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

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

An Isles Legend Retires and A Partnership Announced



In 1991, the New York Islanders selected Zigmund Palffy 26th overall in the second round of the NHL entry draft.  Palffy showed his skill in the minors playing in the now defunct IHL for the Salt Lake Golden Eagles and Denver Grizzlies the following year.  I would just like to mention that I proudly have a #68 Palffy Grizzlies jersey in my collection.  Well today, Palffy has announced his retirement from pro hockey. 
To those fans who didn't get to see him play, I am sorry you missed him.  He was something special to watch.


As an Islander during the dreaded fish-stick era, Palffy was able to become an elite talent in the NHL.  Per islanders.nhl.com, "The Skalica, Slovakia native led the team in goals and points in three consecutive seasons from 1995-98, setting career highs in goals (48) and points (90) during the 1996-97 campaign.

In six seasons with the Islanders, Palffy posted 331 points (168 goals, 163 assists) in 331 games. His 0.51 goals per game with the Islanders rank fourth in franchise history, while his 1.00 points per game are good for fifth."


Ziggy Palffy had little trouble finding teams that wanted his services.  The Islanders traded Palffy with Goalie Prospect, Marcel Cousineau (whose Lowell Lock Monsters jersey I also own.), Bryan Smolinsky and a 4th round pick (Daniel Johansson) to the LA Kings for Josh Green, Olli Jokinen, Mathieu Biron and a 1st round pick in 1999 (Taylor Pyatt).

Palffy has played in both the Czech. & Slovak Pro leagues along with his IHL and NHL (Isles, Kings, Penguins) tours.  As a pro, Zigmund Palffy scored 329 and 384 for 713 pts. in 684 gp.  He has been selected to four (97,98,01,02) NHL all-star games and competed and medaled in several international tournaments including the Olympics, Juniors, World Championships & World Cup.


All Palffy did was score big goals when called upon everywhere he played.  As a fan favorite on the Island, Palffy gave Isles fans a glimmer of hope during a very dark period in the teams history.  Zigmund Palffy was a very good player, even a great player at times.  I was a big fan of his and I want to thank him for his tenure on Long Island in the Mike Milbury era, where he almost became a Ranger!  You can find Stories galore about Palffy in a must read for all Isles fans called, FISH STICKS, the fall and rise of the New York Islanders by Peter Botte and Alan Hahn.


Palffy played with everything he had for Isles fans.  He was a classy player who was loved by the fans and who was appreciated for how hard he fought to win while he played here. 


Thanks Ziggy.  It was a pleasure.


In team news, the New York Islanders announced an affiliation agreement with the ECHL's Stockton Thunder today.  The Thunder will join the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL) as a primary minor league affiliate. 



A winning culture is necessary starting at the ECHL level.  It will help the Isles top prospects learn the system and gain experience while playing for the Isles organization, even before playing at the AHL level. 



"Since their 2005-06 inaugural season, the Thunder have qualified for the Kelly Cup Playoffs seven consecutive times, from 2007-13. In 2012-13, the Thunder finished second in the Western Conference’s Pacific Division and made it to the Kelly Cup Finals before falling in five games to the Reading Royals. The Thunder play at Stockton Arena in Stockton, CA."






Isles Notes:

MEET CAL CLUTTERBUCK! One of the newest Isles will host an autograph signing at the NVMC Team Store on Tuesday, Aug. 6.



Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Team Canada WJC Camp & Isles Notes


Team Canada will hold its camp to select players for its final roster to compete in the 2014 WJC's from August 4th thru the 10th in Brossard, Que. and Lake Placid N.Y.  Canada has invited 3 goaltenders, 12 defensemen and 20 forwards to the camp.
 
 
Current hopefuls have been selected by former Isles assistant general manager & amateur scouting director, Ryan Jankowski who now serves as Hockey Canada senior director of hockey operations.  While with the NYI, Jankowski had a part in drafting "John Tavares, Kyle Okposo, Travis Hamonic, Josh Bailey, Matt Martin, Kirill Petrov, Kirill Kabanov, Andrew MacDonald, Brock Nelson, David Ullstrom, Kevin Poulin, Calvin de Haan, Mikko Koskinen and Casey Cizikas," per IPB.
 

Isles prospects that were invited to Canada's WJC camp include, Griffin Reinhart, Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech. Unfortunately, Adam Pelech had to withdraw from consideration due to injury.
 


 
 

Isles Notes:


The NYI Booster Club has a new Web Page.


Would Tim Thomas be the goalie that could help the Isles take the next step for the upcoming season? Even after sitting out a year?  Should Isles just have tolled his contract into this season & paid him $5M or take the chance on signing him to a lower FA signing price.  Or should the Isles just stick with Nabokov & avoid Thomas or work out a trade or watch waivers to add another goalie later in the season?  I don't think Thomas is the short term answer for the Isles.


Islanders forward, Frans Nielsen was recognized by NHL.com for his talents as a shootout star.  "Only one active player with 20 or more shootout attempts has cashed in on more than half of them. That player is Nielsen, who has scored on 25 of his 45 tries for a 55.6-percent success rate -- despite going 2-for-7 (.286) last season. Nielsen's trademark move is a backhand deke, though he's started mixing up his repertoire by using a quick-release wrister as well."
 

5/3 Isles comeback vs. Pittsburgh, one of the best from last season per NHL.com.


Former Islander D, Chris Campoli who negotiated on behalf of the NHLPA during the lockout, has signed with HC Lugano for 2013-14 in Switzerland.
 

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins announced today that they have signed former Isles prospect goaltender Peter Manino to an American Hockey League contract.


Isles assistant coach Doug Weight and former captain Bill Guerin have both selected as part of the 2013 U.S Hockey Hall of Fame Class.


@stevelepore:  Just been announced that Big Shot, the 30 for 30 film on former Isles owner John Spano, will air Oct. 22.


So, with only a 10 yr lease extension for Rags @ MSG, what might Dolans real aim be to develop NVMC HUB.  Here's what Penn Station looked like before the architecture was raised to build MSG on top of the station.
 

B.D. Gallof posted a High Democratic source's reaction to the latest on the HUB.  "Once we lost the Islanders – which the interest by these major players demonstrates we should not have – the issue of what type of Coliseum becomes a bit silly. There is no anchor. The shame of it all is that when Wang was unwilling to front the cost and the taxpayers were unwilling to support the borrowing, Mangano should have reached out to outside groups and maybe – just maybe – we would be talking about a new 18,000 seat Coliseum for the Islanders built by one of these two groups."
 
 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Your NYI Olympians & Matt Moulson


With the Winter Olympics coming up in 2014, the NHL will break from their regular season from February 9th through the 25th, for qualifying countries in an international hockey tournament at the city of Sochi in Russia. Teams throughout the NHL will allow their top athletes to play for their homeland and compete for a chance to go for the gold medal in the tournament.


Your New York Islanders are no different.

For Team USA, Kyle Okposo will try and make the American squad. 

For Team Canada, John Tavares and Travis Hamonic  will compete for roster spots. (Tony Stabile points out Hamonic is the youngest D on roster.)

For Team Russia, Islander's goaltender, Evgeni Nabokov with battle 4 other goaltenders (Barulin, Bobrovsky, Varlamov, Koshechkin) for a spot on the Russian team. 

As a fan, do you even want Nabokov playing in the Olympics?  Sure, it would be a great way to stay sharp, but what about the additional chances for injury at age 38?

For Team Slovakia, Lubomir Visnovsky.

For Team Austria, Michael Grabner.

For Team Finland, (Former Isles invited include, Joensuu and Bergenheim) 

For Team Sweden, Their are no Islanders competing.

Unfortunately, Team Denmark was knocked out of eligibility with a loss to Slovania in an IIHF competition this August.  That means Frans Nielsen and new Islander, Peter Regin will not enter Olympic competition.



A familiar Islanders player who won't be invited to an Olympic Camp to compete for a roster spot is Matt Moulson.


Matt Moulson was a 3rd or 4th line possibility for the Manchester Monarchs/LA Kings when Garth Snow signed him as a free agent for the 2009 season.  He is not that kind of player anymore.  The fact is that even though Moulson has been a 30 goal scorer and a major part of the New York Islanders success over the last few seasons, it isn't enough for a Team Canada invite.  Now this doesn't mean that an injury to one of Canada's star players wouldn't make Moulson a top choice for an alternate, but is that enough?


With the Isles, Moulson has broken the 30 goal mark three times prior to this shortened season with NY. Even after the lock out, he still scored 15 goals in 47gp which was well on the way for another 30 goal season.  Actually, forward from his initial 2009 season with the Isles, Moulson's scoring touch has gone up each year, until the lockout shortened campaign (44 pts) last season with totals of 48, 53 and 69pts.  The guy is a good offensive talent and has a nose for the net and great hockey sense.


These numbers are impressive, and yes, I know anyone could score more points on a line with John Tavares, but Moulson has scored with different line mates through last few seasons as well.  Matt Moulson hasn't been able to bring home a Lady Byng Trophy and he has been once again left off a deep and talented roster for Team Canada.  Looking at the "All-Star Team" that Canada is shaping up to be in Sochi, it would have a tough fight for a talented Moulson to win an available roster spot.  Its just that after another productive season, Matt Moulson wont even get a chance to try.


With skilled players, their is always a luxury of depth.  Depth creates competition and competition gives you the best chance to win.  Matt Moulson will need to improve even more with the Isles this season to be noticed for International competition.  Moulson is a UFA in 2014, so he will have the chance and all the reasons to do so while he tries to win a contract extension with the Islanders beyond this season.


Much like Team Canada, the Isles want to be the best they can be.  When success is won by a team, they must push even harder to reach the next level and never stop tooling and reworking things to stay fresh and concise in their endeavors.  It is then even harder to make the cut and win a spot of that team.

Remember, second place goes to the loser of the battle for 1st.






Notes:

Christopher Triantafilis of Isles Optimism did such a great job on his article here, I had to rework my article written last night because they were so similar.  I was only able to rework so much.  Great minds ....



Saturday, July 20, 2013

Isles & NHL Notes


 
The New York Islanders release their full schedule.  Eric Hornick lays down the skinny on the season.
 
 
Your New York islanders need a strong start and take advantage of all the home ice they will have to start the season. Statement time!
 
 

 

 

NHL Notes:

 

Information on the NHL's special event games, the new divisions and their names, Olympic break and season matrix can be found here.



An agreement has been reached with the IIHF, NHL and NHLPA to participate in Sochi Olympics this season.

 
The Olympic men's tournament gold medal game will be played on Sunday, February 23rd at 7:00am ET.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Islanders Re-Sign Thomas Hickey


The New York Islanders announce that Defenseman, Thomas Hickey has agreed to terms on a one way, two-year deal.  Arthur Staple reports that "Hickey gets $1.35 million over 2 years on the deal."


Brett Cyrgalis adds, "Hickey's deal with the #Isles is for $1.35m over two years. Pays 600k, then 750k, for annual hit of 675."


Another good signing by Snow, Hickey is a young and skilled defensemen who made his share of mistakes, but showed improvement in the Isles line up the more he played.  He gained more trust by the coaching staff last season and was called upon in some major moments to guard the Isles blue line.


Hickey's deal gives the Isles a low cost asset on D that could become more than just a stop gap signing.  It's also a two year deal that will allow Reinhart or Pulock to finish developing as pros.  With all the talent (Mayfield, Pedan, etc.) in the system, Hickey will have to shine to remain on the roster, but competition is a good thing.
 


 Hickey on Twitter:


Thrilled to be with the #isles for 2 more seasons!!"

 



 

Isles Notes:


The Isles Pre-Season Schedule was released yesterday.

 
On July 18th, 2006, Garth Snow is named 5th general manager in team history.



Monday, July 15, 2013

Islanders Re-Sign Josh Bailey



Josh Bailey avoided arbitration and signs a 5-year, $16.5 million deal with the Islanders.  Bailey's Annual cap hit will be $3.3m per.


Tony Stabile points out, "Through the 15-16 season, Isles have JT. Bailey, KO, Grabs, Clutterbuck, Frans, Hamonic and Martin locked up for less than $25 million."


Arthur Staple, "Isles now have 12 players signed for 2014-15. Only 4 of them (Nielsen, McDonald, Viz, Carkner) will be older than 27 when 14-15 begins."
 

This is another example of the Islanders plan and system and how it is working from an organizational standpoint.  Players acquired via trade (Visnovsky) or waivers (Nabokov, Strait) are even buying into it.  The next step is attracting high ticket free agents that will buy into the cost structure that the team is using very well in the face of ridiculous deals being handed out by other organizations.
 

B.D. Gallof adds, "All you have to do is look at the horrid contracts handed out. eg: Clowe to see why Isles happy to pay 3.2 per on Josh Bailey.  All Isles core players are contracted during prime/peak yrs at lower than current NHL costs & wild $$ contracts."



In the last 1.5 seasons, Bailey's move to wing and play with Kyle Okposo has really helped both players break out.  While Okposo seemed to improve even more with Moulson and Nielsen later in the season, Bailey was also really good on the top line with Tavares and Boyes.  Once high draft picks and key corner stones of the rebuild, Bailey and Okposo had only 3 and 4 pts. respectively in the Isles 6 game playoff, but there worth was proven beyond the stat sheet on the top two lines.  They were both key components of momentum changing plays in several games vs. the Penguins.  Lets hope that they, and the rest of the team take  a smattering of improving elements and evolve them into the consistency of a winner.
 

Bailey was 11 and 8 for 19 pts. and a +7 in 38 games (Lockout) for the Islanders.



Josh Bailey tells Newsday: "We took a good step last year. It's clearly something I want to be part of. I want to see this through."

 



 

Isles Notes:

 

Hickey is still unsigned, but remains in the Managements plan to be re-signed as an RFA.


Kevin Schultz points out, "Jon Landry signing in Minnesota makes five former Isles up there. Konopka, Rupp, Nino and Spurgeon are the other four."  I thought the same thing.  Coincidence?
 

NYI Booster Club, Hey @NYIslanders Fans, join the Official NYI booster club today!!


B.D. Gallof, "The HOCK.ly #isles Edition is released! NY Islanders Edition"

 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

2013 Orange vs Blue Scrimmage

 
 

The 2013 Blue and Orange scrimmage will put Isles prospects and mini-camp invites to the test in front of home crowd fans for a special night of Islanders hockey.


Arthur Staple has some pre-game notes.  "G Anders Nilsson also won't play. Not physically ready yet." and "Casey Cizikas and Calvin de Haan, who have been in prospect camp, won't play in scrimmage tonight. Was never in plans for either one."


The game will consist of two 25-minute halves, followed by a skills competition. Any penalties called will result in a penalty shot.  Hybrid Icing will be used as well.

 
The line up for the game is as follows:

 
 
Thanks to Craig Richardson from New York Islanders Hardcore Facebook Group for Roster shots.
 
 
 
In the first half, The Lee, Nelson, Kabanov of Orange had a nice rush to open things up with Blue's Griffin Reinhart playing well against Strome pressing offensively.  Victor Crus Rydberg with a nice pass through center ice, Reiter denies the shot.  Mayfield and Pedan look good on Defense for team Blue.  Strome to Joey Diamond puts Blue on the board, 1-0.  Game gets scrappy, almost a fight, Refs break it up.  Reiter looking sharp, comes up big on Orange penalty shot by Beck.  Anders Lee beats Reiter, but hits the post, no goal.  Alan Quine gets a penalty shot for Blue, McAdam makes the stop for Orange.  Eamon McAdam comes up with some timely saves early in the half.
 
 
 
Delay of game on Orange, Sunstrom with a ridiculous between the legs move, but McAdam is equal to the task, score remains 1-0, Blue.  Blue's Dallas Jackson having a strong game defensively.  Reiter makes a big save off a Blue turn over, Burroughs with a hard rising shot.  The diminutive Cammaratta has some wheels and the enormous Lee using his size effectively.  Pulock with a sweet wrist shot, denied by Reiter.
 
 
 
Blue leads 1-0. Shots: Orange 20 Blue 14. Reiter with 20 saves. McAdam 13-for-14.

 
 
 
 
The crowd on hand for the Orange vs Blue Scrimmage by Mike Pancheo, NYIHC.

 

The second half starts with a nice feed from Ryan Strome to Blue's Jason Clark who  beats Orange's Eamon McAdam off the right shoulder, 2-0 Blue less than a minute in.  Orange's Victor Cruz- Rydberg skates across the circles and lifts one past Joel Rumpel, 2-1 Blue.  Jared Morris with a penalty shot on Blue's Rumpel, and he makes the save. Pedan comes right back and rings one off the Orange's goal post, no goal.  Loic Leduc levels Kabanov, so Kabanov with an Orange penalty shot, has Rumpel beat but puck rolls off his stick, no goal.  Kabanov's knock is that he has tons of skill, but tries to get too fancy. 
 



Ryan Strome on the Blue Bench by Mary McGuire Varrecchia of NYIHC.



Joel Rumpel has been busy since allowing a goal and has really tightened up and looked good for team Blue.  Ryan Strome (1G 2A) rewards Rumpel off a Joey Diamond rebound and rips it past McAdam to take the lead 3-1.  Halmo with some good offensive pressure, denied by Blue's defense.  Joey Diamond and Ryan Strome leading sustained Blue pressure in the Orange zone.  Orange gets a penalty shot, Beck goes low, blocker side and scores against Rumpel, 3-2 Blue.  Thats the first penalty shot goal (1 of 5) of the game.  Play resumes and Blue's Riley Whetmore puts it past McAdam to tie the score once again, 4-2.  McAdam making his way to bench, recovers after turnover, no goal.  Jason Clark puts another penalty shot behind McAdam, Blue up 5-2 with 1:40 remaining in the second half. Riley Whetmore scores an empty net goal, 6-2.

 


 
The Orange Bench by Mary McGuire Varrecchia of NYIHC.
 
 
Blue leads 6-2 heading into the skills competition. Blue outshot Orange 34-30 for the game.


Per Arthur Staple, "Strome's Blue team wins 6-2. Strome (1-2-3), Joey Diamond (1-1-2), Jason Clark (2G), Riley Wetmore (2G) lead way."
 
 
 
Skills Competition:
 
Shootout
 
Order: Orange - Crus Rydberg, Lee, Nelson, Cammarata, Kabanov.
Blue - Quine, Persson, Sundstrom, Diamond, Strome.
 
 
O: Rydberg-Goal
 
B: Quine-Goal
 
O: Lee-Save
 
B: Persson-Save
 
O: Nelson-Goal
 
B: Sundstrom-Save
 
O: Camarata-Save
 
B: Daimond-Save
 
O: Kabanov-Miss
 
B: Strome-Miss
 
Orange wins 2-1, trail 7-4 in contest.
 
 
Hardest Shot:
 
 
O: Griffin-91mph, 84mph
 
B: Mayfield-86mph, 87mph
 
O: Dalhuisen-97mph, 97mph
 
B: Pedan-89mph, 91mph
 
O: Pulock-93mph, 93mph
 
B: Somerby-86mph, 79mph
 
Orange wins 3-0, score tied 7-5.
 

 
Team Breakaway, best of 7:

Goalies had the upper hand throughout the relay, but finally Orange won the point on Burroughs' backhand.
 
 
 
Final tonight: Blue 7 Orange 6.

 

What can you say.  Ryan Strome "is a Beast," as Dee Karl put it.  Dalhuisen & Leduc went to war for their teams.  The Lee, Nelson, Kabanov line looked amazing as did the D-Pairing of Reinhart, Pulock.  Joey Diamond had a big night along with Burroughs, Camarata, Quine, Sundstrom and Victor Cruz- Rydberg.  Jason Clark and Riley Whetmore impressed me as well while McAdam, Reiter and Joel Rumpel all stood tall and looked good against some talented shooters.
 
It was another entertaining prospect game and once again as the Isles improve, Isles fans should be excited.  Some of these guys may be contributing sooner, rather than later.
 
 
 
 

 
 
Isles Notes:
 
@ehornick: Funny moment earlier-Eric Boulton and family trying to get through security to area Not accessible to fans. "I'm on the team."


In press release, Brooklyn Arena LLC makes it official: Brett Yormark and Co. control Isles' biz ops. Garth Snow's got the hockey.


Checkout Isles fan, Megan Reiff and listen to her talk Hockey.



 

 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Islanders Mini-Camp, Day 2


At Day 2 on Isles Mini-Camp, there was more individual work and an emphasis on scrimmaging.  Several players have begun to get noticed by the attending media and coaching staff.  Several players are working hard to improve and get noticed as was evidenced yesterday.  But three players that are working like they are on a mission are Ryan Strome, Brock Nelson and Anders Lee.  The trio have gotten a taste of the pro's with Bridgeport, and all are key pieces in the rebuild.


Per Islanders.nhl.com, “I know I have to get stronger and work on all parts of my game,” Strome said. “I’m going to come to camp ready to battle. Nothing is going to be a given. I know I have to work hard. There may be question marks at training camp, and I’ll be looking to fill one of those spots and show that I belong.”


On the Playoff experience, Nelson said, “It was a bit of a whirlwind, but a great experience,” Nelson said of his first game. “That’s the highest level you can get to. It was bittersweet, because it ended up being the end of the year for the team. The game was exciting nonetheless.”
 

“It’s positioning for me,” Lee said of his biggest summer self-improvement project. “Knowing the systems, being able to get in here and learn that and adapt to the changes from the college level is key. If you know the system, you’ll be in the right spot at the right time.”

 

Daniel Friedman shared some more first hand observations and quotes:



"I see a lot of Frans Nielsen in Victor Crus-Rydberg."


Frans Nielsen will figure into the future success of the Islanders just as he has done through the dark times.  With purpose and belief that things will improve as the team matures with him and around him.  Nielsen has been a strong leader on this team for many years and is a huge asset for the Islanders.


Crus-Rydberg has impressed those attending with strong efforts as well.  He seems to have bought in to the spirit of the camp and is learning the system by working hard and doing what ever is asked of him.


"Same skaters from Blue team who stood out to me yesterday do again today: Strome, Mayfield, Quine."


"Skaters from Orange team who've stood out: Pulock, Reinhart, Crus Rydberg, Nelson, Lee, McAdam."


Ryan Strome, when asked how hungry he was to make the team: "I think about it every day."


Ryan Strome just went 1-on-1 with Scott Mayfield. Strome tried to go around him, Mayfield drove him wide. Excellent defense.


Mayfield is right there with Reinhart and Pulock as far as im concerned.  He's a big positional D-Man with strong skating and great hockey sense.  He can play a physical game and has a booming shot.  With some experience and a feel for the pro game, Mayfield will be a dominant defensemen for the Isles.


I asked Ryan Pulock if there's a specific part of his game that he's drawn attention to in this camp: "Defensive zone coverage.  I have the offensive skills, they're good enough. Now I just need to work on my defensive skills, be tougher on guys."


I asked Pulock if that was something the coaches were stressing with him: "Yeah, for sure. It's all about attention to detail, it'll help."
 

I love the players embracing what the team is offering by the way of instruction.  No one seems to be scoffing at the drills or work outs.  No one is concerned with their draft order, just about what they can do to be a part of the system and make the team.


I asked @CrusRydberg if the fact that he was a later draft pick motivates him: "It not about what round you're picked; just come to play."

 

 


Blue vs. Orange Scrimmage is tomorrow, July 11th @ 7pm at the NVMC.  Details found here.
 
 

Isles Notes:



Per Arthur Staple, "Josh Bailey has filed for salary arbitration."  Tom Schultz added, "In case you're wondering Thomas Hickey, the Isles other un-signed RFA, is not eligible for arbitration."


Staple, "Isles 3rd round pick Taylor Cammarata will arrive at prospect camp on Thursday."


Per Chris Botta, "In press release, Brooklyn Arena LLC makes it official: Brett Yormark and Co. control Isles' biz ops. Garth Snow's got the hockey."


IPB - Everyone Was Confused About Kevin Poulin's Waiver Status.


Per Isles Nation, "Isles have experienced a surge of 2,200 new STH, as well as an 86% renewal rate for the 2013-14 season.."


Minnesota Wild signed former Isles/BST (D) Jon Landry to a 1 year 2 way $625,000 contract.


 
Here's a quote from our former Captain, who left a generous multi year contract offer on the table from the Islanders in order to become a free agent ....

Streit:" I wanted to be on a team that really wants to win. The Flyers great tradition; it’s a hockey town. They have great fans."

Hmm.  Sounds like thanks for nothing Isles Country.