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

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Finish Lines, Goals & Mis_teps

Yesterday, the Islanders travelled to Pittsburgh to face the streaking Penguins and newly acquired, Jerome Igilna.  In the game, after playing hard and keeping the game tight for 2+ periods, things changed even without Crosby or Kunitz on the ice. Kunitz was given a 5 minute major after hitting Josh Bailey from behind into the boards.  After the 16th minute mark of the second period, Chris Kunitz was given a game misconduct for checking Josh Bailey from behind in the Isles zone at the end of the second period.  Per Arthur Staple, "Pens coach Dan Bylsma called Kunitz's check from behind "a shoulder-to-shoulder battle that Chris won."  Kunitz was given a 5 minute major.  In the final two minutes, the Isles had a 5-on-3 advantage when Orpik was given two for tripping.  The Isles top rated road PP went 0-5 while the Penguins outworked New York in the third by building a 2-0 lead along with solid play by back up goaltender, Tomas Vokoun.

Sidney Crosby took a puck to the mouth in the opening minutes of the game.  Reports surfaced later that Crosby required oral surgery to correct the injury.  Crosby could lose considerable time off the ice while healing.  Isles fans remember the struggles of former Isles D, Jack Hilen's time away from the line up. 

“We had opportunities at the end of the second and in the third,” Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano said. “Normally when you don’t capitalize on those opportunities, it’s going to come back to get you. That’s what happened today.”

It has become time to man up and evolve for the Islanders.  It seems tht every time the Isles are poised to take the next step after a success, they lose ground and help their opponents gain confidence. My blame still lays with head coach, Jack Capuano. Despite playing hard, when you get major PP chance & big 5 on 3 late in a scoreless game, you need to score.  What has happened to road PP game? And then there's Michael Grabner and his inability to find his scorers grove.  It kills me to help Pitt keep their winning streak going at 15 at the Isles expense and allow their 3rd consecutive team shutout. 

Hopefully the Isles can regroup again and beat New Jersey on Monday.
The New York Islanders signed Defensemen, Lubo Visnovsky to a 2-year contract extension worth $9.5 million.  Visnovsky first got the attention of Isles fans when he said he was unable to report to the Islanders after a draft day trade where they acquired his rights in a trade from Anaheim.  Per Bob McKenzie, "Lubomir Visnovsky has No Move Clause in new NYI contract altho if Isles are out of playoffs at 2nd yr trade deadline, can be moved then."

D, Mark Streit and G, Evgeni Nabokov have been reported as in negotiations for new deals with the Islanders as well.  It has been reported that the organization has interest in retaining the services of Brad Boyes in the short term as well.

Per Arthur Staple, " Niagara and @strome18 eliminated from OHL playoffs tonight. Would imagine Strome will be joining BPT in next few days."  An ATO contract will most likely be put in place for this season allowing the team to start Strome's ELC starting next season.

D, Andrey Pedan, D, Scott Mayfield and F, Anders Lee have also ended their seasons and may be sent to Bridgeport or the Island soon.  Pedan and Lee will need to be signed by June 1st to remain with the organization.

B.D. Gallof remarks, " Isles camp will be fierce competition for only 2 or 3 spots on D: Donovan, Reinhart, de Haan, Pedan, Mayfield and Hickey."  I completely agree.  Add current and injured Strait with prospects like Ness, Pokka, Pelech and possibly Kichton.  Who isnt psyched for that scenario to unfold?


On 3/28 After spotting the Flyers a two goal lead after the first period, the Isles regrouped and responded with some spirited play.  John Tavares scored his team leading 21st goal of season in the second period.  In the third period, Colin McDonald scored twice in the third for the first 2 goal game of his NHL career.  The Flyers tied the game late in the third with Bryzgalov pulled and the Isles called for a delay of game penaly to force O.T.  Evgeni Nabokov came up big in the shootout while Boyes and Bailey (GWG) scored for the Isles in the shootout to secure the win, 4-3.

McDonald said, "This was the biggest game of the year. We need as many pts as we can get. We have to keep this going into the weekend.  The guys battled hard out there. We have to give a lot of credit to Nabby for keeping us in these games."

The Islanders out-hit the Flyers behind Matt Martin (6) by a 31-13 tally.


Isles Notes:

The New York Islanders open voting for the Bob Nystrom Award, which is selected by the fans and presented to the Islander who best exemplifies leadership, hustle and dedication.  While the Islanders have several players worthy of attention, I would vote for Casey Cizikas, @zeeker11. 

Per TSN, "Tavares has scored 20+ goals in each of his 4 seasons in the NHL. Took 70 gms as a rookie and it's taken fewer games in each season since."

Per Isles, "@91Tavares tallied 20th goal of the ssn in his 33GP (3/26). That put him on what would be a 50-goal pace in an 82 game ssn."

The Tampa Bay Lightning announce Jon Cooper as their new head coach with Dan Lacroix and former Islander, Steve Thomas as his assistants.

Sound Tigers Notes:

On 3/30, the BST lose to ADK by a score of 4-1.  The Sound Tigers fall to 27-28-6-5.

On 3/28, the BST score 4 in the 1st only to allow a 3 goal comeback to SPR and losing by a 5-4 margin.

Monday, March 25, 2013

A Tough Week

In their four game homestand, the Islanders got 2 of a possible 8 points, but still remain 2 points out of eigth spot (Rangers) at 14-15-3 with 31 pts, behind Washington and Carolina.  The Isles fell to Ottawa 5-3, Montreal by a 5-2 score and Pittsburgh 4-2 on the last homestand.  These games had elements of strong efforts by the Isles in each with some horrible officiating, and bad breaks.  This being said, the team needs to put themselves in a position to overcome adversity whenever possible.  There were some lost leads, fragile confidence levels and 3rd period melt downs that have become so prevolent in the Isles game this season.  The commonality that I see is Coach Capuano's inability to stabilize his team and lead them into the future.  Unaddressed inconsistencies yield a losing culture.


The final game was a long standing 1-0 lead vs Florida that ended up being a 3-0 win with empty net goals from John Tavares and Casey Cizikas.  This was a tightly played contest against a struggling team.  Evgeni Nabokov was huge in net and the team kept it together.  It seems that efforts like this are maintained in spite of Coach Capuano and I almost cringe as the team fights on and limps behind the final playoff spot because it means Capuano's job would seemingly be safe.  I feel like he would remain the coach and be credited with keeping things afloat, where I give more credit to the maturation of the young and improving team in these comebacks instead of their head coach.


As an Isles fan, I want everyone in the organization to succeed, but cant stay quiet about my feelings on their shortcomings.  Whatever the answer, the Isles are still in the hunt with the final part of the season coming up. 



Isles Notes:

The Islanders have a four game road trip against Washington on Tuesday @ 7pm, Philadelphia on Thursday @ 7pm, Pittsburgh on Saturday @ 1pm and New Jersey on Monday @ 7pm.

Per @andystrickland, Told Isles have begun peliminary talks with D-man Lubo Visnovsky.

Anders Lee scores as Notre Dame captures CCHA title.  "For us to go out there and win the last CCHA Tournament is very special and something we'll always remember," said Lee.


Sound Tigers Notes:

Did You Know: In his last seven starts, goaltender Rick DiPietro is 5-2-0 with a 2.12 GAA & a .922 SV%.

Anders Nilsson Skating With the Sound Tigers.      



Personal Message:

I have had a rough week as well.  My Mom fell and broke her hip on Saturday, 3/16 & my Fiance had spinal fusion surgery on 3/18.  While the love of my life was enduring a slow and painful recovery, I left her for hours at a time and I took my Dad back and forth to a Hospital in another state until Thursday when I went to Boston on buisness for the weekend. Then my Dad got into an accident alone while coming back from visiting Mom in the Hospital this past Saturday.  He was taken to our local Hospital.  I had to work out mistakes by said Hospitals and Physical Rehabs from my cell phone, and returned home around 5 am on Sunday.  Then, I had to visit both Parents in different states on Sunday and organize a plan for the upcoming week.  While I was trying to settle or maintain affairs for my Mom and Dad today, I learned that a close friend lost his battle with cancer.  I am destroyed.

I am not sure how focused I can be on hockey, but I will try and use it as a tether to my sanity with the help of my family and friends. 

Thanks again to everyone who visits KoC.


A part of me died today with my friend Mike that will never return. I love you and miss you Brother.

Rest in Peace Michael Dennis.

May 18, 1982 - March 25, 2013

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Issues facing my Family will not allow me to work on KoC for a few days.  I will get back to reporting on Our New York Islanders as soon as I am able to do so.


Thank you to everyone that comes to this blog each day to read my opinion.


Joe Bondi

Saturday, March 16, 2013

C-I-Z-I-K-A-S! Isles Beat Florida

Tonight, your New York Islanders are in Florida to face the Florida Panthers.  The Panthers are last in the eastern conference with a 7-15-6 record and 20 pts on the season.  They have only scored 67 goals, and given up 105 goals for a differential of -38, worst in the NHL.  The Islanders have an opportunity to move ahead of the NYR with a win here tonight.  The Isles have been good on the road all season.  Their road power play is 11-for-35 (31.4%), ranked 1st in the NHL.  Its another HUGE game for New York.

Forwards:  Moulson-Tavares-Boyes, Bailey-Nielsen-Okposo, Cizikas-Aucoin-McDonald, Martin-Reasoner-Boulton.

Defensive Pairings:  MacDonald-Hamonic, Streit-Martinek, Hickey-Visnovsky

Evgeni Nabokov will be in net with Kevin Poulin backing up.


In the first period, the Isles come out moving the puck well.  PK for the Isles at 2:15 mark.  Evgeni Nabokov with some strong saves in the PK.  Started poorly, but strong kill for the Isles.  Cizikas with a nice shot on net.  Thomas Hickey looking better and better on defense for the Islanders.  Aucoin with some nice efforts tonight as well.  Florida has matched the Isles intensity as the period progresses.  Bailey skates away from puck setting up his shot.  Boulton & Parros drop the gloves.  New York is fore checking well.  Frans Nielsen sets up Okposo with a nice feed from behind the net, 1-0 Isles!  Eric Hornick notes that its "career assist #124 for Nielsen, tying Benoit Hogue and Mikko Makela for 32nd place on all-time Isles list."  Streit (& Reasoner) finds Martinek who fires it by Clemmensen to make it 2-0 Isles.  Islanders played another strong road period.  Shots are even at 9-9.

The Isles score just :33 seconds into the second period.  Credit Boyes (Tavares) with a deflection off the defensemen's skate.  3-0 Isles.  Isles really moving the puck well and setting up plays while Panthers skate to keep up.  Bailey is really struggling to find his game.  He is fumbling pucks and constantly out of position.  Nabokov is still sharp  Isles answering Florida's pressure in the Isles zone by playing physical and strong back checking.  Casey Cizikas inserting himself into the shooting lanes and creating opportunities for himself and his line mates.  Florida has hit a pair of posts in the closing minutes of the period.  The Isles out shot the Panthers 6-5 in the period and 15-14 in the game so far.  Isles are 11-1-2 when scoring 3+ goals in a game.

In the third period, the Isles open with energy, but have gotten a little sloppy with Florida buzzing.  The Panthers get the puck deep and take several slaps at rebounds sitting right in the crease and get one by Nabokov.  The Isles lead is cut to 3-1.  Panthers come right back and score again just :34 seconds later.  The score is now 3-2.  Another rebound gives the Panthers another goal.  Three goals in just 1:43.  The game is tied at 3-3.  Another meltdown by the Isles, but there is still plenty of time to recover.  Which Islanders team will show up for the remainder of the game?  Isles regroup and aggressively fore check hard.  Credit Nabokov for regaining his composure.  Cizikas (McDonald & Aucoin) gets the go ahead goal, 4-3 Isles!  The energy level is high for both teams as they joust for control of the puck.  Panther net is empty at 1:29 remaining in the third.  K.O. misses the empty net.  Time expires and the Isles win, 4-3.  Florida out shoots the Isles 15-10 in the period and 30-25 in the game.  The Isles are 13-12-3 for 29 pts and move ahead of the Rangers and are one pt out of eighth spot.


The Isles appeared to be playing another strong road game and looked good for the most part on both sides of the play.  Several players played well, and the team came out were winning battles for 2 periods.  Things changed and quickly from the 5:00 min thru the 7:00 min mark of the third period.  With the score tied, Casey Cizikas scores to give the lead back to his Isles team at a crucial time.  Much like Bob Nystrom, Cizikas is developing into Mr. Clutch for the Isles.  He never quits, battles through adversity and always gives the Isles a chance when he is on the ice. 
Ruud van der Borgh of the Lets Go Islanders Facebook Group mentions @zeeker11 for the Bob Nystrom award. 
I agree.


Isles Notes:

Per Arthur Staple, David Ullstrom (lower body) went back to NY for evaluation, placed on IR (groin) out 3-4 weeks.

Jesse Joensuu, not a call up, will most likely replace Ullstrom.  Joensuu: Whenever I get my chance, I’m focused on being physical. I’m looking to create space for my linemates and get them the puck.

The New York Islanders sign Colin McDonald to 2-year extension. 600K/675K, both years one-way.

Per Arthur Staple, Isles soon to begin extension talks with Visnovsky, Nabokov. Both players told me that they are open to staying w/ team beyond this season.

Per Arthur Staple, also keeping an eye on NCAA hockey postseason -- hope to sign Anders Lee of ND and Scott Mayfield of Denver when their seasons end.  Also have heard that D Brenden Kichton, Isles 5th-round pick in 2011, has rejected contract offer and is likely to reenter draft in June.  Kichton currently 22-61-83 for Spokane, leads WHL Dmen in scoring. Feels he can go higher than 5th round this time.

Per Chris Botta, Isles will play one ex game in Sept at Barclays. Wasn't able to confirm whether they'll play a few 2013-14 season games there, too.

The Isles will have a four game homestand with OTT on Tuesday @ 7:00pm, MTL on Thursday @7:00pm, PIT on Friday @ 7:00pm anf FLA on Sunday @ 5:00pm.


Sound Tigers Notes:

Tonight, the BST faced the Hershey Bears and @Reiter35 - Kenny Reiter stops 31 shots, but Bears spoil shutout bid as Sound Tigers lose 1-0 in O.T.
On 3/15 - Per BST, Neither team had a PP for 35 min. until that call on Jackson. Game-changing call. Final score, Monarchs steal a 3-2 win. SOG 31-26.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Isles Ground Lightning

Your New York Islanders are in Tampa tonight to face the Lightning.  Vinny Lacavalier has been placed on Injured Reserve, but that wont mean much with Stamkos and St. Louis ready to go.  Tampa is struggling and will be hungry, but the Isles must win tonight and on the weekend against Florida to stay in the race and they must handle the teams below them in the standings.

Forwards:  Moulson-Tavares-Boyes, Bailey-Nielsen-Okposo, Ullstrom-Aucoin-Cizikas, Martin-Reasoner-Boulton.

Defensive Pairings:  MacDonald-Hamonic, Streit-Martinek, Hickey-Visnovsky.

Evgeni Nabokov is in net backed up by Kevin Poulin.

Colin McDonald is day-to-day, sick.

The first period starts slow, but quickens with some offensive surges for New York.  Arthur Staple observes, Lightning matching Nate Thompson vs. Tavares.   Isles trying to match Nielsen's line & MacDonald-Hamonic vs. Stamkos."  Evgeni Nabokov with a series of big saves early.  Isles get some strong chances, but Tampa's D & goaltending is holding so far.  Isles getting shots, but the Lightning D play shots well with their sticks.  Visnovsky breaks in with speed and fires a nice wrist shot on net, but the save is made.  A focused Ullstrom making an impression in the period thus far with a strong offensive effort.  Isles getting physical, getting good pressure in offensive zone, making Lindback work in Tampa net.  Isles outshoot Lightning 13-6, playing a strong road game. 0-0.

In the second period, the Isles continue with some good offensive efforts.  The Isles continue to work and play physically.  A lone penalty is finally acknowledged on TB for knocking stick from Martin's hand.  John Tavares (Moulson) scores a PP goal with a nice tap in from the side of the net.  1-0 Isles.  It's his 17th goal on the season.  Nabokov preserves the lead off a nice save off Stamkos.  Isles will be on the PK.  Casey Cizikas is really developing his game.  Penalty is over and the period ends.  The Isles outshoot Lightning 9-6 in the period and 22-12 in the game.  Islanders are controlling the game thus far.  3rd period incoming.

Tampa Bay have come out strong to start the third period, generating sustained pressure deep in the Isles zone.  Nabokov comes up with more big saves, including a great toe save off a deflection by Stamkos.  Puck is cleared and Coach Capuano calls a time out.  Isles respond with some pressure of their own, Reasoner makes a nice move but can't finish.  Linback has been solid in net so far for TB.  Isles go back to the PK.  Awesome kill against an energetic PP for the Lightning.  Isles playing a good, selfless game thus far, an honest effort.  David Ullstrom appears hurt as he limps into the tunnel.  In the final minutes, TB is pressing hard.  TB calls a timeout with 1:18 remaining with Lindback going to the bench.  TB net is empty.  The Lightning get several point blank chances, Nabokov makes the saves.  Puck is cleared, Boyes pounces on a bouncing puck and scores the empty net goal.  The Islanders win, 2-0!  The Isles outshoot  Lightning 7-6 in the period and 29-18 in the game.  Evgeni Nabokov records his second shut out of the season with 18 saves.  He was a big reason for the "W" tonight. 

Butch Goring, " Anytime you keep Stamkos and St Louis off the score sheet you're doing something special.  Only 5th time all year they went scoreless."

Evgeni Nabokov, " It was a good performance by the whole team -- the forwards and defense. We did a good job on their big guys."

Tonight's effort was a nice change from the Pittsburgh game.  The Isles played a strong team game.  The were physical, checked hard and moved the puck to generate scoring chances.  The defensive effort was there against Stamkos and St. Louis, and Evgeni Nabokov played well, keeping his team in the game with a one goal lead.  The Isles climb to 12-12-3, and get a huge two points, but will remain three points out behind the Jets, and one point behind the Rangers.  Coaching was ok tonight.  The team really played well.

The Isles will face the Florida Panthers on Saturday.  Another must win for New York.

Will Jesse Joensuu be ready to play if David Ullstrom is hurt or will there be another call up from Bridgeport?  My guess is Nino Niederreiter (25 and 18 for 43 pts in 57 games and a -4 rating) or Brock Nelson (16 and 25 for 41 pts in 48 games and a +2 rating). 
Nabby's ready.  Bring it.

Isles Notes:

Per NYI, @MMoulson & @91Tavares have 2nd highest PP goals totals among NHL teammates w. 14(7ea); 2nd to Neal&Kunitz (PIT) w. 16.

More good news for Isles prospect Anders Lee, named a CCHA finalist for Player of the Year & Best Defensive Forward!

Ed Mangano Seeks RFP To Reinvent Nassau Coliseum.

Per Christian Arnold, (@mrkevinconnolly) Kevin Connolly's film on ex-Islanders owner John Spano to premiere at Tribeca Film Festival via @Newsday

Sound Tigers Notes:

Player News: The Sound Tigers have traded forward Jack Combs to the San Antonio Rampage for future considerations.

NHL Notes:

The NHL Board of Governors vote to approve re-alignment and new plan goes into effect starting next season.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Dear Coach Capuano

Dear Coach Capuano,

My name is Joe and I am a fan of the New York Islanders from way back. 

During my time as a fan, Ive been both fortunate, and cursed. 

When I was much younger, I was fortunate enough to witness an Islanders Dynasty bulit by Bill Torrey, overseen and nurtured by Al Arbour.  I watched the likes of players like Billy Smith and Mike Bossy aspire to greatness and bring pride to the Isles crest.  I watched a group of young men become a team, and then become four time champions.

I have also endured the Mike Milbury era where I experienced losing, terrible trades and the fishermen jersey that helped Ranger fans develop another chant aside from "Potvin sucks."  During that period, the Isles had many players, some good and some not so good file through a decade or so of embarrassing hockey to the fans of Long Island's team.

But I digress.  My reason for writing to you today sir is to ask a favor.  I know you have worked hard to get where you are.  A successful college career at the University of Maine and some nice accomplishments in the AHL and IHL before being named head coach in the ECHL and later added GM responibilities until that organization folded.  After that, you signed on with the Islanders as an assistant coach under Scott Gordon.  After he was fired and the Isles finished well out of the playoffs, the organization thought enough of you to keep you on as an assistant, and later as head coach for their AHL affiliate, Bridgeport Sound Tigers, going 133-100-8-14.  In 2010, Garth Snow named you interim head coach of the New York Islanders.

Since you were named interim head coach in the 2010-11 season, the Islanders finished 26-29-10, and in the 2011-12 season, they finished 34-37-11.  The team failed to make the playoffs and finished near the bottom of the league in both seasons.  I am aware of the budgetary constraints that some say were on the team until a new arena could be secured on the horizon and that your GM, Garth Snow had difficulty attracting high level free agents.  It was a challenge to get the most out of a little and compete with a young, but skilled team.  Since the Isles are rebuilding, most fans gave you and the organization some leeway.

In this, the lock-out shortened (2012-) 2013 season, the Islanders are currently 11-12-3 with 25 points.  That ranks them 22 out of 30 teams, but also means they are 10th in the eastern conference, just 3 points out of eighth position.  Now looking back, that's a reasonable position for this young Isles team to be in after the halfway point of the season.  I think Garth Snow has done a pretty good job with assembling a roster of good picks, serviceable vets and decent waiver pick ups that have had some success in games this season.  There have been some huge wins, strong comebacks and individual milestones reached.  Please accept my thanks for what positive things you have been able to help the team accomplish and contribute as coach.

While the Isles are ranked 9th in goals for with 2.88 per game, they are 29th in goals against, with an abysmal 3.38 allowed per game.  Special teams are pretty good, with their PP unit ranked 7th at 23% and PK unit ranked 17th at 80.2%.  John Tavares is ranked 10th in the NHL with 29pts and Matt Moulson is ranked 13th with 27 pts in 26 games played.  However, of all the league leaders, Tavares and Moulson have the worst plus/minus rating at -8.  This is where I am going with my letter to you.

As the head coach, you are supposed to provide the leadership and are the man in charge when it comes to team preparation and execution.  Your New York Islanders are very inconsistent. As a matter of fact, they seem unable to find consistency in their overall game.  Its almost like they forget or lose focus on the task at hand during the game.  This is troubling because I think that with consistent direction, honest efforts, an efficiently working D and when more than just the top lines are contributing regularly, the Isles could make the 4th of 5th spot in the playoff picture instead of the 8th.  Unfortunately, I don't think this is possible with you as their head coach.

You have shown me an inability to modify a game plan as the game and/or score spirals out of control.  You have not been able to get a handle on your locker room.  Your superstar center, John Tavares has exploded in frustration as the team shows a constant inability to evolve.  This was most evident when he sat alone, on the bench after the game vs. the Hurricanes on February 11th.  I know that Mr. Snow has J.T. signed until 2017, but I would hate to see him frustrated to the poit that he asks for a trade.  He is our franchise player and a way for the team to return to respectability.

Turnovers and uninspired play or "passengers," as you call them are examples of bad traits that reveal themselves game in and game out.  What is even more disconcerting is when you admit in post game interviews that you "have no idea," what must be done to fix it.  Seriously?  How about you connect with your players.  Talk with your vets, get to know your prospects and take a general interest in the pulse and personality of your team.  There will be times you must motivate them and there will be other times you must settle them down and keep them focused on whats going on.  I think you have failed with each and every point I have made in this letter quite often in games this season. 

I think a change is needed to help the Islanders take their next step.  I think that "change" is an experienced and successful NHL level coach who has wisdom to enact all the things I have mentioned when they are needed.

That coach doesn't leave goaltenders in net who aren't getting team defensive support or might be off their game to be peppered and humilaited.  That coach doesn't take time outs at foolish points in a game or pull a goalie with too much time remaining.

My point in this letter isn't personal.  Its more of an overwhelming frustration that Islanders fans have endured for far too long.  When we watch the current team struggle to maintain their proficient play, we get angry.  When we watch them continuiously meltdown or fail on maintaining a necessary compete level, strong team defense, protection in their own zone, bring physical play, fore or back check, we see a pattern of complacenecy that leads to a losing culture. 

That is unacceptable to us.  Since you will most likely not be fired by Garth Snow, please consider what is good for the team, the fans and the organization.

The fans deserve the best chance available for the Isles to win.  If your best answer is that you have no idea how to correct what is wrong with this team, please stop leading it. 

Step down and help us go in a different direction.


Joe Bondi


Isles Notes:

Today's lines:  Moulson-Tavares-Boyes, Bailey-Nielsen-Okposo, Joensuu-Aucoin-Ullstrom, Boulton-Reasoner-Cizikas.

Defensive Pairings:  MacDonald-Hamonic, Hickey-Visnovsky, Martinek-Streit, Finley-Carkner.

Matt Martin & in McDonald are not on the ice for practice.

Jesse Joensuu and Matt Carkner are travelling with the team to Florida.


On Monday, March 11th, the New York Islanders "returned" F, David Ullstrom to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.  In 19 games, Ullstrom has 2 and 3 for 5 pts and a -2 rating with 1 game winning goal.

On March 12th, Michael Grabner has a shoulder injury he suffered during the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.  He has been placed on IR retroactive to March 10.

On March 12th, Jesse Joensuu was on the ice for Isles practice at Iceworks.

Forwards:  Moulson-Tavares-Boyes, Bailey-Nielsen-Okposo, Joensuu-Reasoner-Aucoin, Martin-Cizikas-Boulton

Defensive Pairings:  MacDonald-Hamonic, Hickey-Visnovsky, Martinek-Streit, Finley-Carkner.

David Ullstrom scores the game-winner for the BST on the power play!! Final score in OT, 3-2 Sound Tigers!

On March 13th, the New York Islanders recalled F, David Ullstrom.


Per Neil Best, Islanders finished last season averaging 0.21 percent of new york area homes. This season they are averaging 0.47, up 124 percent.

Per Chris Peters, " Austin Czarnik, Anders Lee (NYI), Riley Barber (WSH), Jacob Trouba (WPG), Danny DeKeyser & Brady Hjelle named 1st team All-CCHA."

Per @coreypronman:  In OHL East Conf. coaches poll Isles Strome named best stick handler, best passer, smartest player & best shootout player.

Per New York Newsday, "Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano wants to turn Nassau Coliseum into a scaled-down arena with 8,000 to 12,000 seats for family shows, concerts and minor league sports."

Mangano released the plan Tuesday in a request for proposals to firms to redevelop and operate the Coliseum and is expected to unveil it formally during his State of the County address Wednesday night."

Bruce Ratner will bid on Nassau Coliseum per a Post article.  Based on our review of the arena and the marketplace, we believe that the [Coliseum] can be a viable entertainment venue" per Ratner.

Keep in mind if Ratner does win the bid for the Colisieum, it is possible that the Isles would probably be more able to break their lease and play in the Barclay's Center.

Sound Tigers Notes:

Sound Tigers...WIN!! David Ullstrom on the doorstep open net with the game-winner on the power play!! Final score in OT, 3-2 Sound Tigers!

Player News: The Sound Tigers & forward Chad Costello have signed a mutual release agreement, releasing Costello from his AHL contract.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


The Islanders travel to Pittsburgh to face Sidney Crosby and the Penguins.  The Penguins are 0-2 at home vs your New York Islanders since erecting that tasteful statue of Pilon and Norton outside the Consol Energy Center.  An Isles victory tonight will bring them closer to a playoff spot (tied, but behind NJ) if they can continue playing well enough to beat the second place team in the east who will take the ice without Evgeni Malkin in their line up.  A win would also lift the Islanders above the .500 mark and make a statement for the second half surge.


Forwards:  Moulson-Tavares-Boyes, Bailey-Nielsen-Okposo, Grabner-Reasoner-Ullstrom, Martin-Cizikas-McDonald

Defensive pairings:  MacDonald-Hamonic, Hickey-Visnovsky, Streit-Martinek. Finley is out.

Evgeni Nabokov is in net with Kevin Poulin backing up.


In the first period, Isles come out with some bounce.  Penguins getting more pressure in offensive zone of Isles.  Penguins Dupuis sets up in Isles crease, scrum ensues with Crosby punching a downed Nabokov, Officials award matching 2 minutes penalties.  NHL is all Crosby, all the time.  Pens score to take a 1-0 lead at around the 13:00 minute mark.  Nabokov wants that one back, wasn't set.  Isles need to get their game back on track.  Time to bring back some toughness and grit.  Isles take consecutive minors and give Pittsburgh a 5-3 PP opportunity.  2-0 Pittsburgh.  The Isles making mistakes and not be aided by laziness or officiating.  3-0 Pittsburgh.  Isles out shot 12-4 in the period.


The team is out of sync and unorganized.  They are being victimized by terrible officiating and the sloppy play the coaches spoke about at the start of yesterdays game.  It needs to be addressed again tonight.  Here is where your head coach takes control of his teams situation and refocuses them.  We shall see.  We should see Poulin to start the second.


Evgeni Nabokov is back in the Islanders net to start the second.  Truly amazing.  Capuano should write a book on optional coaching.  The Islanders seem to have forgotten how they played the last few games and have settled into a wait and see style of game play.  Moulson makes a nice play to Cizikas who sets up Boyes for a nice shot over Vokoun's shoulder cutting the Pens lead to 3-1 at about the twelve minute mark.  Seconds after, Michael Grabner puts the puck into a net off its moorings, no goal.  Penguins have lost some energy and the building is quiet.  Crosby beats Moulson to the puck and Boyes in late getting back, Kunitz gets a hat trick, 4-1 Penguins.  Neil scores immediately after play resumes just :16 seconds apart.  Nabokov remains in net.  The period mercifully ends with the teams even on shots in the second period, 5-5 and the Pens with a 17-9 advantage for the game.  Nabokov was less than stellar, but this disaster is not all on him by any stretch.

The Isles have not showed up tonight and another blow out is in the making that John Tavares and all the other "core" players have to swallow.  Explain how free agents will want any of this.  This team has talent and needs a real experienced NHL coach that knows how to win.  The deal with officiating aside, the team needs to bring the physical edge and fight their way back into the game.  Again, consistency in the recipe for success and we dont even seem to have a kitchen.  Poor coaching is destroying their consistency.


Kevin Poulin will start the third period.  Evgeni Nabokov gave up 5 goals on 17 shots with a .706Sv%.

Islanders finish off a PP chance to start the third period and generate some movement, but fall short.  Play continues with a slow pace, a little back and forth.  Another turnover leads to hanging Poulin out to dry and a 6-1 Penguins lead.  Per Eric Hornick, "Crosby 1st player to have 5 assists vs Isles since Scott Gomez on 3/30/03 for NJ."  The Islanders have had little physical play in the game.  Penguins win by the score of 6-1.  Kevin Poulin went 10 for 11 and a .909Sv% in the third.  The Isles were out shot by a 28-24 margin in the game.


Turnovers and uninspired play plagued the Islanders tonight.  Its a shame that each time they get to the precipice of progress, they falter or deconstruct and fall into disarray.  The team has no ability to find consistency with their roster.  I am big on adding a veteran goal scorer, veteran defensemen and a coach to find it, but I dont see that happening before the off season.  There is always a chance a team that finds themselves out of the playoffs wants to unload salary, but we will have to wait and see.  Damage is being done to the core by fostering this losing culture and I can only hope I am over reacting because I am an Isles fan first.  Truth is, it is only one game and they don't play again until Thursday.

My problem is that the Islanders manage to keep replaying this "one game" over and over again.  Then is becomes inconsistency, which becomes losing.  Again.


Isles Notes:


Michael Grabner makes his 200th career NHL start tonight.

Per Islander Mania, Today in 1980 - The Isles acquire @91Goring from the LA Kings for Bill Harris and Dave Lewis.  Butch was the missing piece to the Dynasty.