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

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Rangers Best Isles In Stadium Series Game

Your New York Islanders have won 2 of their first 3 games vs. the Rangers in 2013-14, including their most recent matchup on Jan. 21 at MSG.  Tonight, they come off a tough 3 game stretch and meet a hot Rangers team fresh off a victory against the Devils at their last game on this ice.  This game is huge and the Islanders know it.  Back to back games against their most hated, yes hated rival are crucial to their play into the remainder of the season.  The Rangers are 2-0 in outdoor games.  Tonight marks the first for the Islanders.  Lets see how an Isles/Rangers hockey game plays out with a 7 degree wind chill in front of 50,027 fans.

Forwards:  Vanek-Tavares-Okposo; Regin-Nielsen-Bailey; Grabner-Nelson-Clutterbuck; Martin-Cizikas-McDonald.

D-Pairings:  Strait-MacDonald; Hickey-Visnovsky; de Haan-Donovan.

Evgeni Nabokov is in net with Kevin Poulin on the bench.

The first period is a series of dumping and chasing as both teams struggle to organize a rush.  Both teams come out flying, but the ice is rough, causing the puck to bounce and make finesse moves difficult. Isles get to the PP early but finish with no shots on net.  They had trouble maintaining possession of the puck.  Nabokov comes up big off a Tavares turnover in the defensive zone.  Isles get back to the PP and generate some pressure, but come up empty.  Isles out shoot Rangers 9-6 in the first.

The second period starts with a little more energy from the Isles.  They are winning battles and starting to put some shots on the Ranger's net.  Miscues include Grabner going high with a bouncing puck and Vanek unable handle a nice pass from JT, behind the net.  Nabokov is quietly playing a good game for the Islanders.  Isles kill off a PP chance for Rangers.  As much as the Isles are outplaying the Rangers, they have failed to score. The longer this continues, the worse it will be for the Islanders.  Isles return to the PP, but come up empty again.  The Islanders not following up on shots to the net. There have been rebounds galore, all recovered by Rangers.  Isles continue to press and move the puck to the slot where Brock Nelson (Donovan & Clutterbuck) scores to give the Isles a 1-0 lead in the final :90 seconds.  The Rangers return the pressure and score with Nabokov out of position, score is tied at 1-1 with :45 seconds left in the period.  Isles out shoot Rangers 15-14 in the second period and controlled the play for all but the very end of the period.

The Isles first line get lazy to start the third. Vanek gets called for a hook on Nash, but the Isles PK does its job behind Nabokov.  A lot of calls are suddenly not be made here in the period.  Rangers score off some transitional play and a screen in front of Nabokov, 2-1 Rangers.  Nabokov with a huge save off a 2 on 1 Ranger rush.  The Rangers have turned up the pressure late in the period and taken over the flow of the game.  The Isles are doing everything they can to hold on in front of Nabokov.  Defensively, they are in serious trouble.  Nabokov is pulled for the extra attacker at the 1:05 mark of the third period, time out Islanders.  Kyle Okposo comes very close, but fall to Rangers by a score of 2-1.  Rangers out shoot the Isles 34-31 in the game. 

I don't think I've seen the Isles timing and sticks so far out of sync all season long. It had to be this game?  They were 0/3 on the PP and despite doing well in the face off circle, seemed to be playing a disorganized catch up for almost all of the third period.  Credit to Brock Nelson for the Isles only goal on such a large stage.  Other than Okposo, the first line did not play well.  Evgeni Nabokov played well for Long Island going 32/34 with a .941Sv%.  Despite a strong game by Donovan & de Haan, the Isles were loose on defense.  They were especially suspect on the forward lines back checking efforts.  Overall, the team still looks lost and seem to be off their mark over their last four games.

Friday is another chance to take it to the Rangers at MSG.  Lets hope they find their snarl.

Capuano: "We're playing well enough to win, but we've gotta find a way to win."

Isles Notes:


Per NHL, "The New York Islanders and New York Rangers have met 247 times in the regular season, with NYR holding a 266-241 edge in total points."


Per Andy Graziano, "Isles 10-5-1 last 16, 9-2-0 in last 11 road games. 8-5-1 in January. They have won when behind by 2 goals NHL leading 8 times."

Per NBC, " Vanek, Tavares, and Okposo have combined for 80 points since Dec 17."

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Knight of Cups: N.Y. Islanders Stadium Series Ticket Giveaway

So I have a friend who has season tickets for the Yankees and after Sundays outdoor Rangers-Devils game, she doesn't think she can handle another game in the cold.  If I didn't have family obligations, I'd dress warmly, grab another fan and head down to a sold out Yankee Stadium for an outdoor game against the rival New York Rangers and cheer on the Isles with my brethren.  I am told the two seats are on the upper deck off home plate and have a great view of the ice.


Since I cant make it, I have access to the two tickets for a follower of my blog.  What are the requirements to win?  Well, while there are no real rules, I would appreciate it if you are an Isles fan who reads Knight of Cups, have liked my Face Book page and follow me on twitter. @Knight_of_Cups_


After that, to enter, just let me know by comment (name & best/quickest contact information) at the end of this post that you want the tickets and are willing to drive up (about 1 hr north of Manhattan) to Croton Falls, NY train station on the Metro North, Harlem Line and get them from me no later than 4:30pm on game day tomorrow.  This should give you plenty of time to get back down in time to catch the game.  I will have a co worker choose a winner at random early tomorrow morning, so keep checking back to see if you've won.  I will contact you ASAP to arrange for the ticket pick up.  Please bring I.D. for authentication purposes. Take a picture of yourself at the game and I'll post it here!
Good Luck and thanks for your continued support,


Isles Notes:


Isles Transactions: Travis Hamonic has been placed on IR (upper body). Matt Donovan has been recalled from loan.

Per Arthur Staple, "Donovan's 1 missed game means he's eligible to play for BPT during Oly. break. And Hamonic not ready to return tomorrow. "

Per the N.Y. Islanders, Capuano: "We haven't decided yet on our goalie or our lineup yet for tomorrow."

Per the NHL, Thomas Vanek has been named Captain for the Austrian national team.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Boston Brings It To Bear

Tonight, the Boston Bruins are at the NVMC to face your New York Islanders.  Tonight represents another big 2 points against a quality team before the outdoor game vs. the Rangers on Wednesday.  But the real exciting news of the night is Lubo Visnovsky and Evgeni Nabokov are back in the line up and Travis Hamonic is said to be day-to-day for a return to the line up.  What difference will they make if any moving forward?

Forwards:  Vanek-Tavares-Okposo; Regin-Nielsen-Bailey; Grabner-Nelson-Clutterbuck; Martin-Cizikas-McDonald.

D-Pairings:  Strait-MacDonald; Hickey-Visnovsky; de Haan-Carkner.

Kevin Poulin is in net with Evgeni Nabokov on the bench.


The Islanders start the game on a very slow and sluggish pace, and quickly find themselves as badly outshot as 18-2 at one point.  Shortly afterwards, the Bruins get an odd goal to make it 1-0 Boston.  A PP chance gets the Isles back on the shooting side of things until Frans Nielsen ties it at 1-1 with a nice wrist shot from in close off a feed from Kyle Okposo.  Credit the Isles and Kevin Poulin for surviving that onslaught.  Michael Grabner breaks out, but shoots wide on a break away chance.  Eric Hornick mentions, "Isles were outshot 18-2 in first 12 mins; outshot Boston 10-0 in last 8 ."  Shots finished at 18-12 Boston.  The Isles finished the period with a much stronger effort.

The Isles start the second period on a PP, but failed to score and look a little scattered.  Boston takes a 2-1 goal lead with a breakdown in front of the net with Poulin out of position.   The Islanders regroup and start pressuring the Boston net with sustained pressure.  Michael Grabner scores (Okposo & Hickey) to tie the game at 2-2.  Bruins come back and score on a delayed penalty call, 3-2 Boston.  Immediately afterwards, Okposo goes off for a cross check, Boston to another PP.  Michael Grabner bursts out for another break away, Okposo joins the rush from the box and a beautiful passing play between the two leads to the tying goal from Okposo, 3-3.  Hickey gets turned around and allows Soderburg to put a goal over a sprawling poulin in the closing seconds of the period, 4-3 Bruins.  The Isles defense needs to tighten up.  They cant keep this up if the team wants to win.  Poulin is not having his most consistent effort either.  This team can not keep giving up 3-4 goals a night and expect the scoring to bail them out each time.  Isles now leading SoG 29-27 in the game.

Isles start the third on another PP opportunity.  Isles come up empty and allow Boston to to make it 5-3 off some uninspired defensive pressure.  de Haan, MacDonald and Poulin looked bad on that goal.  Isles are disorganized and out of sorts, no fore or back  check or applying the necessary pressure against the Bruins.  Poulin victimized again, 6-3 Bruins is the final.  Nabokov comes in to relieve Kevin Poulin (30-36 with an .833Sv%) who had a tough night.  Evgeni Nabokov was 1-1 in the net.  Shots totals finished at 37-37, but once again the Isles PP was 0/5. Lubo Visnovsky looked pretty good, although a little bit rusty as expected.  Kyle Okposo had a strong effort tonight.

Isles complete a 3 game home stand and only get 1 point.  They cant let up this many goals each game, especially having to constantly come from behind and expect to win consistently.  I am not a fan of Capuano's style of coaching. Good coaching is more that desperately juggling lines as the ship is sinking.  Tonight's game was an example of why the Isles just aren't where Boston is yet. It takes time, personnel and luck. There are a lot of good pieces in place here, don't panic.  As fans, we tend to dissect every bitter loss and over emphasize team failures.  That doesn't mean there isn't reason for concern.  The Isles defense and goaltending were in need of upgrades since the summer off season, and they are still there today.  Despite a rich prospect pool, the Isles have a lot of gifted players on the clock right now, so success and taking steps forward are a must.  They cant afford to just rely on that pool and that guys like Reinhart & Pulock are coming, when break downs like the ones in tonight's game are so prevalent.  Replacing an aging Nabokov must be done soon.  If the team gets a healthy, veteran goaltender who can keep them in games consistently, it will be easier for blue chip defensemen to cut their teeth while playing a role on the Isles blue line. 

The players aren't happy about this effort tonight.  They wont need any more motivation to face the Rangers in back to back games over the next few days, especially the next game coming on Wednesday in Yankee Stadium.

Per Brett Cyrgalis, "Grabner on Wednesday's game: "It's the biggest game of the year for us."




Isles Notes:


The Islanders have 1 more game to make a decision on Calvin de Haan and the Olympic break.

Per Kerry Fraser, "When "a distinct kicking motion" isn't in the slightest bit distinct!"

Per Brett Cyrgalis," reached an agreement with WCBS 880AM to broadcast the game on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium. Chris King and Rob Joyce will be on call."

Per NHL, "Announced attendance of 50,105 at Yankee Stadium pushed total attendance for the first three outdoor games of the 2013-14 season to 209,695."

Per Chris Botta, "50,000+ tickets sold for Isles - NYR game at Yankee Stadium. Sellout almost certain in next 18 hours."

Per Mike Kelly, "Visiting teams are 8-1-1 all-time in 10 regular season outdoor games."

Travis Mills.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Weekend Lookback: St. Louis

Your New York Islanders faced the St. Louis Blues on Saturday at the NVMC.  They were coming off a difficult loss on Thursday from the Penguins, and really needed a bounce back effort in front of their home fans.  Once again, the Isles jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first off goals from Thomas Vanek (Tavares & Okposo) and Kyle Okposo (Vanek & Hickey).  Okposo’s two points marks a career high of 54 points in scoring so far this season.  However, once again, they gave up the next two goals to St. Louis who tied the score at 2-2.  Matt Martin (McDonald & Cizikas) scored late in the second period to give the Isles a 3-2 edge going into the third period.  The game would take a few precarious turns as a few posts were rung by St. Louis and Kevin Poulin stood tall to keep the Isles in the lead until the final :30 seconds, where the game was tied at 3-3 and would go into overtime.

In the O.T. period, Thomas Vanek would score the apparent game winner, when a puck deflected off his skate in the front of the Blues net.  The goal was ratified by the on ice official behind the net, but Toronto had put the goal under review, and ruled no-goal.  They said that it was put in by a "distinct kicking motion."  Well, to me, it was a ridiculous claim.  Watching the replay over and over again, Vanek was moving in an arc across the front of the crease and made no such kicking motion, but it would not matter.  He told “I thought it was a terrible call, I think we all know what a kicking motion is. To me a kicking motion is if I physically lift my foot and move the puck. My skate never elevated, it was on the ice the whole time. I got lucky there; it hit my skate blade and spun right in.”  The O.T. period would expire and despite another Vanek goal in the shootout, The Blues would be declared the winners of the game with a 4-3, shoot out win.  The Isles edged the Blues in shots 36 to 35 in the game, but went 0/6 on the PP.  Kevin Poulin finished the night stopping 32 of 35 with a .914Sv% and helped the team kill off both St. Louis PP chances for the Isles PK.


The Isles got a valuable point and played hard, but fell short.  Bad breaks come with the territory and they are still in the mix with a few big games coming up this week.  Boston is at the Coliseum on Monday @ 7pm and the Isles have a "home at home" against the New York Rangers on Wednesday @ 7:30pm and 7pm on Friday at MSG.  Wednesday's game will be the long awaited outdoor Stadium Series game at Yankee stadium.
I think the Isles Alternate uniforms look fine to me.
Isles Notes:
Per Brett Cyrgalis, “Hamonic, Visnovsky, Nabokov all skated this morning, and could play by Wednesday. Nabokov probable to backup Monday & play at Yankee Stadium.”


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Isles Short Against Pens

Your surging New York Islanders will face the Pittsburgh Penguins before a national audience on NBC tonight.  The Islanders are 12-5-2 in the past 19 games and 7 wins in past 9, going 9-2-0 on road. They've won 6 games since Dec. 29 in which they trailed by 2+ goals.   Per Sportsnet Ticker, "Tavares, Vanek & Okposo have combined for 43 points in January. That is the most by any three teammates in that time."  The underlying story has to be the  Dan Bysma and Kyle Okposo Team USA saga, but the Isles will just want to start strong and push a good Penguins team as far to the edge that they can make them go.


Forwards:  Vanek-Tavares-Okposo; Regin-Nielsen-Bailey; Grabner-Nelson-Clutterbuck; Martin-Cizikas-McDonald.

D-Pairings:  Strait-MacDonald; de Haan-Donovan; Hickey-Martinek.

Kevin Poulin is in net tonight with Anders Nilsson backing up.

The Islanders came out fast and hard behind goals from Michael Grabner (Hickey) and Brock Nelson (Grabner) for a 2-0 lead in just under 9:00 played.  Pittsburgh continues to pressure the Isles in their own zone and score two goals of their own in the next two minutes go tie the game at 2-2 by the 11:30 mark of the first.  MacDonald and Poulin are exploited on the second Pittsburgh goal by Crosby.  They need to play better.  Per Arthur Staple, "de Haan gets clipped in face by Neal, but he's called for interference on Malkin. Pens PP at 12:32."  Sometimes, I am amazed at how officials can make the calls they do.  The Islanders are playing hard again after the Pittsburgh comeback, but Pittsburgh scores again at the start of the second for a 3-2 Penguin lead.  Casey Cizikas took a shot of his leg and limped off the ice, only to return the next shift.  Matt Martin has a terrible hooking call made against him and the Penguins score on the PP, 4-2 Pens late in the second. 

Early in the third, Josh Bailey scores his first goal in 38 games to pull the Isles within one, 4-3 Pens.  A few minutes later, Pittsburgh gets too much space from de Haan and Donovan in the Isles zone, score to make it 5-3 Penguins.  Isles continue to work and Kyle Okposo jams in a loose puck that gets waived off and reviewed in Toronto. For once, a review in the Isles favor, 5-4 Pens.  Isles go to the PP, then a 5 on 3 for :50 seconds after what should of been a penalty shot for JT, Capuano calls a time out.  Isles are denied in 5 on 3 and then the remaining PP.  Huge save against Nielsen by Zakoff in the 5 on 3 for Pittsburgh.  Isles wasted a huge opportunity with under 5:00 left.  Isles pull Poulin (23 for 28 with an .821Sv%) in final minute and get some good pressure at Pittsburgh net, but Zatkoff is equal to the task.  ENG for Pens, 6-4 the final.  Isles led 34-29 in shots, but went 0/3 on the PP.  Per Arthur Staple, "Isles have led by 2 or more goals in a game 14 times (out of 53) this season. 6-4-4 in those games. Yuck.  Isles have trailed by 2 or more goals in a game 27 times this season (out of 53). 9-18-0 in those games, 7-4-0 in last 11."


The Islanders score 4 goals, but still lose the game.  They played well, but were guilty of breakdowns, suspect defense and surrendered a couple of weak goals.  The skill of the Penguins were definitely a factor, but the Isles made a few too many mistakes.  The Vanek-Tavares-Okposo line were kept in check for the most part, and it showed.  But the Isles went down kicking and screaming and still came close to tying the game with the things they did wrong.  Missing Travis Hamonic & Lubo Visnovsky against a team like this is a tough sell, but they were close.  They have been very good lately and look to be better for the remaining regular season games and push into the playoffs. 

The Isles can refocus for St. Louis on Saturday and pick up right where they left off.



Isles Notes:

Reminder:   I will be away for the weekend and hopefully recap Saturday's 1pm tilt against the Blues sometime before Monday's game vs Boston @ 7pm.


Per Arthur Staple, Thomas Vanek tells me he'll understand if Isles trade him. He would even consider signing here after that.  

Per @IslesBlog, "Reported that Lubo is looking like he's 10-14 days away from a possible return, while Hamonic is still up in the air."

Per @StephenCLorenzo, "Isles Lubo on concussion: "Nothing got better and I thought my career was over or something. Right now i feel like a hockey player.  Visnovsky said after a month he was frustrated and "pissed off" after trying everything to get better."

Per Robert Brodsky, "Sources said the New York Islanders engaged in discussions about breaking their lease a year early but the deal never materialized.  End the speculation: New York Islanders won't leave a year early for Brooklyn; my exclusive story via @Newsday.



Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Ranger Danger

Tonight, your New York Islanders will face the rival New York Rangers at MSG for the first of three meetings in the month of January.  The Islanders have climbed to within 5 points of a playoff spot, so a win tonight would be equal to 4 points in the playoff race.  Cam Talbot will be in net for the Rangers, with Lundqvist out due to illness.

Forwards:  Vanek-Tavares-Okposo, Regin-Nielsen-Bailey, Grabner-Nelson-Clutterbuck, Martin-Cizikas-McDonald.

D-Pairings:  Strait-MacDonald; de Haan-Donovan; Hickey-Martinek.

Kevin Poulin will get the start in net with Anders Nilsson backing up.


The Rangers jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first minute of the game and again at the midway point for a 2-0 lead.  The Isles are moving the puck well, and taking the play to the Rangers, but are very shaky on the defensive side of the play.  Matt Martin scores (Tavares & Okposo) late in the period to  bring the Isles within a goal, 2-1 the score.  The Islanders continue to play hard, but just need to focus on finishing and to stop giving these officials the chances to make bad calls against them when they are trying to get back into the game.  Rangers score again off another weak roughing call against Martin, 3-1 Rangers.


Thomas Hickey (Okposo & Vanek) converts some nice passing into a 3-2 game.  Just three minutes later, Colin McDonald is relentless with a lose puck in front of the net, gets his own rebound and ties the game at 3-3.  Kevin Poulin with some big saves late in the second to preserve the tie thus far.  Isles are starting to outwork and frustrate Rangers on both ends of the ice.  Their defensive play is better in the third and helping Poulin do his job.  With about 5:00 remaining, Thomas Vanek slides it around Talbot for a PPG off a beautiful passing play from John Tavares and Frans Nielsen, 4-3 Islanders.  In the closing minutes with the Rangers net empty, Frans Nielsen scores the ENG to make the final score, 5-3 Islanders.  The Isles out shot the Rangers 37-33 and went 1/5 on the PP.

The Islanders really made a statement tonight.  They came back once again from a two goal deficit and kept fighting until the go ahead goal was scored late in the third at MSG.  In the final five minutes, they kept a desperate Ranger team at bay and scored the empty net goal to seal the win on the road, grab 2 points and take two away from the Rangers.

The first line was awesome, but tonight was another great team effort.  I loved seeing guys like Martin, Hickey & McDonald score for the Islanders along with Vanek and Nielsen lead by example.  Calvin de Haan's hockey sense continues to impress and Casey Cizikas is an important member of this team.  Watching the defense tighten up and recover again to support Kevin Poulin (30 for 33 and a .909Sv%) was another good sign.  Kevin Poulin (and Nilsson to a lesser extent) deserve a lot of credit for coming into goal for the Isles during a crucial time in the season.  The teams main focus is to recover points and gain in the standings, and both goaltenders are playing well enough for the team to find a way to win.  Despite being younger guys with limited experience, they have played pretty well when they have had to do so.  The team continues to slowly, and painfully get closer to consistency, which is good.  Just very slowly.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Weekend Lookback: Tampa Bay & Philadelphia Series

Your New York Islanders finished up their latest road trip with a 4-2 record in their typical hard-nosed, mostly come from behind fashion.  There was a close 2-1 shoot out win vs Tampa Bay and a split in the home at home series with the Flyers where the Isles lost 6-4 in Philadelphia and had a 4-3 shoot out win at home on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  It all shakes out to New York fighting back to within 5 points of a play off spot.

On Thursday, The Islanders faced a surging Tampa Bay team who has climbed into second place in the Atlantic Division behind balanced scoring and strong goaltending.  After falling behind, 1-0 in the first, Thomas Vanek (Nielsen & Tavares) scored a PPG to even the score at 1-1 late in the second period and eventually force O.T.  Kevin Poulin was stellar again as he kept his team in the game going 29 of 30 with a .967Sv%.  It took a Frans Nielsen shoot out goal and strong work by Poulin to give the Isles a 2-1 win against Lightning.  Radek Martinek made a return to the line up as Travis Hamonic's reported "dehydration" has now become an upper body injury, and possibly a concussion.

On Saturday, the Islanders would finish their road trip and face the Philadelphia Flyers for the first of a home at home series to finish on Monday.  The Isles would come out strong and take a 2-0 lead half way through the first period off goals from John Tavares (Vanek & Okposo) and Cal Clutterbuck’s short hander (Nielsen & Strait).  Philly would answer back with three goals of their own to grab a 3-2 lead in the second period.  John Tavares would have a goal “called back” due to a bogus “goaltender interference” when Thomas Vanek was crushed into the Flyers net as the puck got behind Emery.  The Islanders rallied again and got goals from Brock Nelson (de Haan & Bailey) and Brian Strait (Grabner & Nelson) to take a 4-3 lead into the third period.  But after that, the Flyers responded and the Isles scrambled and played back on their heels, allowing the Flyers to eventually win the game by a 6-4 score after a back breaking empty net goal.  Kevin Poulin (26 of 39 with an .839Sv%) started the game well and kept the Isles in until defensive lapses were too much to handle.  Isles Nation has Poulin 0-3 with a .846 SVP and 5.04 GAA in three appearances against Philly this season.

The Flyers came into town today to play the Islanders at the NVMC.  Anders Nilsson would be in net and the Isles need to start get wins in their own division if the playoffs are to become a reality.  The second period would see the flyers get a SHG to grab a 1-0 lead early in the first.  Kyle Okposo continued his hard & spirited play when he fought Couburn to rally his team to get back into the game.  New York and John Tavares (Okposo & Vanek) responded with a PPG mid-way through the period to tie the game at 1-1. The Flyers would see Philadelphia score twice and take a 3-1 lead into the third period.  The Islanders fought back again and got goals from Brock Nelson (Bailey & Clutterbuck) and a PPG from Kyle Okposo (Nielsen & MacDonald) to complete his Gordie Howe hat trick & tie the game at 3-3 forcing O.T. and eventually, a shoot-out.  The Islanders outshot Philadelphia 43-29 in the game and extra session while winning 37 face offs and scoring 2 times out of 6 PP opportunities.  Nilsson (who went 26 of 29 with a .897Sv%) came up big again in the extra sessions with 3 saves in O.T. and a respectable showing in his first NHL shootout, making 2 out of 4 saves to preserve the win after Frans Nielsen & John Tavares scored with Kyle Okposo netting the GWG in a 4-3 shoot out win.  Okposo has 12 and 11 for 23 pts in his last 19 games.  Isles are 7-3-0 in their last 10 games.


Isles Notes:

The Islanders will face the Rangers on Tuesday, 1/21 @ 7pm at MSG and return home for on Thursday, 1/23 vs the Penguins @ 7:30pm.  I will be away for the weekend and hopefully recap Saturday's 1pm tilt against the Blues sometime before Monday's game vs Boston @ 7pm.

Per Arthur Staple, “Caps and former BPT D Steve Oleksy on waivers. Right-handed, feisty, cheap (2-way deal at $550K thru next year). Isles might have interest.”

On January 18th, Islanders' Defensemen Lubomir Visnovsky making progress toward return, skated and practiced with the team in a non-contact jersey.  Good news for Isles Country, but still no timetable for Visnovsky's return to game action.

The Islanders reassigned Kirill Kabanov to MoDo of the Swedish League on January 17th.

On January 15th, Ryan Strome was loaned to the BST.  I noted that Strome & de Haan expected (mentioned at booster meeting) to be sent to @TheSoundTigers for the Olympic break, although de Haan could stick around due to lack of depth on defense.  Per Arthur Staple, “GM Garth Snow on Strome move: "The development of all our young players is important. (Strome) needs to play during the break."

Arthur Staple adds about Strome, “Something to consider: NHL teams received a memo prior to season saying that a player who plays more than 15 of 20 games prior to Olympic break cannot be assigned to AHL during break. Strome move clearly made w/ eye to having him play during break.”

Per Chris Botta, “CCM is reviving the Tacks skate brand. John Tavares and Nate MacKinnon will endorse.”

If weather allows.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Mauled By Panthers

Your New York Islanders are in Florida tonight to face the Panthers and former Isles Brad Boyes & Sean Bergenheim.  The Isles look to extend the winning streak to 5 and gain another two points in the playoff standings.

Forwards:  Vanek-Tavares-Okposo; Bailey-Nielsen-Nelson; Grabner-Strome-Clutterbuck; Martin-Cizikas-McDonald.

Defensive Pairings:  de Haan-Hickey; Strait-MacDonald; Donovan-Carkner.

Kevin Poulin is in net tonight and Anders Nilsson is on the bench.

Matt Carkner will be in for Travis Hamonic is day-to-day with an upper body injury. 

Peter Regin and Eric Boulton are tonight's scratches.


Andrew MacDonald turns the puck over and Brad Boyes gets the assist on Barkov's goal as the Panthers get a quick one just :32 seconds into the first period, 1-0 Florida.  Isles come up empty on a PP opportunity with little threat.  Credit the Isles for fighting off a 5 on 3, 5 on 4 early, Poulin has regrouped and looks solid again.  The Isles are playing soft of defense and have been giving the puck away a little too much.  Florida gets deflection off Strait and behind Poulin, 2-0 Panthers.  Florida is outplaying the Islanders for much of the period and Isles look lost and out of sync.  While Tim Thomas looks invincible, New York gets caught off another D zone give away and Poulin gets hung out to dry, 3-0 Panthers.  Andrew MacDonald is having a terrible game and doing all the things fans kill him for.  The period ends with Isles being out shot 10-8, but out played by a large margin.  Kevin Poulin is being completely hung out to dry by a lifeless D, and lazy Isles turnovers. A total team Meltdown. This is my beef with Capuano.  A terrible & embarrassing game after recent praise with NHL watching.


The second period starts with more of the same for the Isles.  A few bright spots, but still a very disorganized team in bad need of a regrouping for a majority of the period.  Another giveaway creates a fast break opportunity during an Isles PP, resulting in a SHG for the Panthers.  The Islanders fall behind 4-0 in the closing minutes of the second period.  Colin McDonald (Martin & de Haan) gets a greasy goal to end the second period, 4-1 Florida.  That gives de Haan a 5 game point scoring streak.  Shots are 20-18 in favor of Florida.  Have the Isles awoken?


Within the first three minutes of the third period, Frans Neilsen breaks into the Florida  zone and dishes it off Vanek, who tucks it underneath Thomas. Isles climb to within 2, 4-2 Panthers.  The Isles have found some life, but time is running.  Calvin de Haan called on a double minor, Isles get the kill and a couple of short handed chances, but come up short with valuable time spent away from offensive pressure.  Isles continue to press, but to quote Butch, "seem a half a step behind" where they need to be to get things done.  Isles call time out and pull Kevin Poulin for an extra attacker.  They generate some pressure, outshoot Florida 33-26, but the urgency was too little, too late.  Streak is broken at 7 on the road and 4 game winning streak ends as the Isles beat themselves by not being prepared to compete early.  Panthers win 4-2.

The team came out sloppy and too disorganized to get it together before time expired.  Going down by 4 deep into the second proved to be too much.  Travis Hamonic is a big part of the Isles defense when they are playing well.  Even with how well Calvin de Haan has been lately, it looked as if he was struggling at times without his normal partner.  Kevin Poulin (22/26 with an .846Sv%) was given no help by the defense and the forwards defensive game was weak as well.  Even John Tavares looked to be having a miserable effort.  Several players had a tough game tonight.  I guess you can say the team was due for a let down after playing so well for so long, but I hate saying that bullshit.  I think it was more of an unprepared or unfocused Isles team being caught off guard by a pumped up Panthers squad with something to prove.  Despite a strong effort, even the McDonald, Cizikas & Martin line failed to energize the Isles tonight. 
Overall, its one to forget, take pride in their recent play and start over again vs. Tampa Bay.



Isles Notes:

Per Arthur Staple, "Some good news for Isles D: Visnovsky took first spin on ice yesterday back on LI."

Islanders are in "Preliminary" contract talks with Andrew MacDonald's camp and have spoken with Thomas Vanek's camp on the subject.

Per Katie Strang, "According to MacDonald's agent, the "goal" is to remain w/ Isles. Though he declined to discuss $, MacDonald due a significant raise.  At $550,000 a year, you can argue that MacDonald's current deal is best bang-for-buck contract out there right now."

Per Chris Botta, "Some of the Stadium Series teams asked NHL permission to wear those jerseys at a few home games later this season. Will be granted."

Per Tom Liodice, "Denis Potvin on comparing himself with Tavares as a young captain: 'I didn't have anyone questioning my coach."

###  I will away on business in Montreal from Thursday until Sunday.  I will try and catch up on the Tampa and both Philadelphia games over the weekend before the Ranger game on Tuesday.  Keep the faith.  ###