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

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Isles Overcome Leafs

Your New York Islanders were back in action at the NVMC tonight against the red-hot  Maple Leafs.  Ryan Strome, Anders Lee and Mike Halmo (1st NHL game) are in the line up with Tavares, Nielsen on IR and Martin, Carkner & Martinek scratched for the Isles.  Points are huge, but how the team responds to their current situation is bigger.  Gut check incoming.

Forwards:  Vanek-Nelson-Okposo; Grabner-Bailey-Clutterbuck; Lee-Strome-McDonald; Boulton-Cizikas-Halmo.

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

Evgeni Nabokov gets the start and Kevin Poulin is on the bench.


Shortly after Toronto took a 2-0 lead, Michael Grabner (Cizikas) scored two SHG's in under a minute to give the Isles a 2-1 lead.  Eric Hornick tells us that the last Islanders player w 2 SH goals in game: Mike Sillinger 1/22/08; Ziggy Palffy last w 2 on one PP 4/17/99.  Isles taking the physicality to the Maple Leafs.  Mike Halmo and Anders Lee are really making an impact by playing the body on the fore-check while Eric Boulton is making some noise while moving the puck and throwing fists to defend the honor of the crest.

The Isles would continue to stir in the second period by attacking the Toronto net, blocking shots and throwing hits, but fail to score.  Evgeni Nabokov responds to Toronto's push by making some huge saves in the second period including a sick stop on Kessel.  Per Christian Arnold, "Through two periods Halmo has seen 6:03 of playing time; Strome has seen 9:04; Lee has seen 8:46."  Isles are 0 for 3 on PP so far, but 4 for 4 on PK.

Isles take a slim 1 goal lead into the third period, but continue to play aggressively and with an edge, but cat find the back of the net.  A loose puck is knocked in from a deflection off the post.  Matt Saidman declares, " The puck was knocked down and forward by JVR's glove, touched next by Ranger in the crease. 100% should have been blown for hand-pass."  Regardless, its a 2-2 game, midway through the third period.  Officials miss a hooking call in the Isles zone, Phanueff scores as a result to give Toronto a 3-2 lead.  Isles apply pressure and get rewarded with a PP.  Anders Lee (Bailey & de Haan) sweeps a loose puck in for a PPG and the tie, game even at 3-3.  A minute later, the Leafs score on a rush to make it 4-3 with 6:06 remaining.  Isles were caught out of position on defense.  Isles apply more pressure and Anders Lee (Strome & Hamonic) banks the puck in off Reimer, game tied at 4-4.  Isles will get a point and the game will go to O.T.  Isles outshot Toronto 31-22 after three periods.

Maple Leafs with sloppy play in their own zone, turn over the puck to a waiting Visnovsky in the slot who puts it behind Reimer with a sweet one timer.  Isles win 5-4 in O.T.  Isles led 35-22 in shots after O.T.  Evgeni Nabokov finishes the game going 18 for 22 with a .818Sv%.

So, its safe to say Michael Grabner brought back some Olympic fire and helped the Isles get a win tonight.  The BST call ups of Strome, Lee and Halmo were awesome in tonight's game as well.  These were the guys I felt were most likely to get the call from the front office, they were chosen and showed why they were selected by this organization.  Character and skill.  Experience and fine-tuning will come.  Strome continued where he left off before the Olympic break and contributed to a good team win, including an assist tonight.  Lee and Halmo were throwing bodies and Lee scored two big goals.  That's 4 pts in 3 career NHL games for Lee.  Isles rallied and fought hard for this win without John Tavares.  Also, the Isles 6 game home losing streak is over.
Its a good start for the Isles.  Lets see where they can get in the final 22 games.

Isles Notes:

Lubo Visnovsky wearing an 'A' with Tavares out.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tavares: No Surgery Needed

John Tavares had some good news for reporters after Isles practice today.

Tavares said he had the same partial MCL tear in left knee at  age 16 and he needed 6 weeks to recover with rehab.  He seemed comfortable with how to go about the recovery process because of his familiarity with his injury.  When asked about how the knee feels, he told @StephenCLorenzo, "A pretty good first few days actually, my knee’s responded really well. Having a gold medal has helped out as well I think."

Tavares told, "I had a real good response the first time around my first season back from that injury. I'm just hoping to come back even better and stronger and I've got a good amount of time to work on that."

He added, "Anytime you can avoid [surgery], and that's not necessary, I think that can make a big difference. This will really give me a good offseason to get some rest and get stronger and work on a lot of things again, so I'm really looking forward to that. That's where I'm trying to put my focus now, so certainly that's a big step."

Tavares said that he appreciated all the support from the Isles organization and his teammates in his Olympic bid and with his injury.  He concluded that he hopes to comeback and make an impact on the Islanders soon. 
Me too.


Isles Notes:

Lines at practice today:  Vanek-Nelson-Okposo, Grabner-Bailey-Clutterbuck, Lee-Strome-McDonald, Halmo-Cizikas-Boulton.

Per Matt Saidman, "Martin and Nielsen are skating on their own, doing simple puck handling and skating drills. Very little shooting."

Mike Halmo is wearing No. 43 for the Isles.

Trade Rumor:

Per Hockey Rumors & Trades!, Boston media is reporting that the Bruins are considering using Malcolm Subban as a trade chip to acquire a Dman replacement for the injured Dennis Seidenberg. The Bruins are believed to be very interested in Islanders Andrew MacDonald. 
B.D. Gallof says the Isles interest in Bruins Malcolm Subban is ZERO. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Strome, Lee & Halmo Join Isles

The New York Islanders announced today that forwards Ryan Strome, Anders Lee & Mike Halmo have been recalled on an emergency basis from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.  All three are logical call ups for the Isles.  Aside from all being part of a red hot BST line, the three are top scorers on the team and are the most likely players to be NHL ready.  With Isles Captain, John Tavares, Frans Nielsen on IR and Matt Martin injured, the trio should be ready to insert into the Isles line up for practice tomorrow.

Ryan Strome is an AHL All-Star and the Sound Tigers team scoring leader with 49 pts (13 and 36) in 37 games. The Islanders selected Strome in the first round (5th overall) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.  Strome has 1 and 3 for 4 points while on the Isles roster for 15 games this season.

Anders Lee has 22 (leads team in goals) and 19 for 41 pts in 54 games this season with the BST.  The Islanders selected Lee in the sixth round (152nd overall) of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. Lee has appeared in two NHL games with the Isles (12-13) and scored his first NHL goal in his first game, on his first shot.

Mike Halmo has 17 and 20 for 37 pts in 53 games this season at Bridgeport.  The Islanders signed Halmo as a free agent on March 10, 2012.  Halmo was suspended for 10 games at the end of the 11-12 CHL season for an illegal hit on Nail Yakupov and is known for his physical play as well as his scoring abilities.

These were the first moves initiated by Snow to address the needs of team to finish the 13-14 NHL season.  Although fans are anxious to see what moves can be made by the team before the March 5th trade deadline, these are hardly stop gap moves by the Isles.  They are highly skilled players that directly figure into the future plans of the Organization.  It will be a good opportunity for them to get incorporated into the Isles line up and give them a real chance to make an impact and remain with the team. 

Snarky comments incoming.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Isles Notes: Olympics & Trade Deadline

Although Islanders Captain, John Tavares was injured on Wednesday, he stayed on to watch Team Canada to advance to the Gold Medal round and defeat Team Sweden by a 3-0 score.  Canada rallied throughout the Tournament and brought a smothering defensive game against their opposition.  As a result, they captured their 3rd gold medal of the 5 NHL Olympics but overall 4 of last 6 best-on-best events (WCup 2004), per Pierre LeBrun.  Tavares was on hand for the medal ceremony and shared in the celebration with his countrymen and team mates. (Clip thanks to @KeithLHHockey)


Bob McKenzie reminds us that the NHL roster freeze is lifted tonight at 11:59 pm ET. All NHL Clubs are free to make transactions after that.  There is little doubt that the Islanders line up will look different before the March 5th deadline.  Vanek & MacDonald will most likely be on the list to be traded. 
Who else do you think may be moved?



Islanders Notes:

Thomas Vanek and Michael Grabner are back practicing with the Islanders.

The Islanders face Toronto on Thursday, 2/27 @ 7pm, the Devils on Saturday, 3/1 @ 1pm and Florida on Sunday, 3/2 @ 3pm.


Sound Tigers Notes:

In addition to their six-game winning streak, the Sound Tigers have now won 11 out of their last 13 games, and are over .500 for the first time this season.


Olympic Notes:

Team Canada defeated Team Sweden for the Gold Medal in Men's Hockey.

Finalnd defeated the U.S. for Bronze.

Per Associated Press, IOC says Latvian hockey player Vitalijs Pavlovs fails doping test at Sochi Olympics.

Swedish Olympic official says hockey player Nicklas Backstrom, scratched prior to game vs. Canada fails doping test at Sochi Olympics.  NHL is unlikely to act on Backstrom incident.  Apparently, substance not on NHL banned list. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Tavares Out For Season

Earlier today, Arthur Staple broke the news we all knew would come, but feared hearing ...

"BREAKING NEWS: John Tavares (knee) will miss rest of NHL season, source says. More to come."

"MRI reveals torn MCL and torn meniscus for Tavares. May need surgery. Will be ready for training camp in September."

So, when John Tavares was hit into the boards by Latvian defenseman Arturs Kulda in yesterday's Olympic game against Latvia, he went down in a heap after awkwardly tweaking his left knee. Tavares would soon learn his Olympic debut and New York Islanders season would be over after an MRI revealed a torn left medial collateral ligament and a torn meniscus in his left knee.  Surgery is likely and Tavares is sure to undergo an intense rehab that will last throughout the summer.  I am sure he will work his ass off to come back ready and able with something to prove.  And although the team and player expect to be ready for training camp in September, it is realistic to expect a possible set back moving into the NHL season like the one Tavares experienced in 2010 when he injured his foot in the IIHF World Hockey Championship in Germany.

While Kyle Okposo was surprisingly left off the U.S. roster and Lubomir Visnovski was not permitted to play in the Olympics for Slovokia because of coming off a serious concussion suffered during the season, Tavares, Granber and Vanek were allowed to compete.  My initial thought was why is Vanek permitted to attend the Olympics?  I understand the team wants to keep in his good graces and the fact that Vanek said he would listen to offers from Garth Snow and possibly return to Long Island even if he was traded and entered free agency, but I wouldn't bet on it.  It was obvious that after he turned down the Isles 7 year - $50M offer, The Islanders would look to acquire assets back for the impending UFA, especially after trading  Matt Moulson along with a first and second round pick to attain him.  Thankfully, Vanek escaped injury and should allow the Islanders to get something back in return for his services by a new team.

Olympic trade freeze ends on Sunday, 2/23.  General Managers will be able to conduct trades until the March 5th trading deadline.  The Islanders are expected to be busy with intentions to trade Vanek and MacDonald (who also turned down an Isles offer, 4yr/$16M) at very least.  Now, more than ever, they need veteran pieces that can fit into the existing line up and compete at a high level from the start.

Any NHL team who lost their star player in similar fashion would be devastated by the injury.  Islanders GM Garth Snow is no different.  While Snow, who was a Olympian in 1994 understands the national pride of representing your country, he also feels the Olympics are best suited to amateurs.  What do you think?  He has also been vocal, since his Captain's injury about what the loss really means to the Islanders organization.

Arthur Staple quoted Garth Snow, "Are the IIHF or IOC going to reimburse our season-ticket holders now? It's a joke," Snow said. "They want all the benefits from NHL players playing in the Olympics and don't want to pay when our best player gets hurt."

He continued, "This is probably the biggest reason why NHL players shouldn't be in the Olympics, it should just be amateurs. And it could have happened to anyone; it just happened to be us that lost our best player. A lot of people pay to see John play. It wouldn't matter if we were 10 points clear of a playoff spot or 10 points out. We lost our best player and he wasn't even playing for us."


While angry at what has happened, Snow told Staple he would never begrudge the players involved, but he is serious about how the injury will affect the Islanders.  "We're still going to do what we have to do," Snow said,  "There's too much at stake."

What remains for the Islanders is a challenge to the vets and rookies to make some noise for the rest of the season.  For all the negative losing Tavares will bring the team, it will also reveal opportunities to those selected to figure into the future, now. 



Sound Tigers Notes:

Transactions:  D Andrey Pedan has been recalled (from Stockton) to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL).

The Sound Tigers have loaned F Riley Wetmore to the Stockton Thunder (ECHL).

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Isles Olympics: Good, Bad & What's Next

Michael Grabner, Thomas Vanek and Team Austria have been eliminated from Olympic play as Slovenia defeated them by a 4-0 score.  Grabner had a successful showing at the Olympic games and the Islanders need him to continue that streak when the Islanders return to the ice on Thursday, 2/27.  Michael Grabner finished his Olympic stint with 5 goals and 1 assist (6pts) and a -2 in 4 GP with 17 SOG.  At the time of Austria's exit, Grabner led the tournament with five goals in three games.

Thomas Vanek finished with 1 assist and a -4 in 4 GP with 10 SOG.


Today, Team Canada faced Ted Nolan's Latvian National team in what would be a well played, hard fought contest that would end in a 2-1 final for Canada.  One surprising bit of news on the game was the play of Latvia's goaltender.  Carey Price, the Montreal Canadiens' three-time NHL All-Star goalie had this to say on the '13 Tampa Bay draft pick, Kristers Gudlevskis, "That was one of the best goaltending performances I've ever seen."  Gudlevskis made 55 saves in the losing effort.  Per @TheGoalieGuild, "Latvia's tandem of Gudlevskis and Masalskis wins my "best team goaltending" award for these Olympics."

The real news on the day, at least to Islanders fans was the injury to Islanders Captain, John Tavares.  Tavares was hit into the boards by Latvian defenseman, Arturs Kulda in the second period and went down hard.  Tavares was slow to get up and it was quickly evident that he could be seriously injured and immediately skated to the bench in what looked like tremendous pain.  Soon afterwards, Tavares left the bench and didn’t return for the rest of the game.  Isles fan Magnus Larsson known on Twitter as @swedishislander quickly reminded us, "Hey Isles fans. Do you remember Arturs Kulda who injured Radek Martinek at the WC in 2011? Now he's taken out Tavares too."

At this point, John Tavares is to be re-evaluated tomorrow and undergo an MRI.  At this point, he is expected to remain in Sochi as long as team Canada does so JT would be there to participate in a possible medal ceremony.  Per Bob McKenzie, initial reports on Tavares are not good. Rumors are that it could be multiple ligament damage.  Especially if you watched the way his left knee flexed on the hit as Dominik of Lighthouse Hockey pointed out earlier today.  If Tavares is seriously injured, he may be out for the remainder of the season and into the summer.  That would be disastrous to a struggling Islanders team who needs their Captain and his Hart Trophy nominee style of play. 

John Tavares finished a +3 in 4 GP with 6 SOG.


With Frans Nielsen out and Thomas Vanek on the trading block, the Islanders will once again have to have others step up and look to BST call ups like Ryan Strome and perhaps an Anders Lee, Mike Halmo or Alan Quine as well.

Andrew MacDonald will most likely be dealt by the deadline as well, but Matt Donovan has proven he deserves a real shot with the team along side of Calvin de Haan.  Aaron Ness or Scott Mayfield may provide some limited depth at Defense based on skill, but lack NHL experience.

I am a fan of most players in the system and the improvement of the team in certain areas over the last two seasons.  But I am also disappointed in the lack of team consistency, coaching and results from individual players and the team as a whole as the playoff race fades away.

What the Islanders really need to is to improve with the upcoming trades they make at the deadline and be active in the summer.  When I say active, I don't mean a European PK specialist and an injury prone long shot for the first line.  Nor do I mean approach the goal tending need with anything less than a complete competitive fury.  The skilled players this team has now will not last through goal tending or the blue line having to slowly develop and come from the system.  They need veteran pieces who can win now, not more waiting to see if hunches pay off and prospects are for real.

A real shift in power will come from a shift in the way the team has been run up to this point.  Don't blame me for saying it, just look at where the team is right now.  Things need to improve soon.

Islanders Notes:

Per Arthur Staple, "Isles hit the ice for first post-break practice. Grabner and Vanek not back yet, Nielsen (broken hand) and Martin (lower body) not on ice."

Due to a number of missing forwards the Isles practice lines: Bailey-Nelson-Okposo; McDonald-Cizikas-Clutterbuck; Boulton-Carkner-Martinek.

Voting is now open for the 2014 Bob Nystrom Award!

Per, Ryan Strome and the AHL All-Stars faced Färjestad BK of the Swedish Hockey League in the 2014 AHL All-Star Game

Strome and team AHL defeated Färjestad BK 7-2 in the game. Ryan Strome scored twice during actual game competition and shared a win in the accuracy competition the day before by hitting all four targets in six shots.

Sound Tigers Notes: 

Mike Keenan has been loaned to the Stockton Thunder (ECHL).

Forward Joel Broda has signed a PTO with the Sound Tigers.

Olympic Notes:


Olympic hockey seedings: 1) SWE 2) USA 3) CAN 4) FIN 5) RUS 6) SUI 7) CZE 8) SLO 9) AUT 10) SVK 11) LAT 12) NOR

Team Finland will face Team Sweden in Semifinal 1 on Friday, 2/21.

Team USA will face Team Canada in Semifinal 2 on Friday 2/21.

Per Steve Lepore, "USA-Czech Republic topped USA-Russia as most-streamed Olympic event ever for NBC. Nearly 800,000 unique visitors."

Per NHL PR, "NBCSN averaged 4.1 million viewers for Saturday’s shootout victory by USA over Russia, the most-watched hockey game in the network’s history."

Per Eric Hornick, "Best in NHL shootouts (20 shots min) 1. Frans Nielsen Isles 54.5% 2. TJ Oshie 54.3%."

IIHF will change dislodged net rule after USA/Russia controversy.

On Feb. 17th, Per Adam Proteau, "There's a picket at US embassy in Moscow against Brad Meier, USA - Russia referee."

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Nielsen Out 2-4 Weeks

Per Arthur Staple, "One last bit of Isles news: Frans Nielsen suffered a broken hand on slash from Avs D Erik Johnson on Saturday. Non-displaced fracture..."

"So Nielsen may be able to play 2/27. More likely he'll miss the first week of Isles games after Olympic break."

Frans Nielsen's hand was broken on Saturday night when Johnson's two-handed slash found its mark late in the third period.  The lingering effects of the slash was enough to force Nielsen to remain on the bench for the rest of the game.

Staple adds, "According to Islanders GM Garth Snow, Nielsen may be out a month -- which, given the current break, would mean missing perhaps 4-5 games once the team reconvenes."

Johnson was given a two-game suspension by phone Tuesday for the infraction.

Per Butch Goring, "Franz Nielsen could be out with hand injury for 4 to 6 weeks, 2 game suspension for Erik Johnson hardly seems fair."

Monday, February 10, 2014

Weekend Lookback: Avalanche

Your New York Islanders and Travis Hamonic would face P.A. Parenteau and the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday, February 8th for their final game before the Olympic break.  The Isles would sport their Stadium Series jerseys in front of  a home crowd who wanted something to cheer about.  Wins are something the Isles need badly to stay afloat in the playoff race, but lately they haven't been able to stay in games, let alone mount a successful comeback recently.

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

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

Evgeni Nabokov in net with Kevin Poulin on the bench.

Colorado jumped out to a 3-0 lead over the first two periods of the game, despite some strong efforts to start the game by the Islanders that included a 13-6 SOG at one point.  Former Islander, PA Parenteau had an assist on the second goal of the game.  The Isles then rallied behind a pair of PPG in the third period by John Tavares (Bailey & Visnovsky) and Lubomir Visnovsky (Okposo & Vanek) to close the gap to within one at 3-2 Avs.  The comeback would fall short as Colorado would add a pair of ENG's in the final minute to win the game with a 5-2 score.

Tavares told, “It’s a tough go and it’s frustrating not getting to where we want to be,” he said. “Clearly as each game goes by, the window gets smaller and smaller.”

The Islanders held the SOG advantage 32-26 and went 2 for 6 on the PP and a perfect 3 for 3 on the PK.  Evgeni Nabokov went 20 of 23 with a .880 Sv%.  Per the New York Post, “A lot of guys need to look in the mirror and get better,” said Islanders goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, who made 22 saves. “I think it’s pretty much every which one of us. I know we can be [better]. We have to dig in a little bit, get [ticked] off, get mad. I don’t care what we have to do, but we have to find it.

“Maybe we need to stop being nice to each other.”

The Islanders return to action after the 19 day Olympic break at home on Thursday 2/27 against the Maple Leafs @ 7pm and a pair of matinees on Saturday, 3/1 against the Devils @ 1pm and Sunday, 3/2 against the Panthers @ 3pm.


I headed out to see the Bridgeport Sound Tigers take on the Devils Saturday night.  It was their 1000th game in franchise history and my friends and I watched from choice seats gifted to us courtesy of Talking Finger social media marketing agency.  Even though the good guys lost, I always have a great time watching the #BST and the future of Islanders hockey.


Isles Notes:

Good luck to @91Tavares, @grabs40 & @T_Vanek26 as they make their way to Sochi to compete in the Olympics! #Isles

Olympic Schedule. 

Per Neil Sheehy, "As disappointing as it is for Lubo Visnovsky to not play in the Olympics for Slovakia, the right decision was made for his longterm health."

Arthur Staple, "Last RT from Visnovsky's agent should put talk that Isles are the big bad guys in this scenario to rest. Team decision, player accepted it."

2/8  Defenseman Matt Donovan has been loaned to @TheSoundTigers.

2/7  Defenseman Travis Hamonic has been activated off injured reserve.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Flames Burn Out Islanders

Tonight, your 22-28-8 New York Islanders welcome the 21-28-7 Calgary Flames to the NVMC.  The Isles have the fewest home wins while the Flames have the second fewest road wins in the NHL.  Both teams has dismal PP numbers and decent PK stats.  Tonight is another must win for the Isles.

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

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

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


The first period sees the Islanders outshoot the Flames 11-5 & get two PP chances.  After going 0/2 in the first, the Isles are 0 for 27 on the PP. They had good pressure in the Calgary zone and had a few nice odd man rushes, but failed to score.  Nabokov's shut out streak continues into the second period.  The Islanders continue to have glorious chances only to misfire or come up short while losing steam.  Calgary gives New York a third PP opportunity that goes no where. 0 for 28.  Calgary breaks the shutout streak at 94:16 (Per Matt Saidman) and take a 1-0 lead in the game despite being outplayed by the Isles for much of the game.  Flames make it 2-0 on a PPG late in the second.  The Islanders look lost until Thomas Hickey (Bailey & McDonald) gets them on the board in the closing seconds of the second, 2-1 Flames.  Credit Hickey for how hard he plays each and every shift.  Shots are in favor of NY at 11-6 in the period & 22-11 in the game.  Vanek leaves ice favoring his leg after tumbling awkwardly into the boards.

Vanek looks OK to start the third period.  Both teams get PP chances early in the period, but Calvin de Haan (Tavares & Vanek) finds the net through traffic to tie the game at 2-2 at the mid way point of the period.  The Flames score off a questionable non call for goaltender interference, take a 3-2 lead late in the third period.  Isles go back to the PP and call a time out in the offensive zone to draw up a play.  Calgary completes the kill and score an ENG with seconds left in the game.  Isles finish with a 30-22 shots advantage and an 0 for 4 PP effort.  Evgeni Nabokov finished18 for 21 with an .857Sv%.  4-2 Calgary in your final.

The story of the game is how the Isles dictated play, but failed to score repeatedly throughout the game and were complacent when they were called upon to answer their opponent.  It takes :60 minutes of strong play for the Isles to compete in each and every game, but they rarely execute with that efficiency.  A young team can not rely on the constant comeback to win games, especially against what they would consider an inferior opponent.  Calgary came out tonight with a superior work ethic, played defense and upset the hometown Islanders.  With only 23 games remaining, a playoff push is becoming more and more unlikely, especially from a team who rarely shows any sign of urgency when the rest of us see the season on the line.  Maybe a trade or two will shake things up.

Per Matt Saidman, "Charles Wang and Garth Snow just came downstairs. Snow went into Isles locker room." 




Isles Notes:


### I plan to be at the Bridgeport Sound Tigers game on Saturday with some friends, so I'll cover the Colorado game in a Weekend Lookback.  ###

Per IPB, "The Islanders have traded Peter Regin and Pierre Marc Bouchard to the Chicago Blackhawks for a 4th Round Pick."

Per Pierre LeBrun, "Isles retained 50 percent of salary/cap hit for both Bouchard and Regin in trade with Hawks."

Per Arthur Staple, " Islanders won't let Visnovsky play in Sochi games."  

Per Brett Cyrgalis, Andrew MacDonald recently turned down a 4-year, $16 million deal from the Islanders.

"By the way, Travis Hamonic had a long, hard practice with contact yesterday, and the Isles are hoping he comes back before the break."

Per BST, "PLAYER TRANSACTION: Defenseman Andrey Pedan has been reassigned to the @StocktonThunder (ECHL). 

Per Magnus Larrson, "Kirill Kabanov scored his first goal in Sweden tonight. In his fifth game..."

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Isles Blank Caps

Tonight, your New York Islanders  are at the Verizon Center to face Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.  Both teams are 3-6-1 in their last 10 games and Washington holds the series lead 2-0 coming into tonight.  Time is running out for the Isles to put the final pieces in place.

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

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

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


Both teams came together in what was an uneventful, pretty evenly played first period.  With one failed PP attempt so far tonight, Arthur Staple has the Isles going 0 for their last 21 chances, 0 for 13 since Visnovsky's return.  In the second, the Isles and especially the first line, look lifeless and are having trouble finding their direction.  Evgeni Nabokov continues to stand tall in net for the Isles.  Clutterbuck and Donovan are standouts for the Isles as well so far in the game.  New York finds some energy late in the second and applies some pressure in the Washington zone.  Matt Martin hits Orlov awkwardly and may be looked at by the league, although I didn't detect an attempt to injure.  Vanek pulled down from behind by Carrick on a breakaway, with no penalty shot awarded at the end of the second.  They will start the third period on another PP.  Eric Hornick points out that it is the 9th time the Isles go to 3rd pd scoreless; They've been shutout 4 times.

The PP unit fails to register, but a blue line blast from Andrew MacDonald goes over Neuvirth, 1-0 Isles.  Grabner is awarded a penalty shot and goes wide.  Islanders have had the better play of the third period, but the score remains the same.  As time winds down, both teams get their chances.  Neuvirth is pulled with :38 seconds remaining for the extra attacker.  Time expires.  Islander win 1-0 behind a Evgeni Nabokov 22 shot shut out.

The Isles finish 0 for 5 on the PP, but go 6 for 6 on the PK and out hit the Caps 36-22.  A resurgent effort by the team as a whole to recover and improve as the game went on.  The defense got stronger in front of Nabokov and I loved the efforts of Donovan and de Haan.  The D exploited Ovechkin's lazy play and really contained throughout the night.  Several forwards worked hard, but Cal Clutterbuck really had a standout effort tonight.


The Isles get a big 2 points vs a Metropolitan opponent and improve to 22-28-8 @ 52 pts, 10 points out of a playoff spot with 25 games to go.

Will they reach the playoffs?  What will the team look like?



Isles Notes:

Thomas Vanek recently turned down a contract offer from the Islanders.  Apparently the offer was similar to the one Vanek turned down from Buffalo in the neighborhood of 7 yrs, $50 M. It is also rumored that the Isles weren't done in negotiations and could have offered more in term and length if he was interested, but Vanek wants to test his UFA status and some say, sign with Minnesota.  Garth Snow is busy trying to get the best trade available for the Isles and Vanek if the need arises and anything else he cooks up before the trade deadline.

Daniel Friedman heard the following on pregame from Milbury, "They're a hard-trying team. They have my admiration for that."