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

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Honoring the great "6"

This afternoon, the New York Islanders are playing the Edmonton Oilers. It seems fitting that this game was chosen to honor defenseman, Ken Morrow, inducting him into the team’s hall of fame. His banner will be raised to the rafters and bronzed plaque will be mounted on the wall outside the team’s locker room.

Selected by New York Islanders in the 4th round, #68 overall in the 1976 NHL Amateur Draft, Ken Morrow had 17 and 88 for 105 points and a +149 career tally.

As a Stanley Cup Champion with the Islanders, Morrow played from 1980-89, spending his entire career from on Long Island.  That included 4 consecutive stanley cup victories, 19 consecutive playoff series and 5 consecutive finals appearances.  He is the only player in history to win an olympic gold medal and a stanley cup in the same season.  Morrow was an assistant coach with the Islanders during the 1991-92 season and is the currently the director of pro scouting for New York.  Also a member of the famed Gold Medal team in 1980, Morrow is a member of the United States Hockey hall of fame.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Flame On!

I said something has got to give, didn’t I? 

After three more aggravating losses, terrible officiating, and injuries, your New York Islanders defeat the Calgary Flames 3-1 at the Nassau Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum tonight.

The shake-up in lines may have worked, at least for now in motivating and refocusing the Islanders.  More flagrant infractions by the opposition on Isles players seemed to spark the much-needed fire in the team's play.  I was pleased to see Matt Moulson, yes Matt Moulson react to a dangerous and disrespectful hit with the spirit that would make Trevor Gillies proud.  Moulson answered Stempniak’s shoulder to K.O.’s face with the authority it deserved.  Somehow, the Isles went man down as a result, but it needed to be done.  It is just another example of horrible officiating against the Isles.  And getting back to Gillies, I differ from some of my colleagues on his role with the Islanders organization.  Aside from all the intimadation and enforcer stuff, the team just doesn’t have the same swagger or fellowship without him in the line up.  Some guys are the soul of their teams and Trevor Gillies is that for the New York Islanders.

Andrew MacDonald, John Tavares and Brian Rolston scored for the Isles.  The offensive pressure increased as the game went on and really came to bear in the second period when A-Mac scored the equalizer.  From there, the Islanders seemed to find their groove and make better decisions.  Their momentum helped their confidence and when that happens, they are a dangerous team to play against.  Defensively, they played well.  What more could be said about Andrew MacDonald and Travis Hamonic?  They are so solid and do all the little things needed by key defensemen.  At +2 and +3 in the game respectively, they are key players in the Isles success.  Evgeni Nabokov played well in net making 29 saves on 30 shots and posting a .967 Sv%.

After 35 games played, the Islanders are 12-17-6.  And although they have gone 3-6-1 in their last 10 games, tonight’s effort could be something to build on.  The Moulson-Tavares-Okposo line was definitely exciting to watch.  They generated some exciting chances and were a problem for Calgary from the start of the first period.  The Rolston-Nielsen-Parenteau line made some noise as well.  Rolston came back from injury and helped the team with his play tonight.    P.A. Parenteau has definitely figured into the Isles offense in a big way all season long.  He came close a couple of times tonight.  The most interesting combination to me was Grabner-Bailey-Martin.  This line could be so explosive, it's scarey.  Grabner needs to fire on all cylinders and finish his rushes, and that will mean goals in bunches for the Isles.  With Bailey’s improved playmaking and Martins grit, I am looking forward to what might happen with familiarity.  I have enjoyed watching Martin’s game improve as the season goes on.  The fourth line of Wallace-Reasoner-Niederreiter has more grit, tenaciousness and offensive upside than most "fourth" lines.  Wallace has proven he is here to work and Niederreiter will overcome all the hurdles that have impacted him this season.  His improvement will follow his hard work and opportunities.

My biggest goats are Marty Reasoner and Mike Mottau.  These guys seem to be invisible for the most part until they turn the puck over or make a mistake.  Reasoner tries to make plays from time to time, but with a –15 rating, his 5 assists are hardly worth it.  I thought he would be an upgrade after free agency, but I was wrong.  The amount of young forwards I would rather see in his place are many.  Journeyman Center, Jeremy Collinton and forwards Casey Cizikas and Justin DiBenedetto could be given an opportunity to make an impact like Tim Wallace and David Ullstrom did.

Mike Mottau’s –9 rating and 2 assists on the year are also something to watch.  His sloppy play makes me wonder why a player like Dylan Reese cant get the real shot he deserves to make the team.  Reese would be an improvement over Mottau based on his play this season.  Matt Donovan would be another defensemen who has shown flashes of what could be.

I am hopeful that a top Defensemen or two can be acquired and perhaps another seroius offensive talent that would even out the roster.  I know the talent the organization has in Bridgeport, but the team on Long Island needs something to take the next step now without rushing any prospects.  Will someone rise up or come in and make an impact? 

We shall see.

Isles Notes:

David Ullstrom has been placed on the IR (retro to 12/20).

On Dec. 31, the Islanders will induct Ken Morrow him into the team’s hall of fame. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Isles Notes for 12/28 and FHZ9!

Isles lines today:

Moulson-Tavares-Okposo; Rolston-Nielsen-Parenteau; Grabner-Bailey-Martin; (Wallace) Pandolfo-Reasoner-Niederreiter.

Arthur Staple reports Rolston, DiPietro, Staios, Pandolfo practicing today with Haley skating in a yellow jersey.

Blake Comeau and the Calgary Flames are in town on Thursday.

And don’t forget:

Check out Fake Henrik Zetterberg, episode 9 called "Yeah, it's Like Sweats." A lot like that Tom Hanks movie Big:

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

ESPN's Snub and Isles Notes

Since ESPN walked away from NHL hockey after they lost the bid to Versus, they have limited their coverage and almost pretend it doesn’t exist.  Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy ( points out that ESPN’s year in review failed to mention those lost (or anyone else associated with the sport) to the hockey world this year in their retrospective sports tribute.

The Deaths of Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien and Wade Belak ( this summer in addition to the Locomotiv tragedy ( were great loses in the world of professional sports and to all of us as human beings and certainly deserved remembering.

Having worked at ESPN for a few years in the past, I encountered several great people, both from in front of and behind the camera. I found them to be passionate about their love of hockey.  I am in no way painting this “situational blame” with a broad brush, just agreeing with those who feel ESPN showed little class in this latest oversight in their piece.

Isles Notes:

David Ullstrom continue to follow concussion protocol; Jay Pandolfo is practicing and is close to return.  Michael Haley didn't practice today due to a contusion on his hand.

There were new lines at practice today.  (Remember, I still say something has to give.)

Moulson-Tavares-Okposo; Rolston-Nielsen-Parenteau; Grabner-Bailey-Niederreiter, Pandolfo; Martin-Reasoner-Wallace.

Arthur Staple reports Steve Staios and Rick DiPietro were on the ice as well prior to practice.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Diving You Say?

The Islanders got behind early against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday and despite a strong comeback attempt, weren’t able to even the score.

The real shocker came late in the game when Joffrey Lupul and John Tavares were fighting for a loose puck.  Lupul ended up sending Tavares crashing to the ice after a crosscheck to his face.  Tavares was angry at the play, but not as angry as he would be after the officials, (David Banfield and Don VanMassenhoven) called him for diving.  The diving penalty would also negate a warranted man up advantage for the Islanders.  I would say it’s a stretch for a player to be truly crosschecked in the face, to then decide to sell the infraction by embellishing it with a dive.  Tavares’ mentor and Isles assistant coach, Doug Weight showed his displeasure with the call.

It seems that the Islanders have had penalties called against them on a sliding scale by NHL referees, seemingly not able to catch a break on most nights.  The infractions committed against them on some nights that end up being not called seem far too numerous as well.  The reaction by the team might be that they disagreed with the call at the time and that the officials have a tough job while others have the benefit of replay.  That may be true, but you only have to watch some of these repeatedly blown calls and wonder when these officials will be held accountable.  You would never want to blame a penalty for a loss, but the wrong type of call can change momentum and result in an unfair advantage to the opponent and possibly result in a loss of manpower (Game Misconduct).  When they happen frequently, a player’s or a team’s patience would tend to wear out.

The Islanders need to refocus when the face their rival New York Rangers tomorrow at MSG for the second time in five days. 

Something has got to give.

Friday, December 23, 2011

More Of The Same?

In last nights game vs the Rangers, the Islanders were guilty of a few defensive breakdowns and mental mistakes.  Those misqueues undid any good things they were able to muster.

Nabokov played pretty well and I thought the team looked pretty good at times. What wasn’t very good was the defense and the "Jekyl and Hyde" type confidence that the team seems to have. Their in game confidence completely dictates their style of play and their opponents know this.

At certain times, they dominate and several players are able to contribute to the attack. They seem relentless and refuse to give up. Other times, they look unorganized and clueless. The bad passes through the slot and the lazy, robotic, no-look passing to a teammate in double coverage type incidents have been adding up lately. Towards the end of the game against the Rangers, Isles play by play man, Howie Rose remarked that the Islanders had gone seventeen minutes without registering a shot. That cannot be if they expect to contend in must win games.

Captain Streit looked a little out of sorts and I question some of his confidence in leading the team. While I have witnessed good things from him as a leader at certain times this season, he doesn’t seem to lead by example regularly and needs to be more vocal on the ice and during games.

While Michael Haley and Tim Wallace played with attitude, I felt the game was way to polite for an Isles, Ranger game. I was also a little "peaved" at the lack of physicality, even going back to the Winnipeg game when Al Montoya was run over by Kane, and no one took him to task. I think the Islanders need to come together once again and fight for each other on every shift of every game. When they do this, they seem to play better.

I read that Trevor Gillies is currently injured in Dee’s blog and I have respect for Haley and Martin, but the Islanders need to step it up now and make other teams frustrated to play against them. I feel that it starts with finishing their checks and intimidating their opponents. Players like Tim Wallace are good for the mix because their urgency to stay on the team motivates their desire to make an impact. I know the Islanders (and Bailey’s) play improved when Blake Comeau was waived, but they need to refocus their “commitment” on taking the next step as a team.

Their strong and improved play needs to last for a full game and they need more of the roster to start to contribute regularly again. John Tavares is struggling way too much. He is being battered and knocked down way too often. I am getting frustrated and want to see a steadying flow to the Islanders' rebuild. If the players on the roster wont get it done, I say the that team should continue to look to Bridgeport’s roster and the trading/waiver landscape to improve.

In the mean time, I’d be ok if the Islanders got a little miffed and played with an edge consistently. Maybe they could make strides if they came together like they were some sort of fellowship.  A group that bonded while battling some insurmountable task, while keeping focus on their ultimate goal.

Isles Notes:

Eric Hornick reports that Tavares-Parenteau-Molson have combined for 32 of the team's 72 goals (44.4%), and 80 of the 197 points (41%).

New York Islanders report that Coach, Jack Capuano says the same lineup will go tonight against the Leafs with Evgeni Nabokov in net.

Isles lines: Moulson-Tavares-Parenteau; Grabner-Nielsen-Okposo; Martin-Bailey-Wallace; Haley-Reasoner-Niederreiter.
Isles d-pairs: Streit-Jurcina; Hamonic-MacDonald; Eaton-Mottau.

Coach Capuano talks again about need for secondary scoring and he says there are things that have gone well and said the turning point was Gaborik's second period goal off the face-off the Isles watched film on before the game. He said it was a play they were warned about and should have been ready to contain it, especially with the players the Rangers had on the ice.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

One Step Forward, Two Concussions Back

Your New York Islanders improved to 11-14-6 and won a hard fought game against the Winnipeg Jets on December 20, 2011.  The last time the Isles franchise was out in Winnipeg was March 9, 1996.  The Islanders won 4-2, with Eric Fichaud in net stopping 38 Jets shots.

In last night contest, the Isles scratched and clawed to out duel another team trying to carve out an identity for them selves in the NHL landscape.  Jets goaltender, Ondrej Pavelec was solid again with 31 saves, but the Islanders managed to forge scoring chance after scoring chance until they (Parenteau and Grabner) were able to score.  Al Montoya was good again, but the Jets were equally resilient and tied the game at 2-2.  PA Parenteau and Frans Nielsen scored for the Isles in the shoot out solidifying the win after the Jets couldn’t score against Evgeni Nabokov.

After my last article ( on concussions, I had no idea that the Islanders would find themselves in the middle on such a situation, so quickly.  My point was that NHL players will need to respect and understand what the result of what a violent and selfish hit on a vulnerable player could mean to that player.  I understand the need to score goals and that hockey is a very physical competitive sport.  What I don’t understand is how you can do what was done to Al Montoya last night.  Would it have happened with Trevor Gillies in the line up?

To quote Dyan LeBourdais of, “Nabokov entered the game with 1:20 left in the second period for his first game action since Nov. 17. Al Montoya was run over by Evander Kane, who made no effort to avoid contact with the Isles netminder after taking a hit from Milan Jurcina. Kane took a two-minute minor penalty for goaltender interference, while Montoya left the game after making saves on 17-of-19 shots.”

I am disgusted with the play of Kane and of how rather than pulling up and bump the net off its moorings or try and veer wide away from the goaltender after his scoring angle was cut off so close to the net, he chose to continue his path and in my biased opinion, leave his feet and bowl over a fellow player in a vulnerable position.

Al Montoya is out indefinitely with a concussion.

What will the league do about the hit?

Isles Notes:

Travis Hamonic had a great game in front of his hometown crowd in Winnipeg.

Eric Hornick is reporting that the Islanders’ accomplished back-2-back shoot-out wins for 1st time since 2006 thanks to Frans Nielsen.

Islanders report that David Ullstrom is out indefinitely with a concussion.  (and Montoya)

Brian Compton is reporting that Brian Rolston has been placed on IR due to concussion and that Michael Haley and Anders Nilsson have been called up from Bridgeport on emergency loan.

And don’t forget: 

Fake Henrik Zetterberg, episode 8 is now LIVE! Find out what happened after the office party last week. Featuring DOT COM from 30 ROCK!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Impact Of Concussions On The NHL

con·cus·sion  [kuh n-kuhsh-uh n]  noun

1.  injury to the brain or spinal cord due to jarring from a blow, fall, or the like.

2. shock caused by the impact of a collision, blow, etc.

3. the act of violently shaking or jarring.

Travis Hughes of compiled a list of NHL players that are out of the line up due to being diagnosed with a concussion or suffering from concussion-type symptoms.  The list includes (at the time I wrote this article); Sidney Crosby, Claude Giroux, Mike Richards, Michael Sauer, Jeff Skinner, Joni Pikanen, Kris Letang, Chris Pronger (out for the season), Zbynek Michalek, Marc Staal, Robert Bortuzzo, Jay Beagle, Milan Michalek, Brayden Schenn, Radek Martinek, Marek Zidlicky, Nathan Gerbe, Peter Muller and Nino Niederreiter.  Other players injured from the Islanders are Steve Staios and Brian Rolston.

Players have been either forced to retire or be limited in the amount of games they were able to play over the course of a given season - all due to the after effects of a concussion.  These man games lost must amount to millions of dollars lost each season by their perspective clubs.  Rick DiPietro has been the most prominent example of this condition in the Islanders organization over the past few seasons.  DiPietro suffered a concussion in 2007 in a game against the Montreal Canadiens when he came out to cover a puck and collided with Montreal F Steve Begin.  Since then, DiPietro has missed significant periods of time with concussion type symptoms.

In April of this year, a major University of Calgary study on consciousness was concluded after research was conducted over 7 NHL seasons.  The study was led by sports medicine researchers with the aid of Kinesiology professionals. (Kinesiology addresses physiological, mechanical, and psychological mechanisms as they relate to physical activity.)  The study can be found on  Its major finding was seeing that although the rate of injuries had evened out over the 7 seasons within the study period, the number of days or time lost increased with each concussion.

The study concluded that, “Headache, low energy or fatigue, memory loss, and abnormal neurological exam were significant predictors of time loss for players with concussions.”  The study was able to isolate and track the progression of the injury and estimate trends that would follow an athlete after he had suffered his initial head trauma.  "Our results suggest that there was a trend toward a gradual increase in post-concussion time loss over the study period," said lead author Dr. Brian Benson, a researcher and physician at The Sport Medicine Centre in the University of Calgary's Faculty of Kinesiology. "  More should be done to educate everyone involved about the potential adverse effects associated with continuing to play while symptomatic, failing to report symptoms to medical staff and failure to recognize or evaluate any suspected concussion."

The fact that concussions have come to the attention of sports teams and their medical staff’s will help players be more accurately diagnosed and treated to a more efficient level by team doctors.  Where, in the past “getting your bell rung,” and sitting out was an embarrassment, today’s recognition of the chronic deterioration in an athletes’ quality of life are the issue if precaution is ignored.  The possibility of ongoing head injuries getting so pronounced, that they cause traumatic brain injuries is a serious concern for anyone involved in competitive athletics.  Repeated mild brain injuries may cause cumulative damage and lead to more serious and possibly fatal issues.  NHL icon, Bob Probert passed away from chronic traumatic encephalopathy in July.  KoC spoke about it here.

“In the United States it is estimated that roughly 1.6 to 3.8 million sports and recreation-related brain injuries take place each year.  The study looked at 559 concussions suffered by NHL players in regular season games between 1997 and 2004 and was based on physicians' reports from every team in the league.

The estimated incidence was 1.8 concussions per 1,000 player-hours. The post-concussion symptom reported most often was headache (71%), followed by dizziness (34%), nausea (24%), neck pain (23%), low energy/fatigue (22%), blurred vision (22%), amnesia (21%), and loss of consciousness (18%).

Typical time loss in days increased 2.25 times during the study period for every recurrent concussion.”

Seemingly the more times a player suffered a hard blow to the head or was violently jarred during body contact, the chances of re-experiencing the effects of the initial concussion increased.  The chances of “re-injury” became easier as it related to the symptoms were greater as time went on and could take longer to recover from.  "The findings also suggest that more conservative or precautionary measures should be taken in the immediate post-concussion period, particularly when an athlete reports/experiences a post-concussion headache, low energy/fatigue, amnesia, recurrent concussion, many different postconcussion symptoms, or has an abnormal neurologic exam," conclude the authors.

The NHLPA and NHL have been working together and sharing data to help combat the condition by looking at the rules of the game and the types of equipment that factor into sports collisions.  When the league wanted to increase scoring, the rule changes made the game faster, cut down on obstruction and restricted goalies from playing the puck.  This meant more urgency for speed and as the players get bigger and stronger with each passing year, those bigger, stronger and faster players play a physical brand of hockey. 

Body checks and physical play in today’s game have been addressed at the start of the season by League Officials, Board of Governors.  Things like hits to the head, hitting from behind and leaving ones feet to lay a hit on an unsuspecting player have been a focus to eliminate from the game.  With the drastic increase in speed on today’s game, these are good changes to make.  A major issue that hasn’t really been addressed to my satisfaction has been the players own equipment.  With equipment, I mean shoulder pads and particularly, helmets and the overall head protection policy. 

The shoulder pads have hard plastic domes and plates that can be used as a weapon of sorts when delivering a hit.  While they greatly reduce chances of injury to the player delivering the hit, the hard plastic and shape of the “cups” can often cause more damage than the jarring hit alone.  These type of “protections” need to be removed or modified to become safer for the players involved.

NHL players are now required to wear helmets.  But what qualifies a helmet as “fastened to head” is laughable.  Some players say that secure fitting helmets are uncomfortable so they loosen the chinstrap.  From watching thousands of NHL games, I have seen several players hurt as their helmet slipped out of position as they fell to the ice.  A majority of players do not use any type of face shield.  Face shields are made in different sizes, some barely shielding the eyes while other coming down to partially protect the nose.  Players complain about them fogging or obstructing their vision.  In addition, the cages worn after a player has been afflicted by a serious injury are also scorned for similar reasons as mentioned above.  The popular style of helmets worn by NHL players are light shells with open cell foam designed to disperse light to medium impacts to the head.  They are more of a preventive type of helmet that would be designed to come into play if something inadvertently was to strike the players head.  To me, this type of helmet is not enough.  I feel it’s the main reason for so many head injuries in the game of hockey.

Helmets that meet the criteria approved by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) are used in most collegiate and professional contact sports and have been readily accepted as the standard for protective athletic equipment.  Modern sports helmets are designed to employ tolerance curves.  They are measured to determine impacts that would cause brain injury vs those less serious in nature.  Data is collected and minimum standards are applied for an average standard of acceptable protection or susceptible risk. 

The NFL recently met with helmet manufacturers to evaluate the safety and efficiency of different helmet designs.  A study showed that 40% of NFL players were using a helmet that was among the lowest rated certified helmet for safety and protection.  I wonder what the actual numbers on NHL injuries based on brand and style of helmet worn would tell us?

A new type of helmet that is stronger, lighter and uses a closed cell or better quality foam is needed for the NHL.  A mandated face shield or cage that provides protection, but still allows players to be recognized to the satisfaction of the NHLPA could be investigated as well.  More attention to the rules and improvements on the playing surface should be employed to provide a more complete picture for the league.  These are all necessary actions to combat what is rapidly becoming the biggest enemy of the game, the head injury.

I do not believe that a ban on fighting is necessary in the NHL.  Rules and regulations can be put in place to discourage fighting if a ban is seen as unavoidable in the future to the Board of Governors.  I believe that more efficient equipment and helmets that provide a better level of protection should be the main priority of the league.  All forms of technology, civilian and military could be investigated to find the best solution.  Perhaps all the major equipment brands could be made to compete for exclusive placement of the best product available to the league.  The need to protect NHL players as human beings should be of paramount importance.  There has to be a way to cut down the amount of gifted athletes that are having their careers cut short, and the others that are affected by head injuries damaging their quality of life while they are so young.

A more complete awareness by the league and more importantly, by its players would help immeasurably in combating the concussion legacy.  I have quickly changed my mind about Brendan Shanahan, and how he and his staff have been doing a great job enforcing the rules and punishments against offending players. They provide a valuable system to instruct players who need more guidance on how to deliver a hit on the ice.  More respect between players in the heat of competition should be exercised as well.  Players need to be fully accountable for their playing style and their demeanor on the ice.  Actions like hits to head, leaving your feet in a check and hitting from behind, especially into the boards cannot be tolerated.  I understand wanting to lay a solid hit on your opponent, but I would never do so if it would not just injure the player, but affect his future quality of life. 

Caution has to be exercised at all cost to avoid a dirty hit that was a deliberate attempt to injure.

Wild Win in Minnesota

After three tough losses where they were outscored 14-8, the Islanders defeat the first place Minnesota Wild in a 2-1 shootout win.  The Isles improve to a 10-14-6 record going 5-3-2 in their last 10 games.  As a whole, the team continues to improve, but still needs to outwork their opponents to win on a consistent basis. Al Montoya bounced back with a solid effort (.952 sv% and 20 saves) and the first line looked very good manufacturing 16 of the Islanders 36 shots on goal.

Andrew MacDonald and Nino Neiderreiter returned to the line up.  A-Mac scored the lone regulation goal with Frans Nielsen putting on the go-to left, right, backhand slam to clinch the win.

The next three games are away against the Jets on Tuesday and Rangers on Thursday, then home vs the Maple leafs on Friday.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Milbury Allegedly Assaults 12yr old Child

The Associated Press reported that Mike Milbury has been charged with assaulting and threatening a 12-year-old Pee Wee hockey player in Brookline.  Brookline Police Capt. Tom Keaveney said Milbury was an Assistant Coach on his son's team when he allegedly attacked a player on the opposing team.  Milbury denies the claim.

Jason Brough of ProHockey Talk reports the following statement was released by Mike Milbury's lawyer, Daniel Rabinovitz, on his client's behalf:

"Mike Milbury denies any allegations that there was an assault of any kind. He simply intervened in an altercation between his son and an opposing player. No one was struck, no one was injured and no one was threatened."

Milbury is a hockey analyst for NBC, CBC and NESN.

An NBC Sports spokesperson released a statement: "We are aware of the story and are gathering the facts. We will not have any further statements until we know more information."

Keep in mind this is the same Mike Milbury who attacked a fan with his own shoe during his playing career with the Bruins.  If true, this recent meltdown would be the latest mistake in a long series of ill-tempered incidents Milbury is known for.  Milbury served as Islanders Coach and General Manager for some of the darkest times in team history, from 1995 - 2006 where he made trades and decisions that were scorned by fans and professionals in the hockey world.

(Update: Mike Milbury will not face charges after a Massachusetts clerk magistrate ruled Friday, 12/23 that there's not enough evidence to criminally charge him after his confrontation with a 12-year-old youth hockey player.)

Isles Notes:

Arthur Staple is reporting the New York Islanders returned Kevin Poulin and Calvin de Haan to Bridgeport. Andrew Macdonald, Mark Eaton and Nino Niederreiter are traveling with the team; Brian Rolston (Concussion), Steve Staios (Concussion) are not.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Isles Notes from 12/15

Per Isles, Calvin de Haan and Kevin Poulin will be emergency recalls from Bridgeport. de Haan has gone 2-6-8 in 22 GP at Bridgeport this season. Poulin is 6-7-0, 3.37 GAA, .892 SAV%. Poulin will get the start vs Dallas tonight.

Staios (upper body) out, DiPietro (groin) on IR. Nabokov not ready to return. He re-tweaked his groin. Nino Niederreiter is still out with concussion type symptoms. Rick DiPietro has been placed on IR with a left groin strain. He is out indefinitely. Retroactive to Dec. 3.

Eric Hornick, ex-Isles beat writer Alan Hahn joins the MSG team, primarily as a broadcaster for the NBA Knicks, but may see time covering NHL hockey

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Isles Notes from 12/14

D Steve Staios didn't skate today. Capuano says it's a maintenance day.  Per Arthur Staple, Steve Staios was actually examined for a possible concussion.  He will most likely be out at least for tomorrow vs. Stars. Aaron Ness or Calvin de Haan will be called up from Bridgeport.

Per Dmitry Chesnokov, One of the most notable (or not) absentees from Russian WJHC team is Isles Kirill Kabanov. I was told team didn't want a "problem player."

Per Islanders, C Ryan Strome officially named to Team Canada for the 2012 World Junior Championship's, Dec. 26 - Jan. 5 in Edmonton & Calgary.

In other news:

My buddy Rich Bocchini, former radio broadcaster for the Bridgeport Soundtigers works with a great bunch of guys and a solid organization in the Houston Aeros now. Great clip.

And don’t forget:

Fake Henrik Zetterberg 7!!!  The famed Office Party episode is now LIVE!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Top Isles Prospect Trivino Arrested

According to an article by Art Jahnke in BU Today, Islanders 2008 2nd-rd, 36th overall pick Corey Trivino has been arrested and charged with 3 counts of indecent assault & battery after he allegedly attempted to enter the room of a female student, kissing and groping her against her will.  The 21 year old Trivino was also charged with night time breaking and entering and assault with attempt to rape.  He was said to be intoxicated at the time.

Trivino was the leading scorer in Hockey east this season and he has been kicked off Boston University’s hockey team.  Head Coach, Jack Parker says Trivino has been permanently removed from the team. “He is no longer associated with the BU hockey team.”  Trivino, said Parker, may have been the team’s most valuable player and will be very difficult to replace.  It is being reported that Trivino was warned once before about another bout of intoxication and that if a second one occured, he would be removed from the team.

Trivino is a talneted forward with scoring ability who uses his vision and creativity to set up team mates in the offensive zone.

Corey Trivino has pleaded not guilty. Bail was set at $25,000 or to surrender his Canadian passport to authorities.

Only time will tell what the future will hold for Mr. Trivino.  I hope he gets the help he needs and he can recover from this. 

I also send my best wishes to the female student involved in this horrible situation.


Update:  Former Boston University men’s hockey forward Corey Trivino is no longer being charged with assault with intent to rape, the most serious of seven charges stemming from a Dec. 11 incident, due to insufficient evidence, officials said.  B.D. Gallof mentions, “Trivino: still faces 6 felony charges: 3 counts of indecent assault and battery and 3 counts of breaking and entering in nighttime.”

Isles Notes:

Brian Compton is reporting that Travis Hamomic's game misconduct from Saturday has been rescinded.  Go figure.

Per Arthur Staple, 2011 5th-rd pick D Brenden Kichton among first cuts from Canada's World Jr camp. Ryan Strome still there.

Islanders line up vs. Canadiens

Forwards: Moulson-Tavares-Parenteau; Grabner-Nielsen-Okposo; Ullstrom-Bailey-Rolston; Martin-Reasoner-Wallace.

Defense: Streit-Hamonic; Jurcina-Staios; Mottau-Reese.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Isles Notes for 12/12

A five minute major and a game misconduct were given to Travis Hamonic because Orpik hit his face with his own stick.  What more can be said?  A terrible game changing call by the officials. 
Per Arthur Staple, Micheal Haley was returned to Bridgeport.  This is most likely due to the strong play of David Ullstrom and Tim Wallace. 
Per Sound Tigers, Goaltender Joe Fallon has been released from his PTO.  Fallon's release comes following Kevin Poulin being returned by the Islanders yesterday evening.

Per Islanders, Nino Niederreiter participated in practice today, wearing a red non-contact jersey. Montoya and Nabokov (off IR) are in the nets.  I agree with Bill Both, since taking the reigns, Montoya has led the Islanders by example.  He has been a stabilizing factor in net.  It breeds confidence throughout the line up.

Dylan Reese continues to impress as a call up.  Do you think he deserves a regular spot on the Islanders?

Releasing Blake Comeau seems to have been the best transaction of the season so far by Garth Snow and sticking with Josh Bailey seems to be a great example of Snow's patience.

Jay Pandolfo remains on IR (foot) for 4-6 weeks retroactive from 11/26. 

Andrew MacDonald (leg) is still on IR for 2-4 weeks retroactive from 11/29.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Perseverance and Isles Notes for 12/10

Your New York Islanders have improved to 9-11-6 despite a second extra session loss to the Blackhawks. The Isles did a lot of good things in that game, including coming back from a 2-0 Chicago lead to force Overtime. In Overtime, a John Tavares pass to Milan Jurcina was intercepted by Isles D Steve Staios. Staios, in an attempt to create a scoring opportunity, mishandled the puck resulting in a Chicago fast break that made the Isles pay for their mistake. Marian Hossa’s shot was answered by Al Montoya, but the rebound came to a wide open Patrick Sharp, who buried the puck into an open Islanders' net. From, Al Montoya said of Sharp’s OT goal, “Hossa made a good fake, looks like he’s going to pass, throws it off the pad and Sharp was right there. It’s a picture perfect goal.”

It was a tough break for the surging Islanders who saw promising Defensemen, Travis Hamonic, score his first goal of the year set up by D partner Steve Staios. Staios then helped tie the game with a nice shot that Michael Grabner redirected past Chicago net minder, Ray Emery. These were big goals from an Islander Defense that needs to contribute offensively for their team to take the next step.

The Islanders are 4-0-2 in their last 6 games to capture 10 of 12 points in recent weeks. Tonight, the Islanders will face the Pittsburgh Penguins for the fourth time this season. Thus far, the Isles have a dismal 0-2-1 record vs the #Pengwhines.  The effort will need to be there tonight to change things up in the Isles' favor.  Pittsburgh is wrought with key injuries, so now is the time to do damage. 

Go Isles, GO!  ("Rudy" reference)

Star forward, Sidney Crosby will not be in the line up for “precautionary” reasons. He was hit hard several times in the 3-1 home loss vs the Boston Bruins on Monday. Crosby then took Tuesday off and participated in a full practice on Wednesday. During the practice, he collided with F Chris Kunitz that must have hurt Crosby, or at least brought on symptoms associated with post concussion syndrome after a collision. GM, Ray Sherro said that Crosby didn’t feel “100%.”

According to Alan Robinson of the Canadian press, Crosby came up negative in concussion testing after suffering symptoms of dizziness, sensitivity to light and loud noises.These are the symptoms that are often associated with serious concussions, the same factors that kept the star player out of the NHL for 10 months.  Per Chris Botta, Kris Letang and Zbynek Michalek are out tonight.  Jordan Staal will also be out with a lower body injury.

The investigation on fighting and brain injury continues to be a matter of contention with the media. KoC touched on the subject after the tragic deaths of 3 respected NHL enforsers that died this summer. The article can be found here.

Isles Notes:

Per New York Islanders, Coach Jack Capuano says the Isles will have the same line-up tonight vs the Penguins as the one they had vs the Blackhawks on Thursday.  They will be wearing the controversial Third Jersey.

Al Montoya will start in goal with Kevin Poulin backing him up.

Matt Martin will be playing in his 100th NHL game tonight.

Tim Wallace is moved from emergency call up to regular call up, no doubt based on his excellent effort and strong play thus far. Looks like Michael Haley will be scratched. More on Wallace can be found here.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Isles Notes for 12/9 and FHZ6!

According to Arthur Staple, Michael Grabner (groin) and Evgeni Nabokov (groin) skated in practice today; Rick DiPietro (groin) and Niederreiter (concussion) did not.  Stars D, Mark Fristic suspended for 3 games for hit on Niederreiter.  Brenden Shanahan explains: .  How long Nino will be out is TBD.

Coach Jack Capuano said that Grabner would be reevaluated after practice today and is day-to-day on availability.

And don’t forget:

It’s Fake Henrik Zetterberg, episode 106.  It’s road trip time!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Winning Them Over

Of the Islanders, Anthony Stabile tweeted, “This team is beginning to win over the dozens of fans here tonight.”

Tonight, a team that looked terrible at times this year looked calm and confident despite whatever happened on the ice, including a mistake that lead to a 1-0 Tampa lead to start of the game.

Simply put, the Islanders played solid and disciplined hockey tonight to beat the Tampa Bay Lightening by the score of 5-1 with 5 different goal scorers; John Tavares, Matt Martin, Milan Jurcina, David Ullstrom and Matt Moulson. The most complete effort they have managed to produce all year.  They were patient and you saw the confidence in every part of their game.

Dylan Reese, Tim Wallace and David Ullstrom with his first career goal were really impressive tonight.  As Assistant Coach, Scott Allen said between periods, credit Brent Thompson and his staff for their ability to get the younger players in the Islanders system from Bridgeport so ready when called upon to play in the NHL.

Josh Bailey looks like a much different hockey player.  He played with poise and grace, like a player ready to break out.  JT got one and Matt Moulson continued to buzz and Montoya fought hard. 

Let us hope all these things are true for the long run.

Lets go Islanders!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Isles Notes for 12/5

Matt Moulson has been named NHL first star of the week. reports, “Moulson scored 6 goals in three games, including a single-game high 4 goals Saturday against the Dallas Stars. He also had an assist, and extended his point-scoring streak to four straight.”

New York Islanders announce Jay Pandolfo has been placed on IR retroactive to November 26 and Katie Strang reports the Islanders have placed defenseman Andrew MacDonald on IR; he is expected to miss 2-4 weeks with a right leg injury.

Michael Grabner (Groin/ day to day) and Rick DiPietro (Groin/ out indefinitely) were not on the ice for practice today.

G Kevin Poulin and F Tim Wallace will be called up on emergency loan from Bridgeport.

Evgeni Nabokov participated in his first full team practice since injury.

Brian Compton reports that Dallas D, Mark Fistric faces discipline hearing Tuesday for his hit on Nino Niederreiter and Bob McKenzie is saying that if Fistric is suspended, it will be for leaving his feet/charging, not a Rule 48 violation.

Dallas Stars Mark Fistric suspended 3 games. Brendan Shanahan explains:

Today’s Lines: Moulson-Tavares-Parenteau; Rolston-Nielsen-Okposo; Haley-Bailey-Ullstrom; Martin, Reasoner.

NHL News:

The new four-conference format gets approval by NHL Board of Governors today.  According to Dan Rosen on, The makeup of the yet-to-be-named four conferences is as follows:

* New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, Washington and Carolina

* Boston, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Buffalo, Florida and Tampa Bay

* Detroit, Columbus, Nashville, St. Louis, Chicago, Minnesota, Dallas and Winnipeg

* Los Angeles, Anaheim, Phoenix, San Jose, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Colorado

“The top four teams in each conference will make the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The first two rounds will be played within the conference, with the first-place team playing the fourth-place team and the second-place team playing the third-place team in the first round. The winners will face each other in the second round.

Once the playoffs are down to one team from each conference, the NHL will re-seed based on the regular-season records of the four finalists. No. 1 will play No. 4 in one semifinal and No. 2 will play No. 3 in the other. The winners of those two series will face each other in the Stanley Cup Final.”