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

Monday, May 28, 2012

Isles Notes For 5/28 and Remembering

Per New York Islanders, “Kirill Kabanov’s Shawinigan Cataractes won the Memorial Cup Sunday night, beating the London Knights 2-1 in overtime. The win gives Shawinigan its first ever Memorial Cup. The Cataractes won three elimination games in four days to take the championship.”  Kabanov went 1 and 4 for 5pts in 6 games, including a crucial assit in the second period of the championship clinching game. 

The New York Islanders have secured LW, John Persson to an entry level contract.  Persson was the Islanders 125th overall pick in the fifth round of the 2011 entry draft.  He has gotten noticed for his solid play since then with his efforts on the Red Deer Rebels hockey club.  Persson also made the most of a brief ATO contract with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL last season going 4 and 4 for 8pts in 12 games for the Islanders top affiliate.

On this day in 1974 – The Islanders choose Clark Gillies in the 1st round and Bryan Trottier in the 2nd round of the NHL Draft.

Please do not forget …

Let us take time to remember what the last Monday in May really means.

Memorial Day is a day of mourning to honor those who paid the ultimate price for our freedoms. As Americans, the significance of such a day needs to stay with us and be more than just a day off from work or a chance to attend a summer party. Please don’t forget, instead offer a time for contemplation to those who were lost to us. Remember them and what they did so the United States could remain free and vigilant.

Friday, May 25, 2012

KoC's 2012 Stanley Cup Finals Prediction

So the results are in for the Conference Finals…

Eastern Conference Playoffs, Round 3:

NJD in 6 vs NYR – Great battle, well fought, but credit NJ for getting it done.

Western Conference Playoffs, Round 3:

LAK in 5 vs PHX – LA dominated and Jonathan Quick was a machine.  Seemingly unstoppable.

Thoughts …..

This time, I managed a 1 for 2 on who would win and went 0 for 2 on the length of each series (by winner).

The Rangers and Devils series went as expected on the intensity scale at least.  Each team played well, dominated at times and had uncharacteristic lapses in discipline.  The Devils were big on scoring, but also felt the sting of goals against rise higher than any of the four teams competing in the conference finals.  It was something to watch Kovalchuk, Parise and Zajac dominate for a New Jersey team that looked like they were in rapid decline.  Although the Brodeur vs Lundqvist battle was a great to watch, how wild was the start to Chris Kreider’s playoff experience without playing at all in the regular season.  Kreider went 5 and 2 for 7 pts in 17 games and looked awesome doing it.  As much as I despise Dolan’s franchise, give the Rangers credit for showing heart by mounting coming backs throughout the playoffs.  Credit Tortorella and their vets for the character of the team.  The Devils played their game, but had trouble holding on to leads and asked a lot of Brodeur. In the end, the Devils were all over the Ranger net and got the win in O.T. 

Jonathan Quick was awesome.  He leads the NHL playoffs in 3 of 4 categories.  Quick has 12 wins with a .946Sv% and a 1.54 gaa.  The Kings brought scoring with a snarl to a good Phoenix team.  Their only offensive difficulty seems to be on the PP, but their PK is best in the playoffs at 91.2%.  Dustin Brown (7 and 9 for 16 pts/14 games.) leads the playoffs in plus/minus with a +13.  As a matter of fact, only 1 player on their roster is negative and that is Kyle Clifford at only –1.  And Anze Kopitar, he is a dominant weapon in the 2012 playoffs with 6 and 9 for 15 points in only 14 play off games played.  Dustin Penner proved to have a renaissance of sorts as well for LA with 10 points.  The Coyotes showed tons of heart but couldn’t right their game after falling behind.  What they may have done is put any rumors of the franchise leaving Phoenix to rest, take note on Long Island please.

What will happen in the Cup Finals?

The LA Kings will be crowned Stanley Cup Champions in 6 games vs the Devils.

I think the Kings are too well balanced and too strong in net to lose in 7 games vs New Jersey.  No disrespect to Brodeur, but unless the Devils play way over their heads or JQ has a meltdown, its all Kings.  LA is in control of their game, well rested and they know how to bring it.  I cant see an embattled New Jersey team going the distance and able to match intensity over another series after an emotional win vs their division rivals.

Whatever the result, it should be awesome! 

Game On!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Isles Notes for 5/24

The next round of EA NHL13 cover vote will be John Tavares vs. Pekka Rinne.  Show some love for #JT91 here.

Per NHL History Girl, On this date, 5/24 in 1980, Bobby Nystrom scored in OT to beat the Flyers and the Islanders won their first Stanley Cup.

Per Chris Botta, the Islanders are trying to complete their coaching staff at NHL/AHL levels before the draft, to have all in place for prospect camp on LI soon after.  

Per Tom Mascioli, “Kirill Kabanov is having his best game of the Memorial Cup tournament. 1g, 1a so far. He is flying out there, all over the puck.”

Kabanov’s Shawinigan squad defeats Edmonton 6-1 to advance to tomorrow night's semifinal vs. Saint John Sea Dogs. Rematch of last night's 4-1 loss.

Per Andrey Osadchenko, Kirill Kabanov just told me information about him going to Salavat of the KHL for next season is false. He stays put in NA.

NHL Playoff Notes:

Per Eric Hornick, NY market registered 6.47 rating for last night's Devils-Rangers, best rating for the market ever for NHL game on NBCSN.

Per the NHL, The LA Kings are just the second 8th seed to reach the Stanley Cup Final. The Oilers also did it in 2006.

Per Ted Starkey, The NHL has never had two bottom 4 seeds play for the Stanley Cup in current format. Could get that this year with NJ win.

Per Chris Botta, like last year, Isles asst coach/GM advisor Doug Weight will be a guest analyst for NHL Network at Cup Final.

Chris Botta, Games 1, 2, 5, 6 and 7 of Stanley Cup Final(s) will be on NBC. Games 3 and 4 on NBC Sports Network.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Isles Notes For 5/21

Per New York Islanders, this day in 1981 – The Islanders win their 2nd Stanley Cup defeating the Minnesota North Stars 4 games to 1. Butch Goring wins the Conn Smythe Trophy.

Kirill Kabanov picked up 2 assists in Shawinigan's 6-2 Memorial Cup win last night to even the series at 1-1.

Tom Mascioli adds, “Kabanov not getting any powerplay time for Shawinigan. Don't get that strategy by the Cataractes.”

Going to the 2012 New York Islanders Draft Party?  Have a chance to meet Meet #JT91 @MMoulson @MattyMarts17 @Strome18 @KevinPoulin60 @thelnino25 & @zeeker11 .

Vote for John Tavares and keep him in the hunt to make the cover of EA Sports NHL13! 

NHL Notes:

All three of Mike Smith's post season shutouts have come away from Phoenix.


Russia wins the gold, Slovakia gets Silver and the Czech’s win Bronze.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Isles Notes for 5/17

Per New York Islanders, this day in 1983 - The Islanders win their fourth consecutive Stanley Cup by sweeping the Edmonton Oilers in four games.

Slovakia defeats Canada 4-3 in first IIHFWC quarterfinal game and holds John Tavares off the score sheet.  Former Islander, Miroslav Satan with the game winner.

Jesse Joensuu scored for Finland with less than 10 seconds left, giving Finns a 3-2 win over Team USA.

Chris Botta comments, “What a day for Isles prospect Jesse Joensuu. Breaks USA's heart, after Scott Gordon never wanted to play him for NYI.”

And B.D. Gallof, “Joensuu is still an Isles NHL prospect and part of the rebuild. Don't be quick to consider him failed just b/c his development took time.”

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Isles Notes For 5/16

Per Chris Botta, “The Isles plan to give an opportunity to one of their prospects on defense to start with the club out of training camp. However, Calvin de Haan, Aaron Ness and Matt Donovan are going to have to show a lot to prove they're NHL-ready. All played well last season in Bridgeport, but need more development time. Of the three, Donovan is the closest to the NHL; de Haan, in part because he has been slowed by injuries, is a year away. All 3 will eventually make the NHL. They just should not be rushed.”

Per Arthur Staple, “Nino Niederreiter missed Switzerland's final game with a high ankle sprain, ending what was a miserable rookie season that began and ended with injuries. John Tavares (4-5-9) and Canada face Slovakia in a QF tomorrow; Kyle Okposo and the U.S. face Finland in another QF. Of Okposo, former Isles coach and U.S. coach Scott Gordon texted: "He's been one of our best players every game and had a backcheck that guys were talking about for a long time after."

Canada defeats Belarus 5-1, finishes 1st in Helsinki pool.  John Tavares w/1 asst.  Team USA shut out Finland 5-0.  Both teams advance in the IIHFWC quarterfinals.

Denmark wraps up the victory over Latvia 2-0.

Chris Botta’s take on the Kabanov to russia rumor, “The plan did not go as Kirill Kabanov hoped. The agent-and-tattoo-compiling Isles prospect knew after a good, not great QHL season, he'd be in the AHL in '12-13 for $75K. Not bad, but he's made zip since the NYI drafted him and could make a half-mill in the KHL. So Kabanov and his father had an agent pursue a deal. Word got out and he had to backtrack with Shawinigan hosting the Memorial Cup and Garth Snow wondering WTF. Kid's a handful, but Snow knew that when he drafted him. Story's not over.”

The New York Islanders’ 2012 Draft Party is scheduled for June 22nd.  Tickets are free at Ticketmaster or the box office at the NVMC. Doors for the Draft Party open at 5:30 p.m. and the live stream of the NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh begins at 7 p.m.

Festivities, games, merchandise and the chance to watch the Islanders make their selection from the Colisieum floor are just part of the fun to be had.  Matt Moulson, Matt Martin, Nino Niederreiter, Kevin Poulin, Ryan Strome, Casey Cizikas and Calvin de Haan are scheduled to attend.  I have run into Butch Goring and Bobby Nystrom at past Darft Parties, so who knows who you could run into.


Per Rory Boylen, Avg blocked shots in these playoffs: 15.7. Avg last year was 16.6.

Per Allan Walsh, “NHL sends NHLPA "Notice of Termination" of CBA effective Sept. 15. Also hearing from GM's that NHL teams canceling rookie camps.”

Sunday, May 13, 2012

KoC Playoff Predictions, Round 3

Results of …

Eastern Conference Playoffs, Round 2:

NYR in 7 vs WSH – A great back and fourth series that went the distance.

NJD in 5 vs PHI - Devils dominated Flyers and got them off their game.

Western Conference Playoffs, Round 2:

LAK in 4 vs STL – The Kings dominated a young and promising Blues team in a sweep.  Quick!

PHX in 5 vs NSH – Wow, was I wrong.  Smith was dominant and the Preds couldn’t get it going.

Thoughts …..

This time, I managed a 2 for 4 on who would win and went 0 for 8 on the length of every series.

Jonathan Quick and Mike Smith have been unreal for their respective teams.  Quick stifled an explosive and red-hot St. Louis team and Mike Smith only outlasted the great Pekka Rinne and the Pred’s offense.

It has been a battle of goaltending as expected.  The Flyers realized what most of us already did, Bryzgalof is a good goaltender, but not a $5.6M a year, long term goaltender.  The Devils’ are deep and staying in the game behind Brodeur.  A rematch of the 94’ finals will be another war.  The Rangers and Henrik Lundqvist have gone winless in 3 playoff series vs the Capitals and rookie goalies before this season.

What will happen in the Conference Finals?

Eastern Conference Playoffs, Round 3:

NYR in 6 vs NJD - Hurts to say, but the Rangers will solve the Devils and advance.

Western Conference Playoffs, Round 3:

LAK in 7 vs PHX – Two of the hottest goaltenders in the league.  I think LA is better for 7 games.


Per New York Islanders, Mark Streit's SUI couldn't comeback a second time. They fall 4-2 to France.

Denmark fell to Germany 2-1.

Canada wins 8-0 over Kazakhstan.  John Tavares scored a goal for Canada.


Tom Mascioli reports the Niagara IceDogs lose OHL Championship 4 games to 1 to London Knights. Ryan Strome recorded 2 assists in series, both in game 2.

With Strome & Theoret out, Kirill Kabanov will now be Isles lone rep in Memorial Cup with host Shawinigan, who failed to make QMJHL finals.

Kirill Kabonov on Facebook about the rumors that he is signing in the KHL next year, “Im getting ready for the Memorial cup right now and thats the only goal. And can tell only that in a month from now i will be ready to prepare myself for a big season with Islanders/Bridgeport. But all mind is about Shawinigan Cataractes and The MEM CUP right now. and sorry for not answering all ur messages. It is the 2 biggest weeks of my life and i dont want to screw it. Thank you”

Jacob Morris Strongin, designer of the NY Islanders logo, passed away today.

NHL Playoff Notes:

Per Tom Gulitti, “this year's Games 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 all scheduled for same dates as corresponding games in 1994 ECF between Devils and Rangers.”

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Isles Notes For 5/10

Per New York Islanders, team USA holds on to win 5-3 over BLR. Okposo held off score sheet, but had a strong game.

Denmark & Isles star Frans Nielsen fall to Russia 3-1.

Per Chris Botta, "The Isles loved-hated black third jerseys have gone missing from some websites and a recent Reebok catalog, but make no mistake - they are returning for next season and likely beyond. (NHL 3rd jerseys, by rule, have at least a 3-year cycle). The NYI will wear them again at select home games in '12-13 (about 10). I was told today they sold "beyond expectations." Hey, a lot of people - understandably - don't like them, but my young sons do. That's, in part, what it's all about. Right?"

On May 8, 1993: T. Fitzgerald becomes 7th player in history to record 2 SHGs in 1 playoff game & 1st to record both on the same penalty.

NHL Playoff Notes:

Per Chris Botta, the NYR-WSH Game 5 did a 4.32, the highest ever in the NY market for an NHL game on NBC Sports Net.     

Per Brian Compton, the Rangers and Devils would be only teams left that had 100 points during regular season.

The last 3 teams to eliminate the Flyers have all gone on to win the Stanley Cup – Pittsburgh (2009), Chicago (2010) and Boston (2011).

Braden Holtby is now 6-0 with a 1.24 GAA in games following a loss.

Per Ted Starkey, Jonathan Quick, Mike Smith and Martin Brodeur all make less than Ilya Bryzgalov. Combined.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Isles Notes For 5/7

Team USA's two game winning streak ends with a 4-2 loss to a then, 0-2 Slovokia team.  It was Slovokia’s first win vs the Americans since 2000.  USA had closed the game to within a goal until Miro Satan scored an empty net goal for the win.  It is USA’s first loss of the tournament.  Kyle Okposo had an assist in the game.

Frans Nielsen got two assists in a failed comeback attempt for Denamrk as they fell to Sweden 6-4.


Per New York Islanders, Canada beats France by the score of 7-2.  John Tavares finishes with an assist.

Frans Nielsen Records an assist as Denmark falls in 4-3 OTL to Italy.

Switzerland's Mark Streit had 2 and 1 for 3 pts in their 5-1 victory this morning over Kazakhstan.

John Tavares named the player of the game for Canada in team USA's 5-4 OT victory.


Brock Nelson Named University of North Dakota team MVP. 

Per, “Nelson led the league and ranked third nationally with 28 goals, while also leading the team in points (47), power-play goals (10) and game-winning goals (6). The Warroad, Minn., native was the only WCHA player to score 20 goals during league play, registering 20 in 28 games, and earned All-WCHA Third Team and Inside College Hockey All-America Third Team honors. Nelson signed with the National Hockey League’s New York Islanders following the season.

Nelson also received the team’s plus/minus award after recording a team-leading and career-high +17.

The Fighting Sioux (26-13-3, 16-11-1 WCHA) won their league-record third straight Broadmoor Trophy as WCHA Final Five champions and earned the No. 1 seed for the NCAA West Region Tournament, where UND advanced to its sixth regional championship game in eight years under head coach Dave Hakstol.”

Rumors have circulated this week that the Islanders have interest in trading up as high as the number one pick in the draft, now held by Edmonton.  If that it is indeed true, what would they have to give up to get it?  Probably what they would be unwilling to part with.  I find it more plausible that they might be willing to spend even more on free agent offers for a top forward and defensemen, but Garth will probably stay the course unless some new arena news were to break.  If that happens, who knows what the organization would have the opportunity to do.

Per Bill Both, “Amazing. PA said repeatedly he wants to stay. His agent just tweeted he wants to stay but Isles tweeps still accept MTL rumor as if its fact.”

Friday, May 4, 2012

Knight of Cups: A Look Back On The First Year

As Islander fans, we have endured much.  I became a fan watching my childhood Idol, Billy Smith lead the New York Islanders to 4 consecutive Stanley Cup Championships.  It could have been more if the NHL didn’t change the playoff format in response to the Isles success, but that is another story.  I watched Pat LaFontaine win it in the Easter Epic and Ziggy Palffy give me hope again.  I watched Pierre Turgeon and Glen Healy help me believe again in 1992-93.  I watched Tommy Salo help win two consecutive minor league IHL Turner Cups for the Isles affiliate, Denver, then Utah Grizzlies.  I watched Shawn Bates keep hope alive in the 2001-02 playoffs.  I teared up as I watched John Tavares drafted first overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft to signal the start of what I want to believe is something great again for the team I am passionate for.  I am a fan of the New York Islanders and I started “Knight of Cups” in May of 2011 after a conversation with blogger and writer, Dee Karl of Hockey Buzz.

On April 8th, 2011, I was in Doolin’s pub in the depths of the NVMC with my buddy Terry before the Isles vs. Pens game.  I recognized someone who came into the dining room from her online avatar on one of the Isles blogs I followed.  Her name was Dee Karl, I introduced myself and we talked a little about the season, the team and the players.  I told her I used to write a lot, but not so much anymore, and that I always wanted to write a hockey blog. After our conversation, she encouraged me to write it.  A few weeks later, I did.  Having always been interested in Medieval Europe and a geek who liked Lord of the Rings and tales of magic and mysticism, I settled on Knight of Cups for a title.  I felt that it would suit me and related to the history of Long Island’s hockey dynasty through my eyes.

On May 4th, I wrote an intro article entitled, “What is a Fan?”  It was my way of coming into the blog and setting the stage for my entry into the Isles blogesphere.  Since then, I have followed several talented people on the web and in Twitter to get my information.  Being a non-credentialed blogger, I rely on hockey writers and fellow bloggers and fans for my information.  I try to check my sources and credit those who help me get the breaking news around the Islanders team.  I have always tried to put my own spin on the news around the team and be as objective as a rabid fan can be.  While I know I am not a professional or the guy to break a story, I do try and gather enough information to put out a comprehensive blog for Islander fans with prospect, minor league or NHL news.

Enough about me.  The purpose of this entry is to celebrate “” by giving credit to those who have helped me along the way over the past year and the 2011-12 NHL hockey season for your New York Islanders.

First, let me thank my Fiance, MaryBeth.  She is my soul mate and someone who always encourages me to reach for what I deem important.  I love you.

@7thWoman Dee Karl:  I see Dee as a big influence for me to write this blog.  As a fellow fan of the Isles, we share a common interest, but don’t really know each other on a personal level.  But that didn’t stop her from responding to emails, tweets and conversations we have had at games this season or giving me a mention on her blog or Twitter feed.  She has given me hints, tips and guidance to help me improve as a blogger.  I have always found her “NY Islanders 7th Woman” blog, informative and appreciate her unique perspective and insight.  That is why it was thrill for me to fill in for her for one game this season on her Blog Box post.  I love our hockey conversations and I will always be grateful to Dee for reaching out to me.

@ChrisBottaNHL Chris Botta:  Mr. Botta was someone who I met a few times at the NVMC when I worked for ESPN.  He always conducted himself in a professional manner and treated others well.  I enjoyed his coverage on Islanders Point Blank and was a loyal reader who respected his opinion and insights as it pertained to professional hockey and the New York Islanders.  I felt he had a unique perspective, having worked for the team in a public relations capacity for 15 years.  I found myself going to IPB before the Islanders official site on several occasions to read about breaking news.  IPB really helped me appreciate the value of an independent blog as a news source, and it was because of this that I have discovered so many more avenues for information than just the traditional media outlets.

@BDGallof B.D. Gallof:  As a reader of Hockey Independent, I know how B.D. covers the Islanders.  He is someone who doesn’t use spin or favor anyone or anything; he comes right at you.  Whether its on Hockey Independent, CBS or WFAN, you know his stuff is going to be thorough and well represented by the facts.  I sent B.D. and several other respected bloggers a note to check out my blog and if he had time, write me and give me his opinion about KoC.  He was the only one who answered and did so in only a few hours.  I appreciate this very much and took his suggestions to heart, especially the one on design by immediately changing the look and format of KoC that night as it still stands today.

@tonystabile  Anthony Stabile:  From supportive notes on Twitter to a one on one in the concourse at NVMC, Anthony has always been a great supporter.  He always manages to make time to give advice or encouragement when he thinks it is due.  His shout outs on Twitter for KoC are always appreciated and he will continue to be an inspiration to me as a sports writer.

@LHHockey Dominik Jansky:  I want to formally thank Dominik of Lighthouse Hockey for adding KoC to his “Isles Reading” feed.  Because of his gesture, my blog has seen higher traffic and has gotten more exposure.  Not to mention, he has one of the best blogs out there.

There are several other Hockey Writers and bloggers who have helped me by providing accurate information and interesting reports on the New York Islanders.  I have also enjoyed speaking to some of them on Facebook or Twitter.  I recommend that you check out this talented group of writers, bloggers and passionate fans for the perspective on the Isles, the NHL or whatever else they have to say.

Most of all, thank you to the thousands of you who come to KoC from time to time to actually check out what I have to write about.  With all the places you can go to spend your precious time, I am honored you spend some of it here with me and your New York Islanders.


Joe Bondi

Knight of Cups

MB and Me at the 2009 Draft Party as seen on


Daniel Friedman@DFriedmanTFR


If I have omitted anyone, It wasn’t intentional and I am sorry. Please accept my thanks as well.

Isles Notes for 5/4

USA Hockey reports a final: USA 7, France 2. 6 goal scorers for USA. Okposo nets 2. Pacioretty 1 G, 2 A. Up next is Canada 2012 MWC. On Saturday at noon.

Per the New York Islanders, Team Canada and John Tavares defeat Slovakia 3-2 in opening game of IIHFWC. 

Frans Nielsen's Danish National Team lost their IIHFWC opener to the Czech Republic by the score of 2-0.

Yesterday Frans Nielsen & John Tavares were named Player of the Game in their respective exhibition games.

@dchesnokov reports, “Kirill Petrov will not join the Isles after all. He signed a contract extension in the KHL with AK Bars.”  It seems a precarious CBA situation and his Mother’s health concerns are keeping him in Russia, but the Islanders will still retain his rights.  Chesnokov adds, “I am trying to find out the length of Petrov's extension and whether it is an "insurance" like contract allowing him to attend Isles camp.”

Playoff Notes:

Kevin Paul Dupont reports that of the last 8 Cup winners, 6 of them with GMs who did not play in NHL.

Adam Proteau indicates that only 2 of the 8 starting goalies left in the NHL playoffs were drafted in the 1st or 2nd round. Remember that in June.

@tonystabile points out that the 3 teams that made in-season coaching changes are among the 8 teams left playing.

Per Chris Botta, In New York, the last Rangers vs Capitals game did a 3.99 rating, highest-ever rating in the market for an NHL game on NBC Sports Net/VS.