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

Monday, September 30, 2013

2013-14 KoC New York Islanders Season Preview

The Islanders trimmed their roster today after their two split squad victories in Ontario Canada against the Senators Sunday night.  The players returned were those projected to play primary roles on the Isles AHL affiliate, Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Although some of the prospects and players sent down to Bridgeport may return to the NHL due to call up, others had a chance to showcase their skill sets and may have been paired against NHL level opposition.  Several things seen by Isles management and coaching have given the Islanders a picture of their present and future for the 2013-14 NHL season.

Your New York Islanders announced that 15 players have been sent down to their AHL affiliate. The Islanders also released four players were also released from pto's and returned one player to juniors.

Per, forwards, Chris Bruton, Joe Diamond, Brett Gallant, Mike Halmo, Kirill Kabanov, Anders Lee, John Persson, Alan Quine, Ryan Strome and Johan Sundstrom. Returned defensemen include, Calvin de Haan, Scott Mayfield and Aaron Ness have been sent down to the BST.

The Goaltender to be returned to the BST was Anders Nilsson and defenseman Joe Finley cleared waivers and joined Bridgeport.

Justin Johnson, Ken Reiter and Riley Wetmore were released from pto's and ato's and will report to the BST camp resuming Oct. 1.

Defensive prospect, Ryan Pulock will rejoin the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL.

D, Radek Martinek  was released from his professional tryout agreement.


Per, The New York Islanders announced their 2013-14, 23-man roster today for the upcoming NHL season. The lineup includes 13 forwards, 8 defensemen and 2 goalies.



Josh Bailey                                     Arrive as leader, primary goal scorer and stay that way.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard                    Prove has more than potential, especially with line mates.
Eric Boulton                                   Suited for low minutes in the right situation, not be liability.
Casey Cizikas                                Bobby Nystrom, John Tonelli, Bob Bourne and awesome.
Michael Grabner                            Speed generates, finish and open offense up immediately.
Matt Martin                                     Lead, vison, hands and toughness - keep hitting.
Colin McDonald                             Full speed and recklessly will things to happen.
Matt Moulson                                 Contract year, keep showing why and respect will come.
Brock Nelson                                 Exciting opportunity to become all around scoring threat.
Frans Nielsen                               Calm, efficient leader. Off. & Def. asset. Shoot out.
Kyle Okposo                                 Mean, skilled, scorer able to change flow. Stay that way.
Peter Regin                                   Prove he can hang with Frans, must make an impact.
John Tavares                                50 goals and a hart trophy, JT is on a mission.

Matt Carkner                                Tough and intimidating in the right place, but weak on D, liability.
Matt Donovan                               Excited to see his improvement continue, feel he's the real deal.
Travis Hamonic                            Our anchor on D, continues to improve and lead by example.
Thomas Hickey                            Showed skill last year, but will have to raise his game to stick.
Andrew MacDonald                     Lead by example, outworks opponent, must do w/o Hammer.
Griffin Reinhart                            Has 9 games to prove he has potential he was selected for.
Brian Strait                                  Play the gritty shut down role and earn blue collar minutes.
Lubomir Visnovsky                     Take over for Streit, score points and lead by example, PP/PK.

Evgeni Nabokov
Kevin Poulin

At age 38, Nabokov isn't the goaltender to lead the Isles into the future.  He is a good goaltender who plays a steady and reliable game.  His meltdown in the playoffs last year leaves a big "what if" in the minds of hockey people when they try and access the Isles chance for success in the playoffs this season.  I think that with a better team in front of him and hopefully, a higher finish, the Isles can get out of the first round with Nabby.

Kevin Poulin is a talented prospect with flashes of serious skill.  I don't know if he has progressed enough in my mind to bank on him as the future number 1 for the Islanders, but he should and will be given the chance to gain experience as a back up and wait for his opportunity to step up when called upon.  I hold a lot of hope for the current Isles team, so I need their net minders to be the best they can be in the cage.  I will be cheering for Poulin all season long.

Injured Reserve
Cal Clutterbuck            Needs to bring leadership, grit and energy while scoring a few.

Looking in
Ryan Strome
Johan Sundstrom
Kirill Kabanov
Riley Wetmore
Calvin deHaan
Aaron Ness
Anders Nilsson

I think the Isles will finish 3rd in the Metropolitan division.








7.New Jersey


I think they can finish 4th in the conference (if goaltending is there) and make it to the second round of the playoffs.

My x-factor is if the coaching staff will be able to truly focus their team and get consistency from their players.  When they get out of their rhythm and struggle in any of these areas, they become distracted and aren't very reliable.  When they play at a high level and fore check, finish hits and play their game, they can be world beaters. 

The Isles game got a good work out in the preseason.  They went through some droughts, retooled and corrected the offensive and defensive issues.  The PP & PK were also working pretty well.  In the upcoming season, I think they will be able to score goals with their depth and have a pretty good results with their special teams.  Goaltending will be their tell tale destiny and how well the younger defense gels in front of it. 

Rumors of less waiver activity and casual interest at trades mean Snow will once again stick with his plan that continues to roll well, but at a slower pace than some have patience for.  I still believe the rebuild is working well with all the depth and skill in the system.  The results need to continue this season and the Isles need to improve their value in the standings and bring playoffs success.



Isles Notes:

Per Arthur Staple," Would seem that Isles are treating Hamonic for possible concussion, but not believed to be anything long-term."

Per Brett Cyrgalis, "Word on Travis Hamonic's shoulder is that he's seeing a doctor tonight, word to come tmrw. He was hit in 1st pd on Sunday, did not return.

Per Arthur Staple, "Isles front office had long debate about whether to keep Ryan Pulock for 9-gm look. Opened some eyes with his training camp."

The Islanders will open the season in New Jersey on Friday, 10/4 @7pm.  Their home opener is on Saturday, 10/5 @7pm vs the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Help make Back for More @NYIslanders Anthem!!  … … … … … … … … #Isles #believe #STRONGisland @FFDP


NHL Notes:

Hybrid icing approved by players, will be in effect for 2013-14 season.

Islanders Split A Pair Of W's In Ottawa

On Sunday night, your New York Islanders were at the BMC & CTC to meet the Ottawa Senators in two split squad games to finish their pre season schedule.  Here is what occurred.
Barrie, Ont.

Kyle Okposo oppened the scoring for N.Y. while Johan Sundstrom and Justin Johnson opened a 3-0 lead for the Islanders over Ottawa.  In the second, Sundstrom scored again to increase the Isles lead to 4-1.  Anders Nilsson (15/16) was relieved by Kevin Poulin in net.  John Tavares made in 5-1 in the opening minutes of the third period.  Final at Barrie Molson Centre., 5-2, Islanders split squad win!  Isles outshoot Ottawa 36-32.

Travis Hamonic is injured and leaves the ice for the dressing room with no news on his injury.

26 Matt Moulson – 91 John Tavares – 21 Kyle Okposo
40 Michael Grabner – 51 Frans Nielsen – 12 Josh Bailey
56 John Persson – 28 Johan Sundstrom – 64 Joe Diamond
59 Brett Gallant – 10 Alan Quine – 49 Justin Johnson

14 Thomas Hickey – 11 Lubomir Visnovsky
44 Calvin de Haan – 3 Travis Hamonic
52 Joe Finley – 42 Scott Mayfield

45 Anders Nilsson
60 Kevin Poulin

Ottawa, Ont.

Kirill Kabanov dangles the entire Sens team to set up Riley Wetmore to open the scoring, 1-0 Isles. 
Ryan Strome adds to the lead to make it 2-0.  Evgeni Nabokov (14/15) is bumped in his crease, but is later cleared to resume action by the Isles trainer.  Ken Reiter (11/11) takes over in a scheduled change to begin the 3rd period and looks good for the Isles.  Ryan Pulock and Brock Nelson add to the lead for a 4-1 Isles split squad win at the Canadian Tire Centre.

29 Brock Nelson – 16 Peter Regin – 96 Pierre-Marc Bouchard
17 Matt Martin – 53 Casey Cizikas – 13 Colin McDonald
18 Ryan Strome – 61 Riley Wetmore – 27 Anders Lee
77 Kirill Kabanov – 38 Chris Bruton – 36 Eric Boulton

8 Griffin Reinhart – 7 Matt Carkner
37 Brian Strait – 46 Matt Donovan
55 Aaron Ness – 6 Ryan Pulock

20 Evgeni Nabokov
35 Ken Reiter


Erick Hornick adds, " Isles swept 2 from Ottawa Sun. 5 diff former NYI 1st rd picks scored for Isles: Okposo, Tavares, Nelson, Strome & Pulock." 

The Isles pull the nose up and finish preseason with a .500 record that incorporated two split squad series of games.  Lets hope they built up confidence and added to their chemistry throughout their system.

Isles Notes:  Help make Back for More @NYIslanders Anthem!!  … … … … … … … … #Isles #believe #STRONGisland @FFDP

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Isles Win Second Vs Preds & Trim Roster

Your New York Islanders welcomed the Nashville Predators into the NVMC on Friday.  They needed to find their scoring touch and fine-tune their PP after being shut out for two games.  Improvement of team defense is a necessity to keep the Isles in a game.  The extra trick this season is for the coaching staff is to incorporate some talented, but limited or inexperienced players into a team with evolved chemistry.  Something Garth Snow has done well at so far with drafting or the limited outside additions he has chosen.

Before an announced pre season crowd of 9,314, the Islanders rebounded with a 6-4 win at home.  10 Isles players got at least a point with JT leading the way.  The goal scorers were Tavares, Visnovsky, McDonald, Donovan & Bailey.  Top points earners: Hammer-3, Vis-1, Bailey-1, McD-2, MM-3, Nelson-2, Donovan-1, A-Mac-1, Frans-1, JT-2.

"I thought special teams were good tonight. I liked the combination of Grabner and Nielsen back together tonight," HC Jack Capuano after the win.

Per, "Nabokov said that the Islanders relaxed too much down the stretch and can use the final few minutes of Friday’s game as a learning experience.  “We played well for the most part tonight,” Nabokov said. “In a game like this I think it’s natural to kind of relax and see the other team push hard. Their team didn’t give up. We talked in the locker room about having better habits in games like this.”  If the Isles can remain a balanced scoring team with the talent they already have, they Just have to hold those leads and they will be looking closer to where they need to be! 

Isles vs. Preds, Game 2:

Forwards:  Moulson-Tavares-Bailey; Grabner-Nielsen-Lee; Bouchard-Regin-Nelson; Martin-Cizikas-McDonald.  Gallant will be in for Lee.

D Pairings:  MacDonald-Hamonic; Visnovsky-Hickey; Strait-Donovan.


Tonight, your New York Islanders will be at the BMC & CTC to meet the Ottawa Senators in two split squad games to finish their pre season schedule.  The team has mentioned that Tavares, Bailey, Moulson, Strome, Neilsen, Grabner, all playing at the BMC on Sunday.  Kyle Okposo is also scheduled to be in the line up after suffering an eye injury against NSH.  Also on the roster is Diamond, Gallant, Persson, Finley, Johnson, de Haan, Mayfield, Sundstrom, Okposo, Hickey, Visnovsky, Quine, Hamonic. Poulin and Nilsson in goal per Arthur Staple.

Per, "In Ottawa, look for the line of Brock Nelson, Peter Regin, and Pierre-Marc Bouchard to attempt to replicate the performance it had Friday against Nashville."

The Islanders season begins @ 7pm on Friday in New Jersey against the Devils, and then the home opener against Columbus on Saturday @ 7pm.



Isles Notes:

Per Kevin Schultz of IPB, "If Isles intend to waive anyone to Bridgeport they need to do so by noon today. Joe Finley likely the only candidate for those honors." 

CONFIRMED, Finley cleared waivers, sent to BST.

Per, The New York Islanders announced that three players have been loaned to the club’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The Islanders also released four players from tryout agreements.

"Forward Jason Clark, along with defensemen Marc Cantin and Andrey Pedan have been loaned to Bridgeport. Forward Greg Miller and defensemen Mike Dalhuisen and Mike Keenan have been released from their amateur tryout agreements (ATO), while defenseman Dallas Jackson was released from his professional tryout agreement (PTO). All seven players will report to Sound Tigers training camp, which continues Tuesday, Oct. 1."


The New York Islander's confirm:

forward Cal Clutterbuck has been placed on injured reserve as of Tuesday, Sept. 17 (leg laceration).

Ryan Pulock has agreed to terms on a three-year entry-level contract.

Alan Quine has also agreed to terms on a three-year entry-level contract.

Reports say former Isles F, Nino Niederreiter has made the regular season roster for the Minnesota Wild.  More to come ...

Per, "Florida Panthers signed former Isles (F) Brad Boyes to one year $1 million contract."

Help make Back for More @NYIslanders Anthem!!  … … … … … … … … #Isles #believe #STRONGisland @FFDP

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Tweaking The Chemistry

Per Arthur Staple,
Players at NVMC for camp.

Fwds in A group: Moulson, Tavares, Bouchard, Bailey, Nielsen, Okposo, Grabner, Regin, Boulton, Martin, Cizikas, McDonald, Strome, Nelson and Sundstrom. Also one other group change: Chris Bruton is here in place of Johan Sundstrom,  Anders Lee has joined the Coliseum group today.

(Kyle Okposo is not skating for Isles due to eye injury.)

Eight D are: Strait, Hamonic, Visnovsky, Hickey, MacDonald, Donovan, Reinhart and Carkner.

Two goalies are Nabokov and Poulin. Those 25, plus Clutterbuck (skate laceration), are with main group.

Lines at Isles practice: 26-91-12, 40-51-21, 16-29(Nelson)-96, 17-53-13, 36-28(Sundstrom)-18(Strome).

Isles Camp at Iceworks:

Fwds:  Persson-Sundstrom-Kabanov; Wetmore-Miller-Diamond; Halmo-Quine-Clark; Johnson-Keenan-Gallant.


Certain parts of the groupings between NVMC and Iceworks were an interesting choice by management.  I am sure Capuano and crew wanted more of a look at some players and passed on a few others for now.  Kabanov is a highly skilled player who is most likely on the "bubble" in the depth of the Isles organization if he doesn't start turning more heads, and doing it now.

I love the possibility for Nelson, Strome, Donovan & Reinhart to get a serious look to make Isles roster, at least for a possible 9 game audition.  It looks as if Nelson and Donovan are pretty close, while Strome and Reinhart are looking better and better to start with the big club.  Nelson has grown so much after last season with the BST.  You can see how calm and composed he is with the puck and while in the transition game.  Donovan has looked good in camp this year, picking up right where he left off from his call ups last season.  Strome has so much offensive upside, I cant wait to see his level of play with 2 years of NHL experience.  On the defensive side, the Isles could use Reinhart's size and offensive ability on the blue line. 

If Kevin Poulin doesn't show he is ready to take the next step, Anders Nilsson could very well be given the chance per sources close to Isles camp, including B.D. Gallof.  A player can play 9 games and not turn pro, keeping certain eligibilities for the organization he is signed with.  The question is can they meet the level of play required as a back up, behind an aging 38 year old starter in Nabokov.  The #1 job can open due to injury, flat play or a trade for Nabby if the deal was right.  Any of these moves would require Poulin of Nilsson to take the reigns and make this team his.

Sundstrom, de Haan, Ness are a few names who may be on Managements short list for a call up due to injury for the upcoming season.

Lets hope they're dialed in on offense, tightened up on D and the PP looks as good as the PK.

Preds at NVMC tomorrow. 


Isles Notes:

Nassau County Legislature unanimously approved $229M project to overhaul the Nassau Coliseum.

Help make Back for More @NYIslanders Anthem!!  … … … … … … … … #Isles #believe #STRONGisland @FFDP



Monday, September 23, 2013

Isles Lose First To Preds

Your New York Islanders were shut out for the second game in a row. This time, it was by the Nashville Predators on Sunday night by the score of 2-0 (Losing 3-0 to NJ on Saturday).  Anders Nilsson (23/25 .920Sv%) played the entire game pretty well for New York.  “I thought it went okay,” Nilsson said. “It’s good to get back in the flow and play a full game from the start. I’m pretty happy with the way it went, I thought the team played a good game in front of me," per  The Islanders will need even and PP goal support to win games consistently.

Although the game wasn't available on television or streamed live on the internet, I was able to get the following details from the contest.  Peter Regin (5), Ryan Strome (3) and Pierre-Marc Bouchard (3) led the Islanders on shots.  The Islanders were 0/2 on the PP and killed 3/3 PP opportunities for Nashville with strong positioning and a good forecheck.  They won 23/49 face-offs and blocked 16 shots against.  The Predators scored twice in the second period and kept the limited Isles roster off the scoreboard behind Pekke Rinne and Carter Hutton.


Forwards:  Grabner-Regin-Bouchard, Lee-Nelson-Strome, Halmo-Sundstrom Bruton, Boulton-Wetmore-Johnson.

Defensive Pairings:  Finley-Martinek, Hickey-Pulock, de Haan-Carkner.

Anders Nilsson, starter.  Ken Reiter as backing up.


The Isles will play the Preds again @7pm on Friday, 9/27 and the Ottawa Senators on Sunday, 9/29 @6pm at the NVMC.


Isles Notes:


Per NYI:  Goalie Parker Milner has been released from his NHL Training Camp ATO & will report to BST Camp.

Help make Back for More @NYIslanders Anthem!!  … … … … … … … … #Isles #believe #STRONGisland @FFDP

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Islanders Lose First In Brooklyn

Per, "Though the first NHL game played at Barclays Center in Brooklyn was not an Islanders victory, it was an experience the players involved will never forget. A near-sellout crowd of 14,689 watched the New Jersey Devils defeat the Islanders 3-0, but an electric atmosphere could be felt from the first note of the national anthem all the way through the final horn."

The 14,689 on hand brought great energy and fan fare to the event. It was an epic thing to see, even on Twitter.  Fans stormed the LIRR to make their way to the Barclays Center to be a part of Islanders history.  The first time the Isles were to play an opponent in their soon to be Brooklyn home.  And even though it was the only another preseason game against the rival Devils, the atmosphere was more playoff like.  Fans had been waiting for this ever since last years version of the very same match up was cancelled when the NHL owners locked out the NHLPA and its players and cancelled part of last season.  So lets just say, everyone was excited and feeling the moment.

Forwards: Moulson-Tavares-Bouchard, Bailey-Nielsen-Okposo, Martin-Cizikas-McDonald, Boulton-Sundstrom-Johnson.

Defensive Pairings: MacDonald-Donovan, Strait-Hamonic, Reinhart-Visnovsky.

Per Arthur Staple, "Okposo and MacDonald are wearing the 'A's tonight."

Goaltending: Nabokov is starting, while Milner is backing up in the game.


Unfortunately for the Isles and their fans, although the team came out energized and applying pressure, they were not offensively dialed in, or defensively responsible.  The PP needs Visnovsky to step up and be a leader, but he never fully emerged as one. Their team defense was playing way too loose and made it difficult to defend in their own zone.  Evgeni Nabokov shared in some of the culpability.  His positioning and unsettled play in his own crease allowed a few "suspect" shots to get in behind him. 

It also didn't help that Corey Schneider put on a goaltending clinic and played a great game.  During their soft PP chances & offensive breaks, the Isles didn't seem to bother, screen or bump Schneider at all, allowing him to remain comfortable and focused.  Johnson and Hamonic dropped the gloves late in the third period, but by then it was too late.  Kyle Okposo had taken a stick to the eye that was good enough for a 4:00 minor, but no penalty was called for the loose stick work. 


The Isles fell to the New Jersey Devils by the score on 3-0 in their first game at the Barclays Center.  The crowd started to get restless as things got away from the Islanders, even with a smattering of boo birds showing their displeasure.  It seemed that the significance of the obstructed views and tight upper concourse began to amplify under the frustration of a spoiled opening night mood.  Some fans even started making more of an issue out of the longer train rides into Brooklyn and saying that at least the Coliseum was built for hockey.


I love the Coliseum too.  I was frustrated about the outcome of last nights game as well.  Hearing at least one goal horn, and feeling the crowd explode in celebration would have been nice.  But the Islanders lost another pre season game.  It was just one game and would hope they have already worked on the defensive short comings and soft PP styles employed last night.  Its time for Coaches to coach and leaders to step up and lead.  As one Whalers fan put it, Isles fans should stop complaining about the longer trip to games and how the teams owner operates, the last time it happened to him, his owner sent his team to North Carolina.  Perspective.

Stop the hate and give em' a real chance to work through things.  Be realistic and we will get through what 'can be' the final few moments of the rebuild to greatness.



Isles will play in Nashville tonight @6pm and home vs. the Preds @7pm on Thursday, 9/27.


Isles Notes:

Per Brian Compton, "The vibe I got tonight is that Griffin Reinhart starts the season with Isles. Have 9 games to make a decision."

Per Chris Botta, "Getting expected texts about lots of obstructed views in upper concourse and corners at Barclays. Hopefully better in 2 years."

Help make Back for More @NYIslanders Anthem!!  … … … … … … … … #Isles #believe #STRONGisland @FFDP