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

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Bruins Eliminate Islanders




The Islanders face the Boston Bruins this afternoon at the NVMC in their alternate black jerseys.  Boston is second in the eastern conference and 5-4-1 in their last 10.  Your New York Islanders are riding a three game winning streak and playing well with balanced scoring, good defense and strong transitional play.    Game on!




###


Forwards: Moulson-Tavares-Parenteau, Bailey-Nielsen-Okposo, Grabner-Reasoner-Niederreiter, Haley-Pandolfo-Martin.

Defensive Pairings: MacDonald-Hamonic, Streit-Reese, Eaton-Staios.

Al Montoya is in goal with John Grahame backing up.  John Grahame will wear No. 37 for New York.

Milan Jurcina and Casey Cizikas (upper body) are scratched today.

Brian Compton, Isles have returned Kevin Poulin to Bridgeport.



###


In the first period, both teams playing tight defensively and getting offensive chances.  Some good scoring opportunities by the Isles, but they are not able to finish.  Boston scores off a nice set up from behind the net.  1-0 Bruins.  Soon after, Kyle Okposo (Nielsen and Hamonic) with a beautiful shot from the slot beating Turco, game tied at 1-1.  Kyle Okposo on a five game goal-scoring streak for the Isles.  Shots are even at 7-7.



Isles come out in the second with some good offensive pressure against the Bruins.  Michael Haley gets into it with Cambell.  Bruins go ahead 2-1, off an offensive zone turnover.  Nice pass by Moulson to Tavares for a beautiful play to set up P.A. Parenteau for the goal.  Game tied at 2-2.  The Isles are getting good pressure off the PP in the second period, moving the puck well.  Isles out shoot Bruins 9-7 in the period and 16-14 in the game thus far.



Montoya with a big save on an Isles turnover to start the third period.  Shaky start fo far by the Isles.  Boston scores to regain the lead again early in the period, 3-2 Bruins.  John Tavares missing from Isles bench for a few minutes but returns shortly.  Probably equipment related.  Boston scores, 4-2 Bruins.  Islanders look a little disjointed here with under 10 minutes remaining.  Lets see if they can refocus.  P.A. Parenteau (Moulson) scores, Boston lead cut to one at 4-3.  It is Parenteau’s 3rd career 2 goal game.  Boston scores immediately to regain a two point, then 3 point lead, now 6-3 Boston.  Turco makes a big save against a breaking Grabner to preserve the lead for Boston.  The Islanders have been outworked and shaken in the second half of the third despite working hard.  Their playoff race will officially be over when time expires.  Bruins win 6-3.  Bruins out shoot Isles 12-6 in the period and 26-22 in the game.  Al Montoya is 20/26 with a .769 Sv%.



The Islanders fell apart in the late stages of the game and were beaten by a champion today who kept coming each time the Islanders answered.  A few good lessons for a young Islander team that at times, has showed me a lot this season.  But they have also showed me they have inefficient coaching, under performing players and an overall culture of losing.  I think they can win with a few changes with coaching and acquisition of player talent, but will ownership and management be able to do it this summer.  They haven’t corrected the mistakes over the last few years and until they do, the Isles will be doomed to stagnate and finish in the bottom 5 each season.




Isles Notes:


Per Newsday, Evgeni Nabokov hopes to return before end of season.



Tom Mascioli mentions, Matt Martin set an NHL record today for most hits in a single season with 360.


Rick DiPietro will be greeting fans and giving away food vouchers for fan appreciation day tomorrow vs the Ottawa Senators.  Good luck Rick.


Happy 80th Birthday to New York and NHL legend, Mr. Stan Fischler.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Islanders Ice Penguins, Take 2




First, Per Arthur Staple, "the Islanders have agreed to terms with G John Grahame on a deal to run through end of this season, pending physical.  Last played in NHL w/CAR in 07-08 season.  Grahame, 36, was coaching w/Sioux City of USHL."  Kevin Poulin is needed back in Bridgeport to help the Tigers push for the playoffs, so Grahame affords the Islanders organization security and flexibility in net.

Tonight, the Isles face the Penguins at NVMC for game 2 of the home at home series.  Nino Niederreiter is in the line up tonight skating with Michael Grabner and Marty Reasoner.  Lets hope for something big!

###

Forwards: Moulson-Tavares-Parenteau; Bailey-Nielsen-Okposo; Grabner-Reasoner-Niederreiter; Martin-Cizikas-Pandolfo

Defensive Pairings: MacDonald-Hamonic, Streit-Reese, Eaton-Staios.

Al Montoya is in goal, Kevin Poulin backing up.

Jurcina scratched.


###

In a back and forth first period, Al Montoya with some big saves early and Nino Niederreiter shows some great moves on his way to the net.  Both teams with scoring chances until Marty Reasoner (Streit and Bailey), yes, Marty Reasoner scores at the 11:07 mark for the Islanders.  It is his first goal of the season and first as an Islander.  1-0 New York.  Streit with 200th career assist.  Pittsburgh is out shooting the Islanders 7-4.


The second period starts with a Dylan Reese clearing attempt hitting Sidney Crosby in the face, possibly breaking his nose.  There is a lot of blood on the ice as Crosby is helped to the dressing room.  Penguins score and tie the game at 1-1 off a neutral zone turnover.  Matt Martin looking good again tonight.  Crosby is back on the bench for Pittsburgh.  Kyle Okposo (Bailey and Hamonic) gets a rebound, then a goal off Penguin defenders, 2-1 Isles.  Okposo has points in 4 straight.  Niederreiter is buzzing tonight.  Huge turnover on Pittsburgh power play, Pandolfo chips it up to Bailey with a nice move around Fleury and a defender hanging on, Bailey scores!  3-1 Isles.  Arthur Staple mentions, "Josh Bailey's second straight 3-pt game. He's 6-9-15 last 15 games; was 6-8-14 first 60 this season."  The play of Bailey and Streit continues to improve and that’s good for the Isles.  Period ends with Isles 9, Penguins 7 on shots in the period with Pittsburgh ahead 14-13 for the game.


In the third period, Montoya continues to keep the Isles in the game.  His confidence is coming back and he looks good.  Kyle Okposo (Bailey and Nielsen) scores his career high, 20th goal!  4-1 Isles.  What else can you say about Okposo’s play lately as well.  Its good to see a few core guys recover from a shaky start to the season.  Its also Bailey’s first 4 point game of his career.  Penguins score cutting the Isles lead to 2 goals at 4-2.  Islanders continue to keep up their intensity and play a strong fore-checking transitional game.  At 1:40 left in the game, the Penguins net is empty.  Pittsburgh scores.  4-3 Isles.  Penguins continue to pressure isles with the extra skater for 90 seconds.  Time out called by Pittsburgh at :30 remaining to regroup.  Isles with a srong face off win and good zone defense get the puck into the neutral zone and Josh Bailey puts it into the open net.  5-3 Isles!  It’s a 5-point night for Bailey.  Isles get out shot by Penguins 15-11 in the period and 29-24 in the game.  Al Montoya goes 26/29 with an .897Sv%.  Isles win 5-3.


Islanders sweep Penguins putting them further behind the surging New York Rangers.  The Islanders finish strong tonight against a very good team.  Great team game all around and solid defensive and transitional game.  The Islanders reach the .500 mark for the first time since October at 33-33-11 with 77 points and make a statement tonight at home.  Allow me to credit the whole coaching staff for a job well done.  Just need to do it all consistantly.  The new line combinations and resolve seem to be coming into place for the Isles.  Can you say secondary scoring!




Isles Notes:


Per N.Y. Islanders, Matt Moulson has opened the scoring an NHL-leading 11 times this season and the Isles are 9-1-1 when he does so. 


Matt Moulson is 4th all-time on most consecutive games played with the Islanders.


Per Brian Compton, David Ullstrom returned to Bridgeport.


Per Arthur Staple, Isles recall G Kevin Poulin from BPT. Evgeni Nabokov day to day with lower-body injury.



Isles have Boston on Saturday @ 1 p.m. and Ottawa on Sunday @ 3 p.m.  at home this weekend.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Islanders Ice Penguins




Tonight, your New York Islanders face the rival Pittsburgh Penguins at the Consol Energy Center.  They can bear witness to the new statue of Mario Lemieux beating statues of Rich Pilon and Jeff Norton to an eventual storied goal of Pittsburgh greatness.  Huzzah!  Pat Flatley will be between the benches lending his usual wit and unique perspective.  With the last Isles win in 2007, the Pens have beaten the Isles 13 straight times at home.  They are riding a 10 game unbeaten streak at home, are 8-1-1 in their last 10 and have a chance to capture 1st place in the east from the Rangers with a win tonight.  The Islanders have gone 4-4-2 in their last 10 and put together some good games against desperate teams.  To run with the #Pengwhines, they need to start fast and play a solid road game.  And Thursday will be a chance to do it all over again at home.


###

Forwards:  Moulson-Tavares-Parenteau; Bailey-Nielsen-Okposo; Grabner-Cizikas-Ullstrom; Martin-Reasoner-Pandolfo.


Defensive Pairings:  Streit-Reese; Hamonic-MacDondald; Staios-Jurcina.


Evgeni Nabokov is in net with Al Montoya backing up.


Nino Niederreiter and Mark Eaton are scratched.


###




The Islanders start out strong at the start of the first period, skating well and finishing their hits.  Frans Nielsen (Reese and Bailey) scores!  Islanders lead 1-0.  The good effort continues by New York as they match Pittsburgh in all aspects of the game.  Evgeni Nabokov has made some great saves to keep Isles in the game.  Isles with a good back checking defensive game thus far as well against a very good Penguin team.  Malkin is being kept in surprising check tonight.  Michael Grabner scores! Its 2-0 Isles.  It looks like Grabner just put it on net and Fluery deflected it into his own net.  Pittsburgh out shot New York 17-11 in the period.



At the start of the second period, Pittsburgh gets on the board early.  2-1 Isles.  Coach Capuano calls a time out to settle things down.  P.A. Parenteau continues to make good with a corrective defensive fore-check on Malkin.  And just like that, less than 5 minutes into the second, the Penguins tie the game at 2-2.  Nabokov slips and falls awkwardly.  Seems to be ok.  Kyle Okposo goes high, glove side on a self-made fast break.  3-2 Isles.  Okposo has goals in 3 straight games.  Shortly after, David Ullstrom gets his 4th of the season hanging out in front of the net.  Right place, right time.  4-2 Isles.  Frans Nielsen (Bailey and Okposo) gets his second of the game off a Penguin turn over.  The Consol Energy Center is silent.  5-2 Isles.  Credit the Isles for settling things down and refocusing.  Too bad they weren’t able to do this a few weeks ago.  Brian Compton points out that the Isles have scored 5 goals through two periods with no points for Tavares, Parenteau or Moulson.  That’s big.  Pittsburgh leads in shots for the period at 15-7 and the game at 32-18.



In the third period, Al Montoya and Brad Thissen replace Evgeni Nabokov and Marc Andrej Fleury.  Nabokov reported to have a “lower body injury,” and will not return.  Arthur Staple reports David Ullstrom is not on the Islanders bench either.  Per Islanders, “with three assists tonight, Bailey gets his first 3 assist game of his career and extends his point streak to five games. He has one goal and six assists in that span.”  Montoya comes up big with a few saves mid way through the third period.  Isles need to kill off a 4 on 3 penalty for 1:47 with just over minutes in the game.  Pens pull their goaltender to create a 5 on 3.  Penguins score, 5-3 Isles.  Pittsburgh turning up the pressure on Islanders, Montoya answers.  The Pens net is empty for the extra man.  Montoya comes up big again and again.  Islanders are out shot 20-7 in the period and 54-25 in the game and win 5-2.



Nabokov (lower body) and Ullstrom (unknown) did not return to the ice for the third period.



The home unbeaten streak and consecutive win streak against the Islanders ends for the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight.  Despite being dominated in shots against, the Islanders played a nice game.  While scoring 5 goals against a top team in the NHL, the Isles made the defensive plays when they had to and frustrated the Penguins by limiting the productivity of their top players.  NHL leading scorer, Evgeni Malkin and star player, Sidney Crosby were kept in check while Marc Andrej Fluery was solved by the Islander offense not named Tavares, Moulson or Parenteau.



As I mentioned in previous blog entries, these so called “meaningless” wins that hurt draft positioning are just the thing the Islanders may need as an organization.  High draft picks are always nice, but truly learning how to win against quality teams is invaluable.  Pride and belief in each other will serve the Isles well and mean more to the core than the chance at a better prospect.



If these guys ever find consistency and a readiness to compete each and every night, they will be a very dangerous team in the NHL.  With depth and efficiency and the ability to take their opponents off their game while playing to their own strengths, the Islanders will be able to reach the next level that has eluded them thus far.  I say it’s a coaching issue that factors into preparedness and the ability to maintain a positive psyche regularly, night in and night out.



Here is to building something as important as a new arena, a winning culture.



Isles Notes:


Per Chris Botta, “Brock Nelson weighing options with advisor, family and UND Coach Hakstol. 3rd year of college/Frozen 4 bid vs. year in minors. Isles tell first-rounder Brock Nelson they're ready when he is. They're putting no pressure on UND center to leave school.”


Per College Hockey News, North Dakota Forward, Brock Nelson was added to its 2011-12 All-CHN Second Team.  In his sophomore season, Nelson led the WCHA and his team in goals with 28 and points with 47 in 42 games played, making him the youngest 20-goal scorer since Jonathan Toews (22 in 05-06.)  ”Nelson was named to the all-tournament teams at both the Red Baron WCHA Final Five and the NCAA West Regional. He finished the year with five goals in his last five playoff games, leading UND to a third straight Broadmoor Trophy as WCHA playoff champion and a berth in the regional championship game.”



Per Tom Mascioli, “Islanders defensive prospect, Brenden Kichton is out for the rest of the WHL playoffs for the Spokane Chiefs after undergoing surgery to repair broken jaw.”


Ryan Strome named OHL Player of the Week for 1st week of OHL playoffs, going 3-5-8 in 3 GP. Niagara leads Oshawa 2 games to 1.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Islanders Outduel Panthers




The Islanders face Dale Tallon’s Florida Panthers this evening in Florida.  The Panthers sit third in the eastern conference and have had a break out year.  They are trying to win their division to maintain premium placement in the standings.  The Islanders are coming off a tough loss in Tampa Bay and are running out of daylight in their dwindling playoff race.  Arthur Staple mentions, “If Islanders lose in regulation today and Caps get at least a point vs. Wild, the Isles will officially be eliminated from playoff contention.  That's because Sabres and Caps play on Tuesday; winner gets two points and would be out of reach of Islanders.”


###


Forwards: Moulson-Tavares-Parenteau; Bailey-Neilsen-Okposo; Grabner-Cizikas-Ullstrom; Martin-Reasoner-Pandolfo.


Defensive pairings:  Streit-Reese; Hamonic-MacDonald; Jurcina-Staios.


Evgeni Nabokov starts in net with Al Montoya backing up.


Nino Niederreiter and Mark Eaton are scratched.



###



In the first period, Florida presses the forecheck and creates opportunities in front of the Isles net.  1-0 Panthers.  Isles need to tighten up team defense in their own zone. P.A. Parenteau being called out for weak defensive play for last two games that resulted in goals against.  That misque, is the difference in the game so far.  Arthur Staple mentions changes in 3rd and 4th lines with Reasoner between Grabner and Ullstrom and Cizikas between Martin and Pandolfo.  Matt Martin hurt by the puck, goes off the ice.  Florida is skating and transitioning a little too well.  Suspect calls are creeping back into play vs the Isles with Gudbranson shoving Ullstrom into Theodore.  Florida out shoots New York, 16-9 in the first period.



The second period starts with the Isles PK finishing off the “goaltender interference,” penalty.  Matt Martin back on the bench.  Nabokov is keeping the Isles in the game thus far; Isles have no jump or little ability to put the puck on net and force Theodore to make the save tonight.  Islanders fail to score on a :25, 5-3 opportunity.  Matt Moulson (Tavares and Parenteau) scores!  Game tied 1-1.  It marks a 3 game goal-scoring streak for Moulson.  Isles out shot Panthers 14-8 in the second period, giving Florida a 25-23 advantage in the game to this point.



At the start of the third period, the Isles carry momentum over from the better effort in the second.  Half way through the period, the Panthers score off a quirky turn over caused by a strange bounce off the boards.  2-1 Panthers.  Kyle Okposo (Nielsen and Bailey) benefits from an error by the Florida defensemen into his own net, Isles score and the game at 2-2.  (Okposo was trying to set up a breaking Mark Streit as he went towards the net and the puck found a Florida stick and beat Theodore.)  The game ends 2-2 in regulation with the Isles out shooting the Panthers 10-8 in the period and evens the total at 33-33 for the game.  Nabokov and Theodore go 31/33 with a .939Sv% during regulation.



In Overtime, both teams press for the advantage.  The Isles get some good opportunities including a strong rush by Ullstrom and Jurcina, but Grabner and Nielsen fail to score on two open nets, but Panthers scramble to repel the chances.  Video review shows Grabner had stick “inadvertently” knocked out of his hands and should have gotten a penalty shot, but no call on the ice is made and it can’t be officially reviewed and reversed.  Nabokov with 4 saves in O.T., Isles out shoot Panthers 37-34.  Doug Weight looking like an angry head coach and taking the officials to task on the non call.  Foreshadowing?



Game will go to a shoot out.



Nabokov makes the save!

Frans Nielsen scores!


Nabokov makes the save!

John Tavares is stopped by Theodore.

Florida misses the net, Islanders win, 3-2!



Florida gives up a meaningful point to the Islanders and New York comes up big when it mattered in the game.  They found a way to stay in it, got strong play by Nabokov and worked hard to get back into the game.  Their slim playoff chances remain a mathematical possibility, but an unlikely eventuality.


The Isles are in the fifth lottery position after tonight’s game. 


On Tuesday and Thursday, the Isles finish up their road trip with a home at home vs the Pittsburgh Penguins @7 p.m.  #Pengwhines






Isles Notes:



Michael Fornabaio of @fornabaioctp reports, Donovan scores through Romano's screen with 2.0 seconds left in O.T. to win it for Bridgeport, 4-3 vs. Ct. Whale. The eight-game winless streak ends. BDT is 2 pts back and control own destiny in North East Div. sandings.  Kevin Poulin makes 42 saves for Bridgeport.



Tom Mascioli of @islesinfo mentions, in addition to KHL contract for Kirill Petrov not expiring until 4/30, he most likely plays for Russia at World Championships in May.



From the Canadian press, Quebec City says it will begin construction on a new NHL-style arena this September ready for an NHL team in 2015, exactly when the Islanders will be out of their current lease with Nassau County.  

http://www.thestar.com/sports/hockey/nhl/article/1151673--quebec-city-commits-to-nhl-style-arena-construction-starting-in-september



Saturday, March 24, 2012

Islanders fall flat in Tampa Bay





At 30-32-11, your New York Islanders go to Tampa Bay to face the 33-33-7 Lightning.  The Isles are 2-0-1 in the season series and coming off two nice wins in Canada.  Captain, Mark Streit comes into tonight’s contest with a goal and six assists in his last 5 games.  Jesse Eisenberg of Islanders.nhl.com mentions, “As he has during each year that he’s played for the Islanders, Streit is once again leading the team’s defensemen in goals (6), assists (36) and points (42). He is the fourth defenseman in Islanders history to post 40+ points in at least three seasons, joining Denis Potvin, Tomas Jonsson and Stefan Persson.”  As the season winds down, it is important for New York to pull the positives from where they can.  Keep watching vets like John Tavares, Matt Moulson and P.A. Parenteau, but keep a close eye on David Ullstrom and Casey Cizikas as they push for a roster spot next season. 


###


Forwards:  Moulson-Tavares-Okposo; Bailey-Nielsen- Parenteau; Grabner-Cizikas-Ullstrom; Niederreiter-Reasoner-Martin.


Defensive Pairings:  Streit-Reese; Hamonic-MacDonald; Staios-Eaton


Al Montoya is in net for the Isles tonight, Evgeni Nabokov will back him up.


Jay Pandolfo, Milan Jurcina are scratches.


###


In the first period, Both teams are jousting for the better play.  Roloson making plays early.  Stamkos with a follow through to Hamonics head.  Hamonic off ice.  Stamkos scores, 1-0 Lightning.  Isles out shoot TB 14-9.  Streit leads TOI 8:32; Martin with 3; Hamonic has 3 hits.


In the second period, 2-0 Tampa Bay.  Nielsen (Moulson and Tavares) scores, 2-1.  Nielsen sets a new career high with 15 goals.  Kyle Okposo (Bailey and Neilsen) scores, 2-2.  Isles outshoot TB 15-6 in the period and 29–15 in the game.


In the third period, Matt Moulson scores his 33rd of the season (100th career), 3-2 Isles.  Lightning score twice to take a 4-3 lead.  Isles call timeout and pull Al Montoya for the extra attacker.  Tampa Bay out shoots the Isles 11-8 in the period.  The Islanders out shoot TB, 37-26 in the game.  Al Montoya gets the loss at 22/26 and a .846Sv%.

A missed opportunity for New York.  Former Islander and Tampa waiver pick up, Tim Wallace scores the game winner for Tampa Bay.





Isles Notes:


Per Christian Arnold, NY State Looking into Asbestos Claims by Coliseum Workers : http://www.islandershockeyblog.com/2012-articles/march/state-looking-into-asbestos-claims-by-coliseum-workers.html


B.D. Gallof quotes Nassau source cont: "In fact, that battle is already in the works. If I am Wang, I am spending the weekend figuring out how use this.”  Source: "The big question is: how long did they know? Not coincidental.”  What would this mean to the current lease situation?  How could the Islanders Organization benefit from this?



Tom Mascioli mentions, the Islanders can try and sign RW Kirill Petrov on April 30th since his contract with KHL Ak Bars Kazan is done after their playoff elimination this morning.  He continues, Petrov had his best season in the KHL in 2011-12 going 16-13-29 in 52 GP.


Tom Mascioli reports that, “Ferris State has defeated Scott Mayfield & the Denver Pioneers 2-1, eliminating them from the Frozen Four tournament.  Brenden Kichton one of two finalists for WHL Defenseman of the Year, Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy. Alex Petrovic the other finalist.  Kichton was also named to the WHL Western Conference First All-Star Team after leading all WHL dmen in scoring 17-57-74 in 71 GP.”




BD Gallof on Trivino: still faces 6 felony charges: 3 counts of indecent assault and battery and 3 counts of breaking and entering in nighttime.  Trivino: "evidence in the case was not enough to support a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt,” says spokesperson for DA.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Nabokov Agrees To 1 Year Extension With Islanders


Per Arthur Staple, Goaltender, Evgeni Nabokov has agreed to a 1-year, $2.75 M extension with the New York Islanders for the 2012-13 season.  Bob McKenzie reports the deal does NOT include a no movement or no trade clause.
 
From Islanders.nhl.com,

“I’m thrilled to commit to this team for next season,” Nabokov said. “We have a great group in the locker room of young, talented players and we’re heading in the right direction. I’m excited to have the chance to help get this team back to the playoffs.”
 
Nabokov, has a 17-18-3 record this season with a 2.56 goals against average and a .912 save percentage. The Kamenogorsk, KZ, native leads all Islanders goalies in games played, wins, goals against average and saves percentage. He is 11-7-3 in his last 21 games.


“Evgeni has proven that he can still play at an elite level in the NHL,” Islanders General Manager Garth Snow said. “He’s given us a chance to win every night and we’re excited to have him back for another season.”

#

Nabokov has been solid for the Islanders after a terrible start to their partnership.  Last season, he refused to play for New York after being claimed off the waiver wire.  Nabokov intended to sign with Detroit, and refused to report last season because, I am paraphrasing here, the Islanders were not in a position where he would be off any use to them.



Obviously he has been treated well and enjoys playing on Long Island.  Nabokov  would have most certainly been one of the most valuable and attractive goaltenders available in the free agent market this summer.  


Say what you want about the respect given to the Isles by outsiders, this is another big statement made about the quality of the organization and its management.



Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Islanders Outwork Leafs




The good news is that Jiggs McDonald will sit in the color chair with Pat Flatley in between the benches tonight as the 14th place Islanders visit Toronto to face the 12th place Maple Leafs who fell 8-0 to the Boston Bruins last night.  That spells a dangerous game for New York who are coming off a shootout win in Montreal against the Canadiens.


###



Forwards: Moulson-Tavares-Parenteau, Bailey-Nielsen-Okposo, Grabner-Cizikas-Ullstrom, Martin-Reasoner-Niederreiter.

Defensive pairings: Streit-Reese, Hamonic- MacDonald, Eaton-Staios.

Evgeni Nabokov in goal, Al Montoya backing up.

Jay Pandolfo and Milan Jurcina are scratched



###




Phil Kessel and Josh Bailey (Tavares and Parenteau) exchanged goals in the first period, 1-1.  Arthur Staple reports, “PA Parenteau's 47th assist is most for an Isles player since 1993-94, when P. Turgeon (56) and V. Malakhov (47) had as many,” and “1st 40-assist season for John Tavares.” Neither team was penalized and both had their opportunities in the offensive zone. Ullstrom and Cizikas continue to prove solid additions to the line up.  The Islanders outshoot the Leafs 7-5 in the first period.



Toronto makes it 2-1.  John Tavares with some great offensive initiative.  David Ullstrom (Grabner and Cizikas) gets his first NHL goal!  Score even at 2-2. Islanders make some mistakes but with a better offensive push in the second, while Nabokov makes some big saves.  The Defense needs to improve.  The Isles out shoot Leafs 12-4 in the period and 19-9 in the game.



The Islanders are relentless on the Delay of game PP late in the game, Matt Moulson (Tavares and Streit) puts the third rebound home, 3-2 New York.  The Cizikas-Grabner-Ullstrom line is buzzing again.  P.A. Parenteau, the next soon-to-be highest paid Islander, scores unassisted to make it 4-2 Islanders.  The crowd has turned against the home team Maple Leafs in a big way.  Matt Moulson (Parenteau and Tavares) scores into the empty net with 1:40 to go.  5-2 Islanders.  New York out shoots Toronto 14-4 in the period and 34-14 in the game.  They gave up a season low 14 shots against.  Evgeni Nabokov was 12/14 and a .857 Sv%.


The Isles looked pretty good tonight and after some miscues, managed to focus and play well for each other.  They applied pressure to Toronto’s net and took over play in the game by outworking them to the puck.  I will never cheer for the Isles to lose, but now that wins will only count as a measure of pride, each win hurts them for a better draft pick.  Oh well, every game they can win will reinforce their desire to compete and endure adversity.  The first line played like they always do, among the best in the NHL.  Mark Streit has found his game and is fully recovered from his season long injury.  Matt Martin stepped up all night and what can you say about David Ullstrom and Casey Cizikas and their development has gone in the system?  Their linemate, Michael Grabner has been rejuvenated as well. 








Isles Notes:


Per Arthur Staple, Islanders acquire D Yuri Alexandrov from Bruins for future considerations. Alexandrov, 23, was a 2006 2nd-rd pick now playing in KHL.  Brad Kurtzberg reports that Alexandrov will remain in Russia for now according to Isles sources.  After the incident with Anton Klementyev I mentioned on 2/4, “The New York Islanders put Anton Klementyev on unconditional ($125) waivers for mutually-agreed contract termination.”, this is a strange move for another player that will most likely stay in Russia.  Maybe a boys club trade.

Mark Streit is on a four game point streak with 1 goal and 5 assists. He leads all Isles defensemen with 40 points.

Before tonight, Isles defensemen have earned points on the last 11 goals.

Arthur Staple reports chapter of the PHWA has nominated Jay Pandolfo for the NHL's Masterton Trophy.

Soundtigers’ Forward Micheal Haley has been suspended three games by the AHL as a consequence of his actions in Sunday's game at WOR.

Player Transactions - Ethan Cox released from PTO, John Persson and Dan Clarke sign ATOs with Sound Tigers.


Anders Lee Opts For Notre Dame

Arthur Staple reported today that promising Isles prospect Anders Lee has informed the team he's staying at Notre Dame for his junior year.   Several fans and those of us in the NYI blogesphere were hoping Lee would bring his offensive skills (17g, 17a in 40 gp) to camp this summer and compete for a roster spot on Long Island.  In November, Lee inspired me to update you on his continued improvement as an Isles prospect.  (http://knightofcups-bondi.blogspot.com/2011/11/anders-lee-dominates-ccha.html)


Why am I even mentioning this?


Well, 2007 Islanders third round selection, Jason Gregoire and 2007 Islanders sixth round selection, Blake Kessel were both coming off strong collegiate seasons when they employed the CBA loop hole and left the Islanders Organization by doing the same thing.


B.D. Gallof said it best.  “Isles fans and brass need to hope that new CBA eliminates the escape clause.”  No one knows if Lee’s plan is to exploit the clause and do what Gregoire or Kessel did, but it is certainly unsettling to think an offensive asset such as Lee, could up and leave the team that drafted him in 2009.


From an entry I made on May,24th 2012, "Per Chris Botta, the current NHL collective bargaining agreement says a player can entertain all offers as a free agent, even if previously drafted 30 days after leaving school and four years after their original draft date. This strategy was employed by Blake Wheeler after he was drafted 5th overall in the first round of the 2004 by the Phoenix Coyotes. He later signed with the Boston Bruins in 2008.”  (http://knightofcups-bondi.blogspot.com/2011/05/left-wing-jason-gregoire-third-round.html)


The Islanders have shown with players in the past, that they would prefer a prospect ready for their pro system to play in the ECHL or AHL to better develop their skills than in College or Junior levels.  Kyle Okposo and Josh Bailey are good examples of this.







Saturday, March 17, 2012

Islanders Golden In Montreal

The 15th place New York Islanders are 28-32-11 with 67 pts and visit the 14th place Montreal Canadiens, who sit at 28-32-12 with 68 pts in the Eastern Conference. 

Oh, and Happy St. Patricks Day!




###



Forwards: Moulson-Tavares-Okposo; Bailey-Nielsen-Parenteau; Grabner-Cizikas-Ullstrom; Niederreiter-Reasoner-Martin.

Defensive Pairings:  Streit-Reese; Hamonic-MacDonald; Eaton-Jurcina

Al Montoya is in net with Evgeni Nabokov backing up.


Steve Staios (day to day lower body) and Jay Pandolfo are scratched.



###



Montreal scores early in the first period on another terrible angle shot bouncing between Montoya’s legs, 1-0 Montreal.  Isles seem subdued for most of the period.  Isles put together a few good rushes and create some pressure on Budaj.  Martin and White drop the gloves trying to stir something up.  Isles PK does the job, but the Canadiens are setting the tempo and taking it to New York.  Montoya looks a little rusty, but has come up big a few times.  The Islanders got a little better effort as the period went on, but were out shot 12-10.  The Isles blocked 8 shots.



The Islanders come out continuing to apply pressure, showing patience and putting pucks on net.  Streit with some nice moves on the PP, scores, unassisted and ties the score at 1-1.  Isles effort is improving here in the second, out working Montreal in every aspect of the game.  They could lose some of the fancy pants passing plays that usually result in turnovers though.  Montreal evens out the play late in the period, good intensity for both teams.  Al Montoya has found his grove and looks much more comfortable.  Mark Streit seems to have good efforts vs Montreal.  Frans Nielsen scores off a nice wrist shot to give the Isles a 2-1 lead.  Isles strong period results in out shooting the Canadiens 16-9 in the second and 28-19 in the game to this point.



Montreal scores off the rush to even the score at 2-2.  David Ullstrom and Casey Cizikas continue to impress with their consistent play in each game.  Momentum continues to shift in the third period.  Mark Streit called for delay of game with 1:17 to play in the third period.  The Isles PK is 3 for 3 so far in the game.  The Isles out shot Montreal 7-6 in the period and 37-25 in the game.  Montoya had 24 saves with a .923 Sv%.



The penalty will continue with a :43, 4 on 3 for the Canadiens in overtime.  Isles kill off Montreal PP in O.T.  The Isles making some huge defensive plays (Streit, Reese and Hamonic) in the extra period and Montoya stays focused.  Andrew MacDonald is a machine.  Lots of action in the final minute for both teams.



The game going to shootout.



Montreal scores.

Frans Nielsen scores!

Shot goes wide for Montreal.

J.T. hits a post, no goal.

Shot goes wide again for Montreal.

P.A. Parenteau shoots wide.

Montreal scores.

Matt Moulson scores!

Al Montoya makes the save.

K.O., no goal.

Montreal misses the net.

Josh Bailey scores! 



Islanders win 3-2 in a gritty character filled game where they continued to fight against adversity and not give up.  It was a nice thing to see after the last few loses and to do it on the road in a place like Montreal was great.  The physical effort was evident and the offensive push found its composure as the game went on.



Tonight, the coaching was there and seemed to keep the team focused. Credit where it is due, but I am still in for of a coaching change.  Lets hope for another good effort in the game against Toronto on Tuesday.




Isles Notes:

Michael Fornabaio reports the Sound Tigers are winless in five and have lost three in a row after a 5-3 loss at Portland. Remain two points out of first in the Northeast Div.

Tom Mascioli of @islesinfo reports, Brock Nelson scored 2 goals last night to lead UND to a 4-1 win over SCSU in the WCHA Final Five Quarterfinals.  Nelson scored his 27th goal of the season and 4th in 3 games, at 17:43 of the 1st prd tonight to give UND a 1-0 lead over DU in the WCHA Championship game. 


UND reports, Brock Nelson's 27 goals are the most by a UND sophomore since Ryan Duncan scored 31 in 2006-07, the year he won the Hobey Baker Award.

Friday, March 16, 2012

"We Didn’t Execute At All," Lose To Flyers





Other than a 5-minute push towards the end of the game, the Islanders were out played by the Flyers at home on Thursday night.  They were able to generate a few good chances, but were flat for most of the game.  As a result, the fell again to 28-32-11 with 67 points and last in the eastern conference, 28th in the league.


Once again, they spotted their opponents a multiple goal lead, and fell short in a strong effort when they ran out of time, losing 3-2.  From Cory Wright on Islanders.nhl.com, “We gave them two gifts,” a fired-up Jack Capuano said after the game. “I thought we could have got some momentum back late in the second period when we had back-to-back power plays, and we didn’t execute at all.” 


Sound familiar?


###


Forwards: Moulson-Tavares-Okposo; Grabner-Nielsen-Parenteau; Ullstrom-Bailey-Niederreiter; Martin-Cizikas-Pandolfo.


Defensive pairings: Streit-Reese; Hamonic-MacDondald; Eaton-Jurcina.


Evgeni Nabokov in net with Al Montoya backing up.


Steve Staios and Marty Reasoner are scratched. PA Parenteau is back in the lineup after missing 1 game with an upper body injury.


Updates from NYI on Twitter:



1st period: Islanders lead SOG 11-9; Andrew MacDonald leads TOI 8:27; John Tavares has won 3 of 4 faceoffs.



2nd period : Islanders lead SOG 20-17, Travis Hamonic has three shots; Andrew MacDonald leads TOI 14:40, Matt Moulson with 14:37.



Game recap: Isles outshoot Flyers 11-5 in period and 31-22 in the game.  Their late rally falls short. Michael Grabner (Mark Streit and Dylan Reese) and John Tavares (Mark Streit) score 35 seconds apart with 6:30 left in third.  Evgeni Nabokov was 18/21 with a .864Sv%


Bruce Ratner, head of Barclays Center management team made the following statement during an interview at the Flyers game: “My real goal is to make sure that the Islanders stay in New York, obviously. … New York needs the Islanders.” 


What was that all about?


###



Isles Notes:



John Tavares and Matt Moulson give the Isles two 30-goal scorers for the second straight season.



Per New York Islanders, Only 3 players in Isles history recorded at least 71 pts. at age 21 or younger: Bossy, Trottier and Potvin.  Per Eric Hornick, “Tavares has 70 points (31-39-70) on 161 Islanders goals this season (43.5%). No Islander since Zigmund Palffy has recorded points on over 40% of the team’s goals in a complete season. He is the first Islander since Alexei Yashin (75 in 2001-02) to record at least 70 points in a season.”


@stevelepore, The Isles are up 25% in attendance from last season, highest jump in the league. Still only averaging 13,000 at the moment.



Chris Botta, “with every chance to get in race for 8th, Isles wilted. Important to note: core of the lineup was healthy. No excuses.”  He continues, “Despite his club finishing 26th, 30th, 26th, 27th and now in 28th, Garth Snow will get a 7th year as Isles GM.”



3/16  Lines at Isles practice: Moulson-Tavares-Okposo, Bailey-Nielsen-Parenteau, Ullstrom-Cizikas-Grabner, Martin-Pandolfo-Reasoner-Niederreiter.



The Islanders are on a five game, two-week road trip with Montreal, Saturday @ 7 p.m., Toronto and Tampa Bay on Tuesday and Saturday @ 7 p.m., Florida on Sunday @ 5 p.m. and Pittsburgh the following Tuesday @ 7 p.m.