York Islanders are now 27th in the league, last in the Metropolitan division and the Eastern conference with 22 pts and a 9-10-4 record. The Isles have collected points in 4 OT or SO loses and those have made somewhat of a difference at this point, keeping them close enough to be dangerous. And while a lot has gone wrong, (goal scoring struggles, holding leads, lack of physicality on the check, missing PP with an up and down PK) afew good things have been happening amidst the things continue to plague the team. They have definitely started to trend towards the positive, like a 3 game winning streak which included an OT win vs Calgary, a comeback win vs the Stanley Cup Champion Pens (scored twice in 3 seconds tying NHL record) and a blowout 3rd period, good for a 3-0 shutout of the Caps last night. It was Jaroslav Halak’s (4-6-4, 2.86gaa & .911 Sv%) 40th career shutout. Andrew Ladd and Jason Chimera have started to contribute more on the score-sheet and the team’s recent flurry of scoring big goals, very late in games (twice in last 3) is a trend we would love to see continue.

The recent surge has certainly given ownership a reason to stay behind GM, Garth Snow and Head Coach, Jack Capuano despite bad press throughout the NHL media pool and even fan petitions to encourage change behind the bench. The Islanders are playing better offensively and making a difference on the fore and back check, and that is translating on the ice. Eric Hornick mentioned that the Islanders have scored 1st in the last 4 games (3-1) and have won 3 straight for the first time this season, putting them 1 game out from an NHL .500 record. He has also pointed out for quite some time that the Isles magic number is 3. When they score 3 goals, they win games. They are 8-1-1 when doing so this season (37-4-2 last season) and can dictate the flow of a game, bringing more consistent play instead of struggling to stay in the mix.

While rumors abound on the team looking to find a top winger to play with franchise player and Captain, John Tavares, recent line tweaking has yielded some results. The Nelson-Tavares, Bailey line and opened some space and started to give the Islanders a little more bite. With Tavares, Nelson and Bailey all leading the team in points (18,15 & 14), it was definitely worth a try. Defensively, the Isles are enjoying an impact from their D joining the rush and playing well as a unit. They have contributed 47 points and Scott Mayfield has 2 of those points in 2 games played. Ryan Pullock and Adam Pelech look comfortable on the ice and the team has several players that have value on the trade market. They are a tight-knit group that spoke up on behalf of their coach, so we will have to wait and see what happens in the next few games as chemistry may continue to develop.

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers are enjoying a 13-6-0 record and will play Binghamton on Saturday night at 7pm. Eric Hornick, “Bracken Kearns continues to lead the Sound Tigers in scoring (6-11-17), while Steve Bernier leads the team in goals with eight goals.  Toews is tied for the AHL rookie assist lead with those 12 helpers. Christopher Gibson, who hasn't played since an injury November 5th, remains the team leader in victories (6-0-0) while McAdam is now 5-0-0.”

On Saturday, December 3rd, the Islanders major AHL affiliate, Bridgeport Sound Tigers will host a Star Wars night to benefit the Bridgeport Hospital Foundation. The team will be raising money and auctioning off special Star Wars themed jerseys for this great cause. The Sound Tigers have asked different organizations to support them on the night and my wife and I felt a duty to respond. A few members of my international Star Wars charity group will be there, in costume with me to help bring some spirit and smiles to the night. I’ll be the one dressed as a 181st Tie Pilot, please stop by and say hello!

Isles Notes:

Sunday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings will be the first time the Islanders see Frans Nielsen as a member of the opposition, since leaving the team as a free agent this summer.

12/1 Seidenberg off IR, Pelech (upper) on IR.

Per Eric Hornick, “JF Berube dressed as the back-up goalie for the sixth straight game.” Berube has yet to play for the Islanders this season. Thomas Greiss is 5-4-0 with a 2.47gaa and a .919Sv%.

Per Brendan Burke, “PK this season: First 6 games: 95.4% Next 8 games: 61.5% Last 8 games: 91.7% I offer no reason nor explanation, just numbers.”

Per IPB, “The Islanders are said to have a team value of $385 million, which is good for the 18th spot in the NHL, according to Forbes.

Forbes calculated the value of the team to have increased 18 percent from last year. 
New team owners, Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin, paid $485 million to become majority owners, replacing Charles Wang, who is now a minority investor in the team.” 

Per Daniel Friedman, “@forbes also suggests team will leave Barclays after 2017-18 season.”

Thomas Hickey scored another O.T. game winner against Calgary on Monday to give the Islanders a 2-1 win. Per Eric Hornick, “Thomas Hickey became the first defenseman in Islander history to score four regular season overtime goals.”
D, Adam Pelech left Monday night's 2-1 overtime win over the Calgary Flames with an upper-body injury. Scott Mayfield in for Pelech against Pittsburgh on Wednesday, 11/30.

On 11/28 IN 1979: Billy Smith of the @NYIslanders became first goalie in NHL history to be credited with a goal.   

11/23 The Islanders beat the Ducks in a bizarre 14 round shoot out. Thomas hickey scores a controversial goal in 12 round to keep NY alive until Nick Leddy scored the winning goal.

Sound Tigers Notes:

11/29 The @NYIslanders have activated Ryan Pulock (D) off the team's IR list and loaned him to the #SoundTigers.
Per Brian Compton, “Pulock needs a couple of games to get back into game shape. Injury kept him off the ice for a bit.”

11/16 D, Jesse Graham and goaltender Eamon McAdam have been reassigned to the team by the New York Islanders from the Missouri Mavericks (ECHL). In addition, goaltender Josh Robinson has been released from his PTO and returned to Missouri.

NHL Notes:

NBC to televise 2017 Honda @NHL All Star Game - orig. scheduled for @NBCSN, first time on net TV since '04.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Accountability, Isles Style

Peter Botte’s latest article said Isles fans should hold Jack Capuano and Garth Snow fully accountable for the current state of the team. I think we can all get behind that. Everyone involved, from the players on up should be held accountable for their role in the current state of the team, but exactly what will that mean for the New York Islanders in Brooklyn on Friday when they face the Stanley Cup Champion, Pittsburgh Penguins? Without something crucial finding the means by which to change, the struggle would seemingly remain.

On October 25th, I wrote an evaluation of the Isles 6 games into the young season. Their shortcomings were real but there was a list of things that were working and some that needed improvement, from a team that believed they had the horses to become a serious contender in the east. The leadership and consistency that they needed night in and night out to compete with the likes of a Montreal, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay or a suddenly surging New York Rangers team (13-4 including Michael Grabner with13 pts in 16 games) was in short supply. Per Michael Schuerlein, “Too many things that worry me about #Isles among them: Rudderless, zero accountability, goal scoring, depth, Tavares's future, and silence”

On November 3rd, Jack Capuano reacted defensively to a question asked in a post-game interview about his level of concern for the slide the Islanders found themselves on. “Where are we going to get point production? Took 134 points out of our line up (Nielsen, Okposo & Martin) that we lost, and now we’ve got to find a way … to get some balanced offense on our hockey team. That’s my concern.” Whether his team has stopped playing for him or the chemistry lost or changed has been too much to overcome right now, the 2015-16 Islanders aren’t living up to expectations. Expectations of the fans, the new ownership and for themselves. Losing a Frans Nielsen was huge. Losing the points and fire provided by Kyle Okposo and the heart of Matt Martin is something that will hurt unless you, as the organization, do something about replacing it. Garth Snow made some moves that he felt were suitable to do just that, but so far, haven’t delivered. And ultimately, its his show to run.

The Islanders are now 16 games into the season, 6 points (-11 diff) and 7 spots out of a playoff race that traditionally shows a strong indicator of late season playoff positioning by the Thanksgiving break that is just a week away.  All the things that needed to improve like balanced scoring, holding on to leads, improving PP, playing well late in the game by their veteran players just isn’t happeneing. Alan Walsh, an agent for Jaroslav Halak (3-5-3, 3.09 gaa & .904Sv%) and JF Berube (and PA Parenteau) got his clients into the news when he complained the goaltenders don’t get enough practice within a three goalie system to stay sharp. The Islanders responded by saying the impending free agent, and client to Walsh, Jaroslav Halak was available on the trade market. Last year’s hero, Thomas Greiss is struggling behind his team with a 2-3-0 with a 2.71 gaa & a .909Sv%. JF Berube continues to wait for his turn.

As of last night, their scoring is 14th (40), a PP that ranks 26th (10.4%) in the NHL, their goaltending is 24th (49) in goals against, tied for 1st for times shorthanded (64). Top signings, Andrew Ladd (2 & 1 for 3 pts and a -4) and Jason Chimera (1 & 5 for 6 pts and -6) haven’t made the intended splash as of yet and the future young guns of Lee & Strome have 7 points combined so far.

So what this all boils down to is either a coming of age for a team who feels they can take the next step or a team that will cling to an inefficient incarnation. One built from the plans and ideologies that promised a rebuild from the ground up with home grown talent and promising free agents. I think they should be better than their record and they, despite how badly they have played, aren’t out of it yet. But none of that matters.  What matters is that that unless you fix what is broken, things will continue to worsen. Those things that need to be addressed are team leadership and results from the depth of talent. We all know the potential of a Michael DalColle, Josh Ho-Sang and Mathew Barzal. But with a John Tavares in his prime with 2 years left on his $5.5M per contract, the Islanders need their top veteran talent to complement their superstar forward and right now, that is not happening.

Brian Compton posted a quote from Capuano on if the roster needs a boost via trade. This time, Capuano said, "It's on me. I have to find the right combinations for us to find some offense." A quote that has a little different connotation that the one we heard on November 3rd insinuating that the losses of the club outweighed the gains and he was working with what he had. Garth Snow has done some great things and based on the misfiring machine he currently puts on the ice, can stand to make a few more tweaks to his hockey club. Rumors abound about Capuano being days away from dismissal, about Snow on the hot seat and more jeers about the ‘same old Islanders.’ How will the new majority ownership proceed in lessening mediocrity of a team that now sits in last place within the eastern conference?

Mercifully, the series with the Lightning is over. A 3-0 sweep by Tampa Bay that saw New York undone and embarrassed at times, outscored 14-2 over 3 games. An overall refocus and a new outlook is sorely needed and it needs to start with a balanced attack. Eric Hornick points out that the Isles are 0-7-2 when they can’t manage to score 3, so the offense just isn’t carrying their share of the load. If it wasn’t for the defense, the Isles wouldn’t be scoring nearly as much. The blue liners have 13 (& 33 for 46pts) of the 40 goals the team has scored this season.

The Islanders seem to be out of sync and going through the motions, almost waiting for something to change. But good things don’t always come to those who wait. We should know. We have been waiting for quite a while.

Aey, Islanders fans?

Per Bob McKenzie: "I don't think Garth Snow has any intention whatsoever of making a coaching change at this time."

Isles Notes:

Per Arthur Staple, “Talked to a couple Lightning players and asked about the Barclays Center ice. "It's 10 times better than ours."

11/14   Travis Hamonic returns to Islanders line up.

Dennis Seidenberg was placed on IR with an upper-body injury (out indefinitely). Scott Mayfield was recalled on emergency basis.

11/9     Mathew Barzal was returned to the Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)

The Sound Tigers have signed goaltender Josh Robinson to a PTO due to injury to Christopher Gibson.

11/7     Travis Hamonic was placed on the team's IR list. Adam Pelech was recalled from Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL).

10/25   Steve Bernier cleared waivers and was assigned to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Per Brad Kurtzberg, “Former #Isles goalie Kevin Poulin signs a one-year deal with Astana Barys of the #KHL.”

Per Magnus Larsson “Former #Isles Sean Bergenheim joins ditto Matt Donovan in Gothenburg's SHL team, Frölunda Indians.”

New plans for Coliseum revealed per Newsday.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Islanders 666

My focus for today's article is like something off of a certain Iron Maiden albumThe Islanders are 6 games into the season and I’ll look into the 6 reasons that they improved and the 6 areas in which they need to focus on to be keep it going. 666 may be the number of the beast, but it’s also the subject of my team analysis. Scream for me Brooklyn!

Your New York Islanders are 3 & 3 after 6 games. They have 6 points and currently sit in the Metro’s 4th spot (10th in east), only 2 points out of 1st. After a tough start, going 0-2 and suffering an agitating loss to the rival New York Rangers, the Islanders have been doing some good things. And those things are making them harder to play and giving them more chance to win. Mr. Eric Hornick sums it up well to those who panicked after the slow start. In the “Last 5 isles games: 3 wins, and 1-goal losses to defending Western Conference Champ and defending Presidents Trophy winner. Time to exhale.”

So let’s go over my top 6 reasons they have climbed back up to a .500 record and made some noise doing it.

1) The offense came together in game 6 and scored 6 goals, half of what they managed to tally in the first 5. And they scored 3 of them in just a 3:08 span against Minnesota. Isles Captain, John Tavares has 5 points in 6 games (along with Josh Bailey and Brock Nelson) while Alan Quine has found a spot with Brock Nelson and Anthony Beauvillier, scoring 5 points on Monday.

2) The revamped “4th” line has been excellent once again. Nikolay Kulemin replaced Matt Martin, joining Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck and the trio has netted some big results for New York. They have 8 points in 6 games, Cizikas, some big face-off wins and the line continues to get a lot of ice time in crucial situations.

3) Eric Hornick reminded us what kind of 9 game tryout Rookie Anthony Beauvillier is having. Beauvillier has 5 points (1-4-5) in five NHL games and in just 47:25 of ice time. “Beauvillier has recorded his five career points He has the highest points per 60 minutes played ratio (6.33) of any player in the entire NHL (minimum 3 games played).” He’s blocking shots, finishing checks, understanding the flow of the game and has been working extremely hard to do all he can to prove he belongs right where he is. Wow.

4) Cory Wright touched on the contributions of the Isles D adding 5 goals over the last two games, a trend that led the team to an 18-8-3 record when getting a goal from a defenseman. That’s especially big going into this season because if Isles can score throughout the pairings (has combined for 6 & 6 for 12 points -Hornick), the contributions will put other teams on notice. Especially if a game changer like Johnny Boychuk (4pts in 6 games) can continue his pace and add a few more shorthanded GWG’s.  The PK is the leagues best, with an impressive 95.5% (21 of 22 on the Ssn.) and continues to preserve their chances while man-down.

5) The team goaltending seems to be picking up where it left off last year and out of this summer’s World Cup tournament. Jaroslav Halak (backed up by Thomas Greiss) kept Team Europe in every game of the tourney and helped them reach the finals against Canada. The tandem is holding the fort as the new look Isles find their groove with a combined 2.54gaa and a .909 Sv%. If an improving defense can play in front of a confident keeper tandem, the Isles can concentrate on scoring goals on the rush. While they rank 14th in goals against per game (2.83), Halak and Greiss have kept them in the mix, especially in close games.

6) The Islanders are home and making the most of it. Yes, we know the back and forth struggles about the ice at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, but we also know that the Isles killed it at home last season (25-11-5) and with 12 of the 1st 17 games at home to open the season, they need to continue to pile up the points early and often. They are 3-1 in Brooklyn so far and will look and will look to add to the win column when they face Montreal Wednesday, on Bill Torrey Bowtie night.

The Islanders definitely have some room to improve. Here are my 6 keys.

1) Their PP once again shows shades of what hampered the team for most of last season. Currently, the man advantage is anything but. The Isles rank 29th in league at 6.7% with a single PPG to show in 6 games. This cannot continue or changes must be made anywhere they can.

2) Adding Andrew Ladd over the summer was huge. It gave JT a competent and legit scoring winger with the leadership qualities and winning experience that he has been lacking in a line mate. He got his first point as an Islander on Monday, ending a 5-game pointless streak which according to Erick Hornick, is the longest of his career to start a season. Something isn’t clicking.

3) Matthew Barzal had a tough open to his NHL career. He made mistakes, found the box a couple of times and looked frustrated in his pro debut against the Capitals. And that was only his first shift. But seriously, he had a right to be nervous and his team mates helped him laugh it off, but Barzal has an opportunity to make the squad as a regular if he improves. He may need more time with the Thunderbirds or he just may need another chance.

4) It’s still very early, but the Islanders are 0-2 on the road so far. The good news is they won’t be seeing much of it to start the season, but that will change on the back end when they will be on the road for 22 of the last 34 games away from Brooklyn, so the road game needs to come together.

5) The islanders, like many other NHL teams are much more successful when they score first. They are 2-0 with 1st goal, 1-3 without so far this year. Falling behind early will take away the team’s ability to dictate flow and control the game, so the slow starts and mistakes in the defensive zone must be minimized.

6) I mentioned the offensive punch they found in their last game earlier, but the fact is that if it wasn’t for the defense, the offensive output by the team so far has been very thin. After the moves made this summer, they need to show more than they have thus far in the season. Riding out a slim lead with a struggling PP won’t get it done and while another impact trade could still happen, the guys in the room need to find some more chemistry, learn to mesh and find a way to score goals throughout the forward core. Currently, the Isles are 18th in goals per game at 3.00.

Let’s hope they keep the flow going and at the same time, tighten up on the holes in their game while developing a better team chemistry. The last game was a hard fought win, but the Islanders need that kind of effort more consistently, game in and game out.

“Can I believe that what I saw that night was real and not just fantasy.”

-\m/      \m/-

Isles Notes:

The New York Islanders have signed Steve Bernier to a one year, two-way contract. Bernier is on waivers today and will report to Bridgeport if he clears. “Bernier, 31, scored six points (one goal, five assists) in 24 games with the Islanders last season. He also appeared in six Stanley Cup Playoff games as the Islanders advanced to the second round.”

D, Ryan Pulock is out 4-6 weeks (lower-body injury) suffered in the 1st period of Friday's 3-2 win over the Coyotes. It was Pulock’s first call-up pf the season from Bridgeport.

Per Eric Hornick, “Monday’s Isles win was the 1,500th in Islander regular season history.”

Nassau County Executive, Ed Mangano, arraigned on federal corruption charges.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

2016 KoC New York Islanders Season Preview

Our New York Islanders finished the preseason playing .500 hockey. John Tavares and Jaro Halak came back to play the final game of the primer along with a mostly veteran line up against Washington, but fell flat in a 4-0 loss. The preseason was a back and forth showing the potential sum of its parts, but the record was secondary to the evaluation of both vets and prospects.  Although players like Mathew Barzal, Anthony Beauvillier & Joshua Ho-Sang made a strong impression, apparently free-agent signing and “projected first liner”, P.A.Parenteau found himself of waivers, only to be snatched up by the New Jersey Devils a little later today. It’s a surprising move to many, but a good one if it makes the team better. That answer is yet to be determined. B.D. Gallof noted, “Fact that PA can't make cut on isles does speak very highly of their tracking tech new array of players plus higher expectations.” Jason Chimera is skating with Tavares & Ladd on the top line now, but Jack Capuano wouldn’t comment on the game 1 line up as of yet.

Scott Mayfield, Bracken Kearns and Ben Holmstrom cleared waivers and were assigned to Bridgeport along with Kyle Burroughs, Michael Dal Colle, Matthew Finn, Christopher Gibson, Jesse Graham, Josh Ho-Sang, Ross Johnston, Devon Toews and Stephon Williams. The club's final roster moves, prior to closing training camp today, included loaning defensemen Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock to the AHL club in Bridgeport. Steve Bernier, Colin Markison, Tanner Fritz, Patrick Cullity and Connor Jones were released from their PTOs over the pre-season and enforcer and room leader, Eric Boulton was placed on injured reserve (along with Stephen Gionta & Mikhail Grabovski) retroactive to Oct. 4. Word from Coach Capuano is Jaro Halak (illness) may not be able to play the opener against the Rangers on Thursday. The match up will be only the 2nd time in franchise history the Isles open against the rival Rangers. A team who they swept (outscored 14-7) last season, for the first time in franchise history.

So the management and coaching staff studied their X’s & O’s, and came up with the opening day 23 man New York Islanders roster:


Josh Bailey
Mathew Barzal
Anthony Beauvillie
Jason Chimera
Casey Cizikas
Cal Clutterbuck
Nikolay Kulemin
Andrew Ladd
Anders Lee
Brock Nelson
Shane Prince
Alan Quine
Ryan Strome
John Tavares


Johnny Boychuk
Calvin de Haan
Travis Hamonic
Thomas Hickey
Nick Leddy
Dennis Seidenberg


JF Berube
Thomas Greiss
Jaroslav Halak

My impressions coming into the season are ones of excitement and an all too familiar feeling of uncertainty.

I am certain that Andrew Ladd and Jason Chimera will add value and experience to the team and they should make up for most of what the team lost in free agency. Nikolay Kulemin will get his chances (along with a list of others) to try and fill in for the vacancy left by Nielsen, but that is a tall order to fill. Josh Bailey is a good, and often maligned player by the fans. But he does stack up points and comes through from time to time, like it or not. Cal Clutterbuck and Casey Cizikas are money as far as I’m concerned and their value is shown by their versatility and impact.

John Tavares looked solid in the World Cup and he should be hitting his stride a lot sooner than other players on team, which can never be a bad thing. I was impressed with the play of the Isles 2015, 1st round picks, Mathew Barzal & Anthony Beauvillier and it was evident that the coaches were as well. Now I’m all about an NHL ready prospect getting time over an aging vet, but only if they play up to the level the team needs.  To me, both Barzal and Beauviller have the talent and drive, but I’m not yet sold on their ability to execute regularly. That usually comes with experience and the Isles want to win now. I assume the chance is theirs as long as they continue to meet expectations.

Eric Hornick reminds us that Barzal was drafted by Garth Snow and the Islanders after the Bruins passed on the 13th, 14th & 15th picks from this summer’s draft. The Isles traded Griffin Reinhart to the Oilers for the 16th (Barzal) and 33rd picks. Reinhart hasn’t really developed the way the defensively starved Oilers had wanted him too and was sent down to their AHL affiliate on October 7th. Snow followed up that same round by flipping the 33rd pick along with his 72nd pick for the 28th (Beauviller) first round selection. So heading into the season, Barzal and Beauviller are still here and Reinhart has been sent down and seemly not in Edmonton’s future plans. Advantage, Snow.

Several players will have the spot light, but need to contribute more. Shane Prince will have his opportunities, but is coming off a lower body injury to start the season. He made quite the impression after being acquired from Ottawa in March of last year and will need to do more of the same this season. Alan Quine is another guy who I love to cheer for. The former BST has all the drive necessary to stay on this team and makes the most of his limited size by playing a quick and hard checking game. More will also be expected from the likes of Anders Lee and Brock Nelson, but I assume they are happy with that challenge. Much like Ryan Strome, who recently re-upped with New York, the trio of young vets need to consistently find their offensive touch and become better all-around players to help the Islanders take the next step.

The renewed commitment of Travis Hamonic is some of the best news Isles fans had experienced in quite same time. The fact is Hamonic is probably the most valuable player on the team not named Tavares and his defensive game is matched only by his grit. Nick Leddy is just a consistently good, all around blue liner who fits well with this team and adds veteran skill to any top D pairing. Johnny Boychuk is an elite defenseman who should be poised to ramp it up again this season and deliver an offensive punch so needed on the PP. Thomas Hickey is another solid player who gives you his best in any role he plays. Calvin de Haan is good when he limits his mistakes and had his best, longest & most healthy season with the team last season. The arrival of Dennis Seidenberg is probably the reason that Ryan Pulock was sent back to Bridgeport. I am not alone in wondering what benefit the minors will serve Pulock, but management added Seidenberg to add quality veteran depth and that is what he will bring. Pulock will probably have his chance due to injury and may never go back after that.

The islanders once again carry a third goalie on their roster instead of a 7th defensemen. Jaroslav Halak & Thomas Greiss will mind the net for New York and J-F Berube will add that 3rd goalie security. Halak wants to be the starter and was until his health gave Greiss an opportunity to shine last season. I expect much of the same again and for the team’s sake, one of them needs to step up and lead by example into and through the playoffs. Berube will have his chances and is obviously valued by the team, but may find himself traded later in the season if the right opportunity presents itself, especially with expansion looming next season.

The team has a few question marks and a few guys who need to fill the voids they were always intended to fill. There is a dire need for consistent special teams play, a strong checking game and clean defensive play if they have any chances to compete with a Washington or a Pittsburgh this season. And the opportunity for error is slim with 12 of their first 17 games at home in the Barclays Center. While home ice can serve them well, facing 22 of the last 34 games on the road including a brutal 9 game road trip from February 21st through March 11th isn’t the time they want to find themselves struggling to get make-or-break points.

I think the Islanders have the potential to finish 2nd or 3rd in the Metro and may even add an impact player as the season goes on. I expect their bar to be raised and pressure to be felt from the ownership on down, to win now. I also expect that anyone in the organization who doesn’t share that mind set will see how badly they want to win. And at their own expense.

John Tavares agrees. “Some may have more talent, but there is no excuse for anyone working harder than you.”

Isles Notes:

Per @generalfanager, “New York Islanders Cap Space: $1,387,859, Total Cap: $71,612,141 Active Roster: 14F/6D/3G.”

John Tavares and Team Canada defeated a strong performance by Jaroslav Halak (with Thomas Greiss) and Team Europe to win the 2016 WCH tournament.

Tony Stabile, “Ilya Sorokin has played 39 KHL games the past 2 seasons for CSKA Moscow during that time he has given up 39 goals and has 13 shutouts.”

NHL Notes:

Former Isles D, Brian Strait was waived by the Winnipeg Jets after signing as a free agent this summer.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Islanders Camp, Preseason & Adding Seidenberg

There has been a lot happening since the signing of Ryan Strome, so let’s take a look at some of the recent goings on in & around Islanders’ Country.  We’ve heard about the improved ice surface at the Barclays Center, select Isles games airing on one of WFAN’s 50,000 watt radio stations next season and a renewed enthusiasm between Brett Yormark, the Brooklyn brass and the new Islanders ownership group led by Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin.

Our New York Islanders training camp is in full swing and the team has already played 3 preseason games. They had a 3-0 win (Prince, Ho-Sang, Dal Colle with Berube & Gibson in net) and made things happen against the Flyers on Monday.  But since, have dropped a pair of lackluster split squad games on Tuesday to the same Flyers (4-0 L) with a prospect laydened roster and then to the rival Rangers (5-2 L, Chimera & Leddy) on Tuesday due to a lackluster PP (0/6) and PK (1/3).  Jason Chimera and Andrew Ladd made their Isles debut and some of the young guys have made a little noise on the ice.  Mathew Barzal, Josh Ho-Sang, Michael Dal Colle, Anthony Beauvillier & Ryan Pulock got some looks in big moments for the Islanders so far and have done some good things.  I am particularly impressed with how well Barzal has looked and find it encouraging that Ho-Sang has taken ownership of his mistakes in camp last year and seems to be refocused and making an impression.  Seeing Ryan Strome and Shane Prince move the puck well and drop the gloves this early in preseason is encouraging. Especially since they are two of the guys the team needs to step up in place of the missing Okposo, Nielsen and Martin.  I am anxious to see what D, Scott Mayfield can do with his time in camp and although todays signing of Dennis Seidenberg adds veteran depth to the blue line and it will certainly make winning a job very difficult for the spirited Mayfield.

Earlier today, Darren Dreger mentioned on twitter that Seidenberg (1 and 11 for 12 pts in 61 games last season with Boston) was likely to choose the Islanders ahead of 7 other teams that were vying for his services.  A little later, the Islanders added the veteran D man on a one-way, 1 yr, $1M contract and a little more experience and grit to their back end.  While Seidenberg, 35, has had some difficulties staying healthy over the last few seasons, it a could be a great deal for New York, who may benefit from the Stanley Cup winning familiarity between he and Boychuk from their time with the Bruins.  Seidenberg is currently playing for Team Europe with the Isles goal-tending tandem in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey finals against John Tavares and Team Canada.  He has 224 points in 758 NHL games and has a vast amount of International Olympic, World Championship and World Cup experience on his hockey resume.

Arthur Staple mentioned, “With Seidenberg signing, Isles have 24 one-way contracts (including Grabo). Presuming Pulock sticks, someone has to go before season starts.”  

What's up next for Snow and Company?

Isles Notes:

Mikhail Grabovski (upper body, 3/16/16) has been placed on IR while Steve Bernier, Connor Jones and Patrick Cullity all signed professional tryouts (PTO's) on Monday.

Islanders John Tavares is pitted against Jaroslav Halak (and Thomas Greiss) in the World Cup Finals.  Canada has a 1-0 lead in the best of 3 game series final. Tavares has a goal and 4 assists in 5 games for Canada so far while Halak has a looked very good, stopping 173 out of 190 shots faced with a .947 Sv% in 7 games.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Done Deal: Ryan Strome Re-Signs With The Islanders

Arthur Staple announced that the New York Islanders and Ryan Strome had finally agreed to terms on a two-year deal, $5M deal this afternoon.  The 2011, 5th overall 1st round selection was coming off his entry level deal, turned down the team’s qualifying offer and only had until Thursday morning to sign with the Isles or sit out the season, a long-time team rule instituted by former majority owner, Charles Wang.  Brock Nelson waited around last season until the final countdown to finally sign a 3 year, $7.5M deal.  I’m glad to see that Strome, Nelson and Ander’s Lee are locked in and are still part of the future plans for New York. I hope to see them develop even more and contribute in big ways for the team.

Strome, 23, was 8 & 20 for 28 points in 71 games last season with New York and had a 4-point tally in the 2015-16 Stanley Cup Playoffs (8 pts in 15 career playoff games overall). Last season was considered an off-year based on the expectations of the team and those Strome had for himself. It came just after a dynamic 50-point season the year before, where he posted career highs in goals (17), assists (33) and points (50).  He certainly should be motivated to make some more noise once again next season and answer his critics.  Strome has an excellent opportunity to make an offensive statement along with the rest of the 2016-17 team after the departure of Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen and what they brought to the score sheet.

Stromer is an AHL All-Star (49 pts in 37 games with the BST in 13-14) and has represented Canada at the 2012 and 2013 WJC internationally.

Isles Notes:

Former Sound Tigers, Colin Markison and Tanner Fritz agreed to a Professional Tryout (PTO) with the Islanders.

Former Islander, Clause Loiselle has been named Hockey Operations Consultant for the team. Loiselle has served in a management capacity for the Coyotes, Maple Leafs and Lightning organizations in addition to a role with the NHL as Associate Director of Hockey Operations.

World Cup Notes:

Islanders' Jaroslav Halak is 2-0 so far with 1 shut out in the first round of the World Cup for Team Europe.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Islanders Talk To Gionta, Represent In 2016 World Cup.

Earlier today, Arthur Staple reported that the Islanders are in talks with C, Stephen Gionta on a PTO.  The soon to be 33 year old Gionta had 1 and 10 for 11 points in 82 games with the New Jersey Devils last season (avg. 12 min/game) and has been a part of their system since 2005.  While the news is sure to raise a few eye brows of a few fans, most feel it’s strictly a move to add depth.  If a season long agreement is in the cards, it would most likely be a one year, two-way deal, but I could also see a reasonably priced one-way NHL contract as well.  The 5’7 Gionta is a smaller, but experienced player who skates well, brings energy and shouldn’t hurt a team who still has question marks on a few of its young prospects and where they will fit into the scheme going into this season.  

UPDATE: Gionta agrees to a PTO with Islanders on 9/12.

As my buddy Ian pointed out, Ryan Strome still isn’t signed and we all know what happens if a player on the Isles roster isn’t signed by the start of camp on the 22nd. He sits out for the year, ala Sean Bergenheim.  Staple reports the two sides are still working on a deal and there doesn’t seem to be any real concern by either side on getting Strome signed in time.  Garth Snow has done this kind of thing a few times before and would continue to try and add serviceable players in lieu of giving up assets for a reserve player like he did with ex Devil, Stephen Bernier last season.

In other news, John Tavares (Canada), Nikolay Kulemin (Russia), Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss (Team Europe) have been named to their national teams in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.  The preliminary games are being played now to fine-tune line ups and try to build chemistry for this year’s tournament that runs from 9/17 through 10/1.  Jaro Halak was pretty much left alone in net for Team Europe in last night’s 4-0 exhibition loss to a younger and faster, Team North America.

I remember going to both USA wins (Rus. and Slov.) at MSG in September of ‘96 when the Americans eventually beat Canada to win the Cup in Montreal a short time later.  It was awesome to experience live and watching the games on television got me and all my Rangers fan friends to get along and cheer together for a few days.

Check out this year’s tournament, currently in exhibition play if you haven’t already.


I miss you Buddy.

R.I.P Hades.