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

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Preseason or Tune up?

The Islanders will have their final two preseason games this weekend.

Fri.      Sept. 30         7:00 p.m.        @ NEW JERSEY     (PRUD. CNTR)

Sat.     Oct. 1              7:00 p.m.        vs. BOSTON (WEBSTER BANK ARENA)
Due to a prior commitment this weekend, I won’t be able to cover the games here on KoC, but I will try and write something up and review the games on Monday.
The game vs. the Devils should be interesting based on the last meeting.  The Islanders won in convincing fashion and the game vs. Boston will continue where the rookies left off.  I have no doubt they will be compeditive and spirited contests.
With more vets on both rosters, it will be more of a tune up game than a preseason game and approached more seriously.  Go Islanders.

Isles Notes:’s Katie Strang reports that Andrew MacDonald (hip) expects to play one of next two preseason games according to Coach Capuano.  Brian Rolston is questionable.

Both Jurcina (groin) and Rakhsani (knee) went to see doctor this morning; Capuano said Rakhshani's knee injury seems the more serious of two.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Isles Notes from 9/28

Isles Notes:

The New York Islanders placed 5 players on waivers today for the purposes of sending them down to Bridgeport of the AHL.  The players involved were Forwards, Marcinko, Frischmon and Wallace along with Defensemen Wishart and Reese.

Islanders will Honor the fan favorite 1992-93 Team on October 29 vs. the San Jose Sharks.  Isles alumni from that team that will be present include Pierre Turgeon, Steve Thomas, Benoit Hogue & Patrick Flatley.

Nov. 19
Boston Bruins
Ed Westfall
Dec. 31
Edmonton Oilers
Ken Morrow
Jan. 14
Buffalo Sabres
Patrick Flatley
Feb. 11
Los Angeles Kings
Kenny Jonsson

According to a statement released by the NHL today, Player numbers will be added to the front forehead (centered) location of all player helmets at the start of this season.  The new number placement is designed to aid on-ice officials, broadcasters, et al. by providing an additional point of player identification.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Islanders vs. Flames, Preseason Game 3

In the first period, Nabokov looks a little rusty with a few of close calls trying to play the puck out of the net.  Donovan looks pretty good again thus far, but as a squad, the Isles look a little off.   Slow and scoreless period.  Shots are 7-4 Flames.
Rhett Rakhshani starts the second with a nice rush, but is denied.  Isles keep giving Flames chances and they capitalize.  Too many man down situations.  DiBenedetto continues his strong play.  Nabokov looking more focused.  Shots are 16-9 Flames, making Karlsson look good.
The Islanders really need a hero to step up and make an impact in the third to get something started.  Mikko Koskinen now in the net for the Islanders.  Strome and Kabanov trying to create some energy early in the third period.  Flames score again.  Young Islanders look lost, fall to Flames 2-0.
The Islanders seemed to be playing catch up for most of the game.  They gave away too many power play opportunities to Calgary.  I realize they had the minimum number of NHL players (8) on the roster for this game to evaluate prospects and bubble players, but I thought they would have given more of a fight.  Things just couldn’t get on track tonight.
Milan Jurcina left the game with a strained left groin and Rhett Rakhshani out with a left knee injury.  The amount of injuries this preseason is upsetting.  Certain players seemed to be hit more than others.

Matt Donovan and Justin DiBenedetto were the best Islanders on the ice.  They are really making a case for a roster spot.  Strome and Kabanov made an impression with their efforts as well.  I have seen an improvement in Ullstrom's game since the start of camp.  I am a fan.  Frischmon and Staios looked strong again.
Nabokov improved as the game went on but really needs to not force himself to play the puck so much.  Koskinen played well in the period.
Nabokov 16/17, Koskinen 5/6.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Islanders vs. Flames Preseason Preview

Here is the projected lineup against the Flames found on



Donovan-de Haan


Some things to look for tomorrow night are Marty Reasoner making his Islanders debut, has Trevor Frischmon made an impression thus far?  The more Kirill Kabanov and Rhett Rakhshani, the better for me.  Trevor Gillies vs. Dion Phaneuf.  Anton Klementyev has been developing his game slowly, but is it too slow for Islanders’ management?
Nabokov will get his long awaited start for the Islanders.  We all know it’s a preseason game, but Isles fans will wait and see how he performs.  I know this, it will take a lot of great play to undo the damage Nabokov did last season when he refused to play on Long Island.  He explained it was a misunderstanding, and now he is excited to be here.  Once you are embraced here, the greatest fans in the world will get behind you.  Sometimes though, they never get behind you.  Ask Kirk Muller.  Will Nabokov be embraced?  We shall see.
Capuano to the Islanders’ website, "He’s (Nabokov) played so much hockey and he understands we want to give the young kids a look as well. We know what he’s going to bring to the table he’s going to play, I don’t know if he’s going to play the whole game out there right now, but he’s going to play a majority of the game and as we move on he’s going to play more and more."

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Islanders - Devils, Preseason Game 2

In the first period, the Islanders played well, but seemed to misfire while they attack the Devils trap.  At times, they chase the puck and looked unable to settle down.  Aaron Ness, Nino Niederreiter and Travis Hamonic look strong so far in the game.  Just when it looked like things might not be going so well, Michael Grabner makes a beautiful play to Kyle Okposo who rushes in for a nice goal past Hedberg.  To make things even better, Nielsen to  Moulson, then a beautiful cross crease dish to a wide open Mark Streit, 2-0 Islanders.  Montoya playing well, but has been lucky as well with a post and defensive clears on some rebounds, until the Devils get on the board towards the end of the period.  2-1, Isles.
As the second period begins, Frans Nielsen and J.T. team up for a nice goal in front of Hedberg, 3-1 Isles.  That’s 3 goals on 8 shots so far.  Power Play much better with the “regulars.”  Half way through the second, Kevin Poulin takes over the Isles net.  The Devils turn up the pressure on the “fresh” goaltender, Isles resilient as a team thus far.  Streit to Staios for the goal to make the score 4-1.  Matt Martin leaves the ice after Jansens hit.  Gillies answers the hit with some of his own on Jansen.  Isles have the momentum now and are turning up the pressure.  Devils reeling.  After a close breakaway from Grabner, Moulson breaks in to make it 5-1.  Matt Martin has returned as Devils make it 5-2.
Streit with 3 points (1g, 2a), Nielsen and Moulson each with 2 points (1g, 1a) so far.
Epic battle, round 2 from Gillies and Jansen.  Gillies is a monster.  Third PP goal from Matt Moulson off aTravis Hamonic feed.  6-2 Islanders.  Poulin looks comfortable and composed in net.  Hedberg makes a couple of great saves to keep the score where it is, but it is too late.  The pressure by the Isles is consistent straight through to the finish.


The Islanders looked good in several areas of their game tonight.  The top players are impressive tonight and the system in place looks great.  Their aggressive fore-check and speed unravel the Devils trap.  Their transition play and special teams were much better in this game, with more of the core group represented.  Eight Islanders had at least one point and outshot the Devils 26-25.
Mark Streit showed why he was missed last year and revealed to any onlookers why he was chosen for captain.  The Isles showed composure and kept out of the box, the opposite of what they did in game 1.  Michael Grabner brought more of the speed he displayed all of last year.  Tavares, Moulson, Neilsen were strong as well.
Montoya and Poulin were solid.  I am as confident as I can be that the goaltending will not be a concern this season.  Montoya was 8/9 and Poulin was 14/15


Isles - Devils, Preseason Game 2

Here is the projected lineup against the Devils found on
Matt Moulson, John Tavares, Nino Niederreiter
Michael Grabner, Frans Nielsen, Kyle Okposo
Jay Pandolfo, Ryan Strome, Tim Wallace
Matt Martin, Josh Bailey, Trevor Gillies
Streit, Steve Staios
Mark Eaton, Milan Jurcina
Aaron Ness, Travis Hamonic


Al Montoya
Kevin Poulin

This will mark the first time Mark Streit will captain his New York Islanders in a game situation.
In addition, we will get to see Niederreiter paired with Moulson and Tavares on the first line.  I believe Niederreiter is ready to make the jump to the regular Isles roster.  Ryan Strome will also be interesting to watch.  So far this preseason, he looks pretty solid and just might be kept up for the 8 or 9 games to start the season, similar to the look the team got with Niederreiter last year.
Aaron Ness has played pretty well so far and may continue to make himself noticed.  Tim Wallace, former Pittsburg pick up will get his first serious look by the Islanders staff as well.
The tandem of Montoya and Poulin will be interesting as well.  Montoya is coming off his break out season as a pro last year and will want to compete against DiPietro and Nabokov to take a regular spot on the team.  I think he is the real deal and will make it tough, but that can only be good for the fans. 
Poulin is healthy after last year’s knee cap injury and had showed poise and ability beyond his years last season when called up.  The one most considered to be the crown jewel of talented Isles goalie prospects, Poulin will no doubt start in Bridgeport this season while keeping one foot in the Uniondale locker room.  Do not ever count him out, even with names like DiPeitro and Nabokov.

Isles Notes:’s Katie Strang reports that D Andrew MacDonald (hip surgery), C Marty Reasoner (knee) and F Kirill Kabanov (wrist) all skating with non-game group. F Rhett Rakhshani was also on the ice.
According to the New York Post’s Larry Brooks, Rangers are looking into the possibility of signing former Islander, Chris Campoli as a stop gap D for an injured Marc Staal.
Update:  Campoli has agreed to a 1 year $1.75 Million contract with the Montreal Canadiens.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Islanders – Bruins, Preseason Game 1

In the first period, the Isles played well; except for too much time on the penalty kill.  Dylan Reese impresses with a solid effort tonight.  He looks like he belongs here in every way.  Reese has two excellent goals on a good goalie in Thomas.  Bruins have most of their big guns on the ice tonight.  The “undermanned” Isles competing well against the Stanley Cup Champions and leading in the game 2-0.
Rick DiPietro seems to be settling in very quickly.  He seems more relaxed in his positioning and more proficient with his economy of movement than he has shown in quite a while.  He put together a very good period and really seems focused on the game while making saves on all 11 shots he faced.  It’s obvious he feels healthy for the first time in a long time.
The second period has more of the same.  Ullstrom continues to have a strong game, but can’t seem to finish with a goal.  Decent play, but too much time given on the PK and it cost the Islanders the lead.  After a rebound and a deflected shot bouncing off an Islander to the front of the net evens the score for Boston,  The Bruins turned up the tempo and started to control the play.  They succeded in reversing the play of the first period until a nice effort by Marcinko and Pandolfo set up Frischmon for a goal that ended the second period.  DP has stopped 20 of 22 shots giving the Isles a 3-2 lead after two periods of play. 
Newsday’s Arthur Staple is reporting F Jeremy Collinton left during the second for an undisclosed injury.  It was later reported to be a groin injury and he would not return.
In the third, Anders Nillson gets the call to defend the Islander net.  Two nice cross cease set ups help Boston take the lead for the first time in the game half way through the third.  The Bruins find a way to turn up their intensity level and they get the result they want.  After scoring two more goals in the last 5 minutes, the score was 6-3 Bruins.  The Islanders spent too much time chasing the puck in the third and seemed to lose control of the game throughout the period.


I definitely saw some positives from tonight’s game.  DP looked very good throughout his time in net.  Dylan Reese showed me something as well.  In the first two periods, The Isles had some good passing and good movement into the offensive zone.  Several players contributed.
The low point of the game was spending too much time, man down.  The Islanders kept letting Boston back into it and it cost them later in the game.  That, coupled with a good effort by the Bruins led to the loss.  I am sure the Islanders will be prepared for tomorrow night.

Oh well, bring on the Devils.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bring On All of Em'

Here is what the lineup found on the Islanders' website, may look like for the first pre-season match up vs Boston.  It has a large sampling of Soundtigers, which should make it an interesting challenge for those involved.

“The young kids have just as good a chance as some of the older guys, it’s just a matter of where we see them after the five games,” Capuano said to the teams website. “Is Bridgeport going to be a place we feel they’re going to develop and help this organization in the future or is their time now? That is a decision that Garth (Snow) and management will sit down and talk about.”



Donovan-de Haan



I will love to see if McNeely will continue to show the stuff he had in the rookie games.  He could be an exciting, unexpected wildcard in the race to make the big squad.   It will be the first time Pandolfo, Staios (and Frischmon) will see action as an Islander in a game situation.  It’s all about chemistry and how they will fit in.
But I am most anxious to see DP in action.  I am pulling for him big-time.  Having DP, Nabokov and Montoya compete while Poulin, Nilsson and Koskinen breathe on their necks from behind will make for some great competition.  As a fan of the Goaltending position, I am excited to see what can happen on both levels.

Isles Notes:
F Mitchell Theorett and F Rhett Rakhshani have been sidelined from concussions, but were on the ice today per Newsday’s Arthur Staple.

C Marty Reasoner and D Andrew MacDonald skated in their first full practice for both players.
F Brian Rolston missed today's session, but should be ready in a few days.

F Kirill Kabanov is day-to-day with a wrist injury.

Anthony Stabile gives a nod to KoC on Twitter

tonystabile #Isles fans, please check out @Knight_of_Cups_ blog My friend Joe does a real nice job with today's big news

Thanks Tony!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Streit is lucky #13

The Islanders held their 2011-2012 media day today.  They announced their selection for the next Captain.
My prediction for the 13th Isles captain was Streit.
All Star Defensemen, Mark Streit was named the 13th Captain in Islanders history today.  This marks the first time a Swiss born player was given the honor in the NHL, much like it was the first time a Swiss born player was selected to an NHL all-star team when he represented the Islanders in 2009.  Streit has captained the Swiss Olympic team and Swiss National teams, so he knows how to inspire and is an experienced leader.
“We have a great chemistry and our future looks bright,” Streit told New York “The future is now. We want to win games. I think we should put the rebuilding part behind us and go out and show what we can do… We are kind of an underdog but we want to do some damage, we want to win some games.”
Streit was the consensus choice of many fans and bloggers since the summer started.  I wonder if Kyle Okposo is a little down about not being chosen.  If he is, I am sure he would never speak out against the teams decision.  Okposo was my second choice for Captain.  His contributions to a once struggling Islander team and regular hard work on the ice have really made me notice his passion and pride for being an Islander.  I am sure his time will come, even before J.T.  (OK, I was soooo wrong!)
There are several guys who could have been selected, both young and mature.  MacDonald, Nielsen or Tavares are all young players who have shown that they were willing to take on the role of Assistant Captains when called upon and have all developed well over the past few seasons, refining their abilities and making their presence felt in many ways.
Even character guys like Brian Rolston or even Jay Pandolfo and Marty Reasoner, new additions to the team this year are all veteran players and leaders in their own right.
But we will sit back and cheer our team for what we hope will be an exciting year. 

I think 13 could be our lucky number.

Isles Notes:

F Brian Rolston left the ice today with a strained groin.  D Andrew MacDonald is still out with a hip injury and C Marty Reasoner has had knee issues from the start of camp.

Rob Carlin won’t be with MSG doing Isles games next season.  He cites he and his wife will have twin girls on the way and he needs to focus on family.  Good Luck Rob.
Dmitry Chesnokov reports that KHL’s CSKA GM Sergei Nemchinov confirmed to SovSport that Alexei Yashin "will become CSKA's player tomorrow."
Newsday is reporting that Architects, engineers, government officials and labor leaders came together today to unveil a new $346.5-million plan for the 77 acres surrounding the Nassau Coliseum designed by architect Angelo Francis Corva of West Hempstead.  The proposal emerged from a task force of the Association for a Better Long Island development group. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

KoC gets a mention from 7th Woman!

Thanks Dee!

Camp Rosters

According to the camp notes, the Islanders have been put into the following groups.

Group A

Donovan-de Haan


Group B



Thursday, September 15, 2011

J.T. is locked in until 2018

John Tavares signed a $33 million dollar, 6 year extension to remain an Islander until 2018.  This is the best news, we as fans have gotten in an off-season that has had quite a few positive events to the credit of Mr. Wang and Mr. Snow.
If you were an outsider who listened to the Canadian media and random hockey writers you would expect Tavares to wait out his 3 year entry contract with the Islanders and move on to a real team.  Why not expect him to sign with a team that mattered and that was actually taken seriously by the hockey world.  He would never re-sign with the laughingstock Islanders.  Really?
Yes.  Really.  If you ask anyone who has followed this team for a while, we have seen a slow and steady improving rebuild.  One assembled with a core of talented young players and low risk acquisitions that bloomed into solid assets under the Islanders’ watch.  J.T. noticed this as well, but doesn’t understand the negative perceptions.
"That's just very disappointing to me," Tavares told’s Katie Strang. "I think that's wrong judgment about our organization."

He added, "People might have a misperception about our hockey team, and I know we can get buried under the radar, but I know what it's about here."

On his experience playing with the Islanders, he said, "They have a great coaching staff that has helped me become the player I am."
By having John Tavares buy into their plan, the Islanders show the rest of the NHL that they are doing the right things from within to make an impression on their core of young talent.  It is the kind of thing that defies the rumors and gives the once proud team a second step towards credibility.  If things finally go their way on Long Island and injuries don’t set the plan back again, the team should have a good chance to compete for a playoff spot.
What’s next, signing big-time free agents?

Islander Notes:

Josh Bailey signs for two years, $2.1 Million.

Mara and Staios invited to camp.  Staios accepts and will wear #44.

Mark Katic needs shoulder surgery and will be out indefinitely.

Rhett Rakhshani and Mitchell Theoret have been diagnosed with a concussion and will be out indefinitely.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

J.T. commits to Long Island?

Arthur Staple was right.  Darren Dreger reports that John Tavares has signed an extension: 6 years. $4mil, $5 mil, $6 mil, $6 mil, $6MIL, $6 MIL.  In 161 games with the Islanders, Tavares is 53 and 68 for 121 pts.  Official announcement scheduled for Thursday at 1pm. 

Could he also be the Islanders new Captain?

Trent Hunter has been invited to try out for the L.A. Kings.

Blake Kessel, former Isles pick, signs two year entry level deal with PHI at $925K per year.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Islanders-Bruins Rookie Game 2

Islanders 7
Bruins 2

Five seconds into the game, there were three fights.  Some would say it was a statement about injured teammate Rhett Rakhshani (Brett Gallant vs.Tyler Randell ) and all around Islander pride.  So many players have impressed with their efforts.

The team play, especially crisp passing and special teams were much improved over last night’s game.  The positives were the play of Strome, McNeely, DiBenedetto and Nilsson who seemed to improve throughout the game.  Cizikas had another strong game and I thought Romano and Kichton made their presence felt as well.  de Haan is so steady and Kabanov seems to be improving each time I see him play.

Negatives were Katic suffering a separated shoulder and Theoret leaving the ice, reason unknown at this point.


Tonight's rematch will see the Islander rookies look to even the score vs. the Boston rookies.  Tonight’s game is open to the fans.  Advantage, Isles. 

Changes for tonight’s game will see Anders Nilsson get the start in goal and F Rhett Rakhshani will be out with concussion.
F:  McNeely, Niederreiter, Strome.
     DiBenedetto, Ullstrom, Romano.
     Kabanov, Cizikas, Persson.
     Theoret, Olson, Gallant.

·         Olson moving to forward in Rakhshani's absence

D:  We will have to wait and see.

#    Pos  Player                         
1    G      Mikko Koskinen           
45  G      Anders Nilsson            
60  G      Kevin Poulin                
8    C      Ryan Strome               
24  D      Calvin de Haan           
25  LW   Nino Niederreiter        
33  D      Benn Olson                
41  C      David Ullstrom           
46  D      Matt Donovan           
48  D      Anton Klementyev    
49  RW   Rhett Rakhshani       
53  C      Casey Cizikas          
54  C      Tony Romano           
55  D      Aaron Ness              
56  LW   John Persson          
58  D      Brenden Kichton     
59  LW   Brett Gallant             
61  LW   Mitchell Theoret       
62  RW   Tyler McNeely          
63  D      Art Bidlevskii             
64  D      Andrey Pedan          
71  D      Mark Katic                  
77  LW   Kirill Kabanov            
81  C      Justin DiBenedetto   

Monday, September 12, 2011

Islanders-Bruins Rookie Game 1

The Islanders’ rookies went down to the Bruins rookies 8-5 only after a late comeback fell short.
Positives were the play of Niederreiter, Kabanov and de Haan.  Persson and Cizikas made an impression as well.  Negatives were the play of Koskinen (.500 sv%) and that Rhakshani went down with a concussion early and will be re-evaluated tomorrow.
Some improvements need to be made before tomorrow’s game on defense and cutting down the sloppy mistakes, especially on PP/PK.


Soundtigers Head Coach Brent Thompson and asst. coach Eric Boguniecki

Wearing A's tonight are Rakhshani, DiBenedetto, and Katic.

F:  Rakhshani-Ullstrom-DiBenedetto
     Kabanov- Cizikas-Persson

D: Katic-de Haan

G: Koskinen

Isles Notes:

Katie Strang has moved on to Arthur Staple to cover the Islanders for Newsday.

In other news:

Sadly, it has been reported that lone team survivor and Lokomotiv forward, Alexander Galimov passed away today from his injuries sustained in the crash.  R.I.P.

Photo taken from Greg Wyshynski @ Puck Daddy.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

J.T. and the Gremlin in NYC

John Tavares and Michael Grabner were spotted at the NHL store located on 47th & 6th 1185 Avenue of the Americas while taking part in a 2011 Players’ media tour today.  Tavares spoke to various hockey media about his love of Long Island and the pride he has in being an Islander.  “I have no plans on leaving,” Tavares said.  “I'm committed to Long Island."  (Pierre LeBrun)

John Tavares spoke with’s Brian Compton about the Captaincy on Long Island.  "I'd love to be (captain)," Tavares said Thursday morning. "I definitely understand maybe I am still too young and just need to worry about the game, but if it was presented to me, it definitely would be something I would talk about and make sure it's the right decision for the group and for myself as well. I'd love to be a leader of this team."

"Mark Streit and Kyle are great guys and are going to be highly recommended, for sure. But I still feel I'll be a big leader no matter what, and I'll still have a lot of responsibility in a lot of ways. Whatever way it goes, it's going to be a guy that definitely deserves it and will do a great job at it. If I get the opportunity, it would be a huge honor."
Michael Grabner was victorious in a competition with J.T. that included salesmanship and retail skills within the NHL store.

Isles Notes:
Islanders to induct Ed Westfall, Ken Morrow, Pat Flatley, and Kenny Jonsson into the team Hall of Fame as part 40th anniversary season celebration.
Nabokov “excited” to be at Islanders camp.
Per Dee Karl, Brian McCabe was invited to the Islanders 2011 training camp.
Richard Park has signed a one year, two way deal with the Pittsburg Penguins.

Clearing the Air

It has been brought to my attention that my opinion on the NHL and Pittsburg Penguins’ decision to hold a press conference on Sidney Crosby’s health status could be construed as downplaying the seriousness of his health condition.

 If it was, I apologize.

 My intent was to bring focus on the plane crash that took the lives of several people in Russia.  I felt it was a more important news story, not just a hockey story that deserved more attention by the media in general.  I felt it would have showed more class to wait on the Crosby press conference.  Today would have been a better time to have it so it could have gotten the full focus of the hockey and non-sports world.

Recent history between the Penguins and Islanders aside, I realize the significance of Sidney Crosby to the NHL.  He is without a doubt, one of the best players in the world.  I would hate to see such a talented player have a career cut short by such a serious injury.  I do not think a head injury is something to take lightly, as evidenced by the articles I published over the past few months.  I felt that in addition to bad timing, the Crosby press conference really gave us nothing we didn’t know already. 

I am glad to see there is hope for his return and when it happens, it will be good for our sport.