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

Monday, March 31, 2014

Weekend Lookback: New Jersey

On Saturday night, your New York Islanders met the rival New Jersey Devils at the NVMC.  New Jersey was desperate for points and needed a big win to help their push for a play off spot.  The Isles would have 9 rookie skaters and one in net to make their stand.


Forwards:  Lee-Nielsen-Bailey; Persson-Nelson-Clutterbuck; Martin-Strome-McDonald; Halmo-Cizikas-Sundstrom.

D-Pairings:  de Haan-Hamonic; Czuczman-Hickey; Donovan-Carkner.

Anders Nilsson in net with Evgeni Nabokov on the bench.


The Islanders came out with jump once again and forced New Jersey to joust with them in the first period, playing the body and finishing their checks.  Thomas Hickey was everywhere for New York and took a few uncalled sticks to the face because of it.  It was another period of domination for the Isles, but no goals to show for it.  The Isles would score just 2:00 into the second period on a Frans Nielsen (Josh Bailey) wrist shot, 1-0 Isles.  The Devils would score later in the period to tie the score at 1-1.  Nilsson would make the initial save, but was unable to get the rebound.  Kevin Czuczman with another solid effort on D.  Play would tighten up, especially when the Isles went 3 for 3 on the PK against NJ.  Anders Nilsson was good throughout and made some big saves, late in the contest.  After a scoreless third period, the game would go to overtime.  The Isles out hit NJ 46-16, but were out shot 20-19 after regulation.


In Overtime, the Devils had a 4-1 advantage in shots and had some good pressure in the Isles zone.  Thomas Hickey came up with a huge play to block a shot late in the extra period to help the Isles force a shoot out.  Anders Nilsson was aggressive and challenged shooters, making going 20 for 21 with a .958 Sv%.


In the shootout, Frans Nielsen and Matt Donovan came up huge and scored to seal the 2-1 win for the Islanders.  Nilsson was perfect, stopping both Devils shooters. 
Per, “It was nice for me personally to bounce-back from the previous two games,” Nilsson said. “I felt calmer, felt comfortable and the guys helped me feel comfortable. They were tracking guys well, keeping them to the outside and cleared the view for me. I pretty much saw every shot. They made it easy for me to play.” 


Its the 1,400th victory in team history!

Isles Notes:

CHL Playoff Report; Follow the Isles prospects as they compete for the Memorial Cup

Per Arthur Stape, "Speaking of #Isles prospects, last two 1st-round picks, @GriffinReinhart and @rpulock2, facing off in WHL QF. Series begins Thursday.


Sound Tigers Notes:

Per NYI,  "Victor Crus Rydberg & Kyle Burroughs sign ATO's with AHL Bridgeport for remainder of season." 

Per BST, Alan Quine and Mathieu Gagnon are with BST while four players will head to Stockton.

For Sale: The New York Islanders

Per Bob McKenzie @TSNBobMcKenzie , “NYI owner Charles Wang in talks to sell majority stake in NHL franchise. Nothing done yet, no telling if it gets done, but talks underway.

Minutes after Bob McKenzie dropped this bomb on #Isles Twitter, the reactions came fast a furious and continued into the coming days.  Some fans who hate Charles Wang and Garth Snow began a jubilant celebration and wanted a deal done in the next 5 minutes, while others found it interesting and would wait for the coming details.

After absorbing the news, I thought that whatever might happen would take some time, although I did think it was possible for ownership and a potential buyer to reach a deal prior to what will be another pivotal off season for the Islanders.  With the final season as a tenant in the NVMC coming in 2014-15, The Isles are ready to close out their stay in Nassau County in a memorable way.  Soon after that, they can take a big step into the future by way of a move to Brooklyn for the 2015 season.  What I don't want is a long, dragged out horror show that the fans struggle with.

Initially, some speculated that the Barclay’s group may be in the running to take over their incoming tenants from Uniondale.  Russian Billionaire and Nets owner, Mikhail Prokhorov was the logical source for the rumor.  Per Katie Strang. "For those wondering about Prokhorov's potential interest, his spokeswoman referred me to previous statements he's made on matter.  Assuming that means when he has previously stated that he has "no interest in purchasing another team at this time."  Once again, Prokhorov’s camp denied the rumor.

The one thing that was true about McKenzie’s claim that Charles Wang was in talks to sell the team.  All of it.  Per Chris Botta, “SBJ: NHL source confirms Bob Mc's Isles sale talks tweet. But source says: 1. Deal far from complete 2. Wang furious over news leak.”  Botta added, “Wang regained control of biz ops in Feb. for rest of Isles time in Nassau. Nets group had run all areas except hockey since July.”

Wang’s statement, ”In recent months, there have been numerous expressions of interest in the purchase of the New York Islanders. As I have consistently stated, I have been and remain willing to listen. However, potential buyers expressions of interest in the team or even my listening to them does not mean that any deal will be reached."

The reported purchase price is $225 million, with an additional $75 million if the team hits certain revenue clauses.  On the plus side for ownership, the Isles will receive $50 million guaranteed from the Barclays annually and $27 million annually from Cablevision.  With the Barclays and Cablevision annual guarantees,  along with the change in venue for the team, $10 million in losses for a given season is most likely a thing of the grim and soon to be forgotten past.

On Friday, posted an article about a potential buyer.  AHL, Syracuse Crunch Owner, Howard Dolgon. It mentioned that he will soon be speaking with a friend of his who has deep enough pockets to bankroll investigating a possible bid for the NHL's New York Islanders.

Per Lindsay Kramer, “From the day he brought the Crunch to Syracuse 20 years ago, Dolgon has said his ultimate goal is to own an NHL team.  Dolgon has a home on Long Island close to where the team currently plays and is a native of Brooklyn, where the Islanders are relocating in 2015-16.

Dolgon has said he will never give up controlling interest in the Crunch and re-iterated that stance on Friday. If he became involved with the Islanders he could still operate the Crunch, although presumably Syracuse will remain in its long-term affiliate with current parent club Tampa Bay.”

It was also revealed that Dolgon was contacted by John Spano about buying in to Isles Ownership just before Spano was uncovered as a fraud.

Recently, the N.Y. Post identified a potential buyer as Andrew Barroway. Barroway was in talks to purchase the N.J. Devils last year, including a $30M loan to make payroll, but backed out after checking their books.  Aside from backing out of the Devil’s opportunity, Barroway missed out for a bid on the NBA’s Philadelphia 76’ers.

UPDATE:  Former Islander, Pat Lafontaine is rumored to be part of the Barroway camp.

As an interesting side note, Chris Botta reminds us, “Isles bidder Andrew Barroway was a plaintiff in 2007 lawsuit against Charles Wang and other Computer Associates execs.”

So it looks like we will once again sit back and wait for details to trickle through the cracks in Isles country.  I am hopeful that this franchise can finally get the support it needs and start reliving some of the glory it once remembered.  The fans will remember how to react.  Trust me.



Isles Notes:


Per Chris Botta, “SBJ Exclusive: Nets mgt hires Gameplan agency of Chicago to market Isles in Brooklyn. Branding, 3rd jersey.”

Per NYI, “@ColinMcDonald13 was named the Masterton Memorial Trophy nominee for the team by @ThePHWA.”

Per Chris Triantafilis, “Kirill Pertrov went 14-15-29 in 53 KHL games this season - same point total from a few seasons ago. Figure his name will pop up soon.”


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Isles Fall In 13 To Lightning

Tonight, the Isles are in Tampa Bay to face the Lightning.  Tampa is battling for home ice positioning in the playoffs and are in a desperate race for points.  Your New York Islanders are riding a two game winning streak and are looking to play spoiler once again.  John Persson has been recalled from BPT for Kyle Okposo (lower body injury), he will wear #56.  With Persson in the line up, that makes 10 rookies dressed for Islanders tonight.  Cal Clutterbuck will be wearing K.O.'s "A" tonight.

Forwards:  Lee-Nielsen-Bailey; Martin-Strome-McDonald; Sundstrom-Nelson-Clutterbuck; Halmo-Cizikas-Persson.
D-Pairings:  de Haan-Hamonic; Donovan-Carkner; Hickey-Czuczman.
Evgeni Nabokov is in net with Anders Nilsson on the bench.

The Islanders came out strong and playing their fast paced, chippy style that has worked well for them in recent games.  The defense has been very good since the start and guys like Lee and Strome are making Tampa take notice.  After a 9-8 edge in first period shots, Tampa scores the first goal, early in the second to take a 1-0 lead.  A minute later, Ryan Strome (Martin & Donovan) puts a wrist shot behind Bishop, score tied at 1-1.  Later on, Bishop attempts a clear to the slot where Travis Hamonic grabs the puck and rips it into the open net.  Officals declare that the play was off sides during a player change, no goal.  It would only happen to us folks, only us.  Anders Lee is denied on two aggressive rushes to the net, but wins puck behind the net, gives it to Nielsen, who puts it onto Matt Donovan's stick for a 2-1 Isles lead.  Isles finish the second with a 12-9 advantage in shots for the period and 21-17 after two.

Isles get a 5 on 3 for 1:08 early at the start of the third period, but come up empty.  Despite being outplayed, Tampa is holding on here.  The Islanders need to make something happen.  Matt Martin to the bench awkwardly.  Possibly a skate issue as he remains on th bench.  Isles miss a few opportunities and Lightning tie the game at 2-2 near the 14:00 mark of the second.  How will the young Isles respond?  Nabokov comes up with a huge save at the halfway point of the period.  Remember that save.  Isles are solid on the PK with aggressive pay in their own zone.  Time expires in a tie.  Tampa came back with a 10-4 period and a 27-25 edge in the game.  Isles were 0/3 on PP and 2/2 on PK.  Evgeni Nabokov was 25 for 27 with a .926Sv% during regulation.

Going into O.T., the Isles are good on the checking to start the period.  Weak penalty called on Hamonic with 1:09 remaining.  Lightning go 4 on 3, Nabby with some big saves and Hickey clears the zone.  Evgeni Nabokov finishes going 29 for 31 with a .935Sv%.  We are going to the shoot out. 

Malone stopped by Nabokov!
Ryan Strome is stopped.

Kostka scores.

Frans Nielsen scores!
Palat scores.

Brock Nelson scores!
Callahan misses.

Josh Bailey is stopped.

Filppula is stopped.

Cal Clutterbuck is stopped.

Hedman is stopped.

Matt Martin is stopped.

Stamkos scores from a standstill.  (Was that really legal?)

Colin McDonald scores!

Kucherov is stopped.

Anders Lee is stopped.

Purcell hits the post.
John Persson misses.

Johnson is stopped by Nabokov.

Thomas Hickey hits the post.

Carle scores.

Casey Cizikas scores!

Killorn misses.

Mike Halmo is stopped.

Salo scores.

Johan Sundstrom is stopped.  Lightning gain the second point, win 3-2.

Your New York Islanders had a strong effort in tonight's loss.  Howie Rose mentioned that a 13 round shootout was the longest in Islanders history.  Despite a strong effort, the real story was another blown lead in the third period.  But with 10 rookies in the line up against this team, there were a lot of positives to take out of the game.  Evgeni Nabokov kept his team in the game.  Ryan Strome, Anders Lee and Matt Donovan were solid.  I am excited to think that these guys will get the most out of the final 9 games and it will make for an interesting camp this summer. 

The young talent is here and getting better.

Sound Tigers Notes:

Per Michael Fornabaio, "AHL transactions have 6-6 G Philippe Trudeau signing an ATO with the Sound Tigers. Played 63 OHL games this year. 


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Isles Survive Hurricanes

Tonight, your New York Islanders are in Carolina to face the Hurricanes, who are 8 points out of the final play off spot in the East.  Every point is precious and they will want to add to their standings with a win tonight.  Arthur Staple reports that Kyle Okposo (lower body) did not practice today, but is traveling with Isles to Raleigh.  Lets hope that the Isles can build on what has gone right lately.  The play of Anders Lee and his hot streak of 5 pts in last 5 games, while Kyle Okposo has 8 pts in last 6 games and Frans Nielsen with 6 pts in last 5 games.  The Isles are 0-5-1 in their last six games against Kirk Muller's Hurricanes.  Which team will show up tonight?

Forwards:  Lee-Nielsen-Okposo; Bailey-Nelson-Clutterbuck; Martin-Strome-McDonald; Halmo-Cizikas-Sundstrom.

D-Pairings:  de Haan-Hamonic; Hickey-Czuczman; Donovan-Carkner.

Anders Nilsson is in net with Evgeni Nabokov on the bench.


The Isles start the first period with a fast paced and confident style of play.  Colin McDonald (Hickey & Strome) chops the puck behind Ward in the net mouth to put the Isles up 1-0. Less than two minutes later, Cal Clutterbuck (Nelson & Bailey) puts in a rebound for a 2-0 lead.  Isles are aggressive on the check and moving the puck well.  Colin McDonald (de Haan & Hamonic) with his second of the game, 3-0 Isles.  Ward is replaced by Khudobin in the Hurricanes net.  Shortly after, Carolina registers their first shot against, 10 shots to 1 in favor of Isles.  Shortly afterwards, Matt Martin (Czuczman & Hickey) makes it 4-0 Isles.  Kevin Czuczman gets his first NHL point on the assist.  The Hurricanes are playing a terrible defensive game, often leaving their goaltender without help.  Carolina gets on the board with a PPG and then adds another to cut New Yorks lead in half, 4-2 Isles.  Anders Nilsson with very poor positioning on those two goals.  Shots are now a little more even at 14-9, but still in favor of the Islanders.

In the second period, play evens out with both teams jousting for control.  Carolina scores again off another PPG (delay of game) with a cross crease pass and into the net, untouched and unguarded, 4-3 Isles.  Isles are struggling to gain their momentum back as Carolina gains confidence.  They need to go back on the attack and dictate the play of Carolina's defense.  Matt Martin (Strome & McDonald) gets his second of the night, 5-3 Isles.  :22 seconds later, Carolina gets it right back on another weak goal by Nilsson, 5-4 Isles.  Carolina carries the play through the second period and out shoot Isles 13-9.  Canes with 1:18PP time to start the third.

The Isles are able to kill off the remainder of the Canes PP time to start the third and do a good job of playing defense, until they allow Skinner a lane to rush the Isles net, Nilsson with a big point blank save.  Isles still passive as Carolina works the puck.  Kyle Okposo is hit in offensive zone, and skates off in pain.  Arthur Staple mentions, "Harrison appeared to tug on Okposo's left arm after hit, bringing them both to ice."  Okposo back on next shift.  Islanders keep missing out on PP chances and scoring opportunities as the period ticks on.  Isles with a good PK effort in the final five minutes of a one goal game.  Hurricanes with an empty net for the final minute of the period.  The checking line eats up the remaining time and Isles hold on to win a close one, 5-4.  Anders Nilsson (24 of 28, .857Sv%) got better in the third and made some big saves to keep the Isles in it.  Isles with a 9-6 shot advantage in the period and 32-28 in the game.  Isles 0/3 on PP and give up 2/4 on the PK, but still manage to win.

The Bad.  The team psyche, while good in the way that they never quit, are predictably bad when adversity hits and the game plan goes south.  They often struggle to regain their strides after taking a few bad breaks without the benefit of a team timeout or strategy by the coach to regroup.  Anders Nilsson, after coming off a 6-0 team loss had a lot of trouble regaining his composure and maintaining his positioning and balance throughout the game.  Arthur Staple reports, "Isles coaching staff has been working with Nilsson on his balance when down. Hasn't quite taken tonight. Falling all over the place."  If Nilsson wants to remain in the Isles future, he had better return to his calm style of play and use his size to guard the net.


Arthur Staple, Nilsson: "I have the guys to thank for that one, I'm not satisfied at all ... I have to do a better job of not ending up on my ass so easy."

Positive Observations:  The Colin McDonald, Ryan Strome and Matt Martin line were awesome throughout the game tonight.  Anders Lee is a force to be dealt with by the opposition.  He is really settling in to be a big piece of the new Isles.  Thomas Hickey, Calvin de Haan and Kevin Czuczman (minus time in the sin bin) played well on the blue line.  de Haan continues to become a leader of Isles defense as they improve as a unit.  It was a character win, especially after blowing such a large lead and its good to see this team has the ability to work out of adversity from time to time.  The isles improve to 13-4-1 in last 18 road games.

Isles Notes:

CHL PLAYOFF REPORT: Isles prospects Adam Pelech, Ryan Pulock and Griffin Reinhart all lead their series' 2-0.

Per Athur Staple, "Johan Sundstrom told me this AM his old junior/SHL teammate, Sebastian Collberg, is out injured for Frolunda in SHL playoffs.  Hearing that Collberg, acquired in the Thomas Vanek deadline deal with MTL, may come over to be checked out by Isles medical staff soon."

@BUIslander has some great memorabilia for sale.  Check it out here!

Sound Tigers Notes:

Per BST, Ben Rosen has been recalled from the @StocktonThunder.   



Sunday, March 23, 2014

Isles Outwork Columbus

This afternoon, your New York Islanders will face the Columbus Blue Jackets in their alternate black jerseys for the final time.  Arthur Staple mentions, "Isles are 7-11-5 in black third jersey since it was introduced in 2011. Also 0-3-0 in Stadium Series jersey, which is new third sweater."  While Kyle Okposo (lower body) will be back in the line up for today's game, Visnovsky (upper body) and Grabner are still out.

Columbus has a chance to regain a spot in playoff position with a win today.  So will the depleted Isles be up to play spoilers and get a win against a Columbus team that they are 0-2 against this season?  The Islanders have some young players in the line up that are getting NHL game experience despite falling out of a playoff race.  The final games of this season will have more value to the organization than they might appear.

Forwards:  Lee-Nielsen-Okposo; Bailey-Nelson-Clutterbuck; Martin-Strome-McDonald; Halmo-Cizikas-Sundstrom.

D-Pairings:  de Haan-Hamonic; Hickey-Czuczman; Carkner-Donovan.

Evgeni Nabokov is in net with Anders Nilsson on the bench.

The Isles came out in front of 15,008 NVMC fans, ready to face an inspired Blue Jackets team.  They were skating, finishing their checks, moving the puck well and following up on the play.  Team defense seems more dialed in today and playing real well in their own zone, especially on rebounds.  Czuczman with a much better flow to his game as well, playing the body and good hockey sense.  Cal Clutterbuck (Nielsen & Sundstrom) gets the Isles on the board with his 10th of the season, 1-0 Isles.  It's Johan Sundstrom's first career NHL point.  Isles & Blue Jackets are tied in shots, 8-8.

The second period brings much of the same in context of gameplay.  While Columbus is playing hard, the Isles are outplaying them to a man.  Its a good effort to see.  Casey Cizikas resumes his me against the world efforts and does his best to make things happen.  Travis Hamonic (de Haan) with a "Bobby Orr" like rush, slicing through the Columbus defense and puts it by Bobrovsky for a 2-0 Isles lead.  What a great play by Hammer who has really been leading by example.  CBJ with a 16-15 edge on shots in the period.

In the third, the Isles are on script to start the period.  Columbus has elevated their game and have really been pushing into the Islanders zone to get shots on net.  Nabokov and the D, equal to the task so far.  Blake Comeau's cheap shot on Ryan Strome is answered by Isles Mike Halmo.  Halmo crushes Comeau in the fight, but gets the misconduct.  Columbus finishes the game on the PP, but are unable to score despite out shooting NY 17-9 in the period and 41-32 in the game.  The Islanders take 2 huge playoff pts. from Columbus and get the 2-0 win at home.

Cal Clutterbuck, Travis Hamonic, Casey Cizikas & Frans Nielsen (first time in career he has reached 50pt mark) continue to be a stabilizing veteran presence for New York.

Evgeni Nabokov also had a strong veteran game today.  He had 41 saves in his 58th career shut out and 3rd of the season.  After being named first star, Ruttgaizer asked Nabokov if he ever thought he would have had that many shut outs in his career.  He answered,  "I'm not done yet Peter."  No disrespect, but here's hoping that if he returns to the Isles, it is nothing more than in a back up role.

To constantly complain about falling out of the playoffs and the disappointments of this season is something that cant be fixed at this time and to dwell on that now isn't productive.  Accountability remains a cornerstone, but as a fan,  lets try and see the positives we can get from the remainder of this season.  When the team has checked and has played team defense, they have won with all their goalies.  Credit Strome, Czuczman, Lee, Sundstrom, Nelson, Halmo, de Haan & Donovan for playing big minutes and doing their best to not just fill in, but play well enough to get tough wins like the one earned tonight.

Per Peter Botte, "If we've learned anything, nobody does late-season "Fools Gold" better than the Isles."

I know there is still a LONG way to go for this Organization, especially in the off season, but I love the efforts of the young guys.  They continue to impress with strong play against teams that aren't just playing through to finish the season.  These opponents are still trying to rally for positioning or just make the playoffs in general.  These are not easy games to keep pace in and finish with a win.  If you don't think it was a big deal, just ask Columbus how big those points were to them.




Isles Notes:

The Isles are on the road vs Carolina on Tuesday, 3/25 vs @7pm, vs Tampa Bay on Thursday, 3/27 @7:30pm and home on Saturday, 3/29 @7pm vs the Devils.

3/23 Per Arthur Staple, "Isles source confirms Eric Boulton signs 1-year extension. Will be 38 next season, but still a willing enforcer."

3/21  Per NYI, Lubo Visnovsky has suffered an upper-body injury. No update on Grabner. Day-to-day.

Per WHL, Kevin Pulock has been named to the Eastern Conf. 1st All-Star team, griffin Reinhart has been named to the 2nd All-Star Team.


Sound Tigers Notes:

Per BST, The Sound Tigers have signed forwards Ryan Walters and Brock Montpetit to ATOs.  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Moulson Goes Wild On Isles

Matt Moulson, Nino Niederreiter and Jared Spurgeon are at the Coliseum tonight with the Minnesota Wild.  All are former Islanders.  Fan favorite, Matt Moulson will make his first return to L.I. since the trade and should be met with appreciation from the Isles crowd while Nino Niederreiter will probably be jeered for wanting a trade.  The lesser known or remembered Jared Spurgeon was a 6th round  Islander pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, but never entered their system by being signed.  Recent Isles acquisition, Kevin Czuczman will make his professional debut tonight for the Islanders of the blue line.

Forwards:  Lee-Nielsen-Okposo; Bailey-Nelson-Clutterbuck; Martin-Strome-McDonald; Halmo-Cizikas-Sundstrom.

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

Anders Nilsson is in goal with Evgeni Nabokov on the bench.

14,888 came to the NVMC to see your NYI face the Minnesota Wild.  Matt Mouslon comes out to the cheers and Nino, to jeers.  All is well in Isles country!  The first period starts with a solid effort by Ryan Strome. Strong effort in and around the Wild net.  The NVMC crowd gives Matt Moulson a standing cheer after a video tribute is played on the center ice jumbotron.  Nino is booed every time he touches the puck, and gets crushed by Travis Hamonic.  Niederreiter comes close to an own goal as well.  Minnesota with pressure in the Isles zone and Matt Moulson gives Minnesota a 1-0 lead.  The NVMC with a loud cheer for Moulson.  D, Matt Czuczman victimized a little there on Moulson's goal.  Anders Nilsson lets one in from Jared Spurgeon from Niederreiter, 2-0 Wild.  You can't even make stuff like this up.  Anders Nilsson looks rattled and uncomfortable so far in the period.  Anders Lee looking dangerous with a few scoring chances.  Isles out shoot Minnesota 16-6, but somehow manage to go down 2-0.

The second period sees Anders Lee back on the offensive with a good start.  On the other hand, Isles still look shakey on defense.  Minnesota makes it 3-0 with 3:58 remaining in the second period.  Islanders look desperate to stay up with Minnesota, but seem scattered and out of position out there. Team needs some direction & focus ASAP!  Isles out shot 10-8 in second, but hold 24-17 edge in the game.  Bryzgalov has had a few posts and lucky breaks in the game thus far.  The Islanders have to do a better job with offensive pressure.

To make things worse, Isles announce Brian Strait out with broken left hand from bad slash. Arthur Stape adds, "Season probably about done for him."

Isles fail to score on PP to start 3rd period, Minnesota scores on a rush out of the box as pentalty time expires, 4-0 Wild.  Anders Nilsson having troubles in net tonight, 5-0 Wild.  Islanders are imploding in flames and our coaching staff is incapeable of making an adjustment.  Nilsson has been bad at times, but he is not getting any help out there.  Matt Moulson scores his second of the night, 6-0 Wild.  Its a season high for Minnesota in scoring.  Anders Nilsson finishes going 16 for 22 with a .727Sv%.  Matt Czuczman had an educational night as an Islanders defensemen, made mistakes but played well enough in his first game.  Credit Anders Lee and Ryan Strome for trying to make a difference.

Islanders out shoot Wild 12-5 in third period and 36-22 in the game, but lose 6-0 to Minnesota and are booed off the ice.  There is nothing left to say.  The team was awful tonight and this game will be a wound will that will resonate throughout the summer beacause Matt Moulson was the one weilding the blade.

Per Daniel Friedman, "Let's go Moulson' chant rains down from whatever's left of the home crowd."  Crowd now chanting "We Love Moulson." That kind of night.

Per Michael Russo, "Yeo on how Isles fans treated Moulson: 'Very classy of their crowd and reflects what kind of person this is, what he’s meant to this org."

"Moulson: 'I was here for a long time and this team had a big place in my heart. The fans are great supporters. It was pretty emotional."

Isles Notes:

Per Daniel Friedman, "Ryan Strome had 4 points in 15 games during his first NHL call-up stint. Has 6 points in 9 games since re-joining Isles after the Olympics."

Sound Tigers Notes:
The Sound Tigers have signed former Yale forward Jesse Root to an ATO.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Weekend Lookback: San Jose & Buffalo, Pelech Signs

Your New York Islanders were back at the NVMC on Friday to open a four game home stand against the 3rd place San Jose Sharks.  San Jose jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period, but would trade goals in the second period.  Anders Lee (Nielsen & Okposo) and Brock Nelson (Donovan & Bailey) would put the Isles on the board, but behind the Sharks by a 4-2 margin.  Frans Nielsen (Okposo & Lee) would score the lone goal in the third period, but it wouldn't be enough for the win as the Isles fell to San Jose by a 4-3 score.  Isles held the edge in shots, 38-26 and the PK was a perfect 1/1.  Evgeni Nabokov wasn't enough to defeat his former team, going 19 of 23 with a .846Sv%.

On Saturday, the Islanders faced the Buffalo Sabers.  Both the Sabers and Isles have had setbacks this season and would certainly be ready to play hard for a win, but it would be the home team Islanders who would bring the most to the ice.  Behind a fast paced and physical game, the Isles Frans Nielsen (Lee & Okposo) and Kyle Okposo's PPG (Nelson & Visnovsky) would open the scoring for a 2-0 lead in the first period.  Buffalo would score a PPG early in the third to cut the Isles lead, but the Isles outplayed their opponents with a beautiful writer from Ryan Strome (Martin & Visnovsky) and another ENG from Cal Clutterbuck (Visnovsky & Hickey) to seal the deal in the closing seconds.  The Islanders out shot the Sabers 38 to 34 in the game and went 1/3 on the PP and allowed only one goal in 6 PK attempts for Buffalo.  Anders Nilsson played a solid game going 33 for 24 with a .971Sv%.  Nilsson, who was the game's 3rd star behind Okposo & Nielsen, was good when he had to be and looks to be gaining confidence with each start.  Buffalo fell in its fifth straight game.

I realize that Not having JT sucks, but I love watching Strome, Nelson, Lee, Sundstrom, Halmo, Donovan, de Haan & Nilsson get time with the big club.  While much can be said about Snow, his drafting has turned out well for the Islanders organization.  With time, these players are showing just how good they are and how deep the Islanders can become.  Per Rob Joyce, Casey Cizikas tells me he's been impressed by Johan Sundstrom's first 2 games. "He's not afraid to try and make plays."  Per Eric Hornick, "Anders Lee was held without a goal (vs. Buffalo) but improves to 4-4-8 in his last six games; he has recorded at least one point in 8 of 11 career games."

This off season, Snow MUST do better in the free agent market or trade market to give the Islanders a fair shot and maintaining a real compeditive line up.  I still contend it is the coaching that is the teams biggest obstacle to maintain consistency in a tough division, especially at home.  Daniel Friedman points out, " Isles have at least 4 points in last 5 games (Bailey, Lee, Nelson, Nielsen, Okposo, Visnovsky). Lee and Nielsen have 6, Okposo has 8."  Right now, the Islanders are enjoying offensive productivity from a better balance of players, both young and veteran alike.  The lack of playoff pressure is allowing both player groups to bond with each other and that may come in to play next season more than you might expect.

All fans have a right to be fed up with several things about this team and some expressed it by staging a protest at the game, while others were less vocal, but no less disappointed about how the last few seasons have turned out.  But in the end, all of us cheered on our team in a winning effort.




Isles Notes:

Kyle Okposo is now 4th in the NHL for scoring.  Okposo led all players with seven points last week (1-6-7), including three consecutive multi-point performances.  He has been named the NHL's second star of the week.

3/15 Per NYI, "Adam Pelech has agreed to terms on a three-year entry-level contract."

Per Arthur Staple, Pelech was the Isles 3rd-round pick in 2012. 9-45-54 in 59 games for Erie of OHL, third among OHL D-men.

3/13 Per Arthur Staple, "Isles recall Johan Sundstrom from BPT."

"Sundstrom will start on RW with Halmo and Cizikas. Capuano says Czuczman will play 'very soon."

Per Matt Saidman, "Strome on Czuczman, who trains with Strome, JT etc, in the offseason: "Solid guy, lots of poise, hard worker, the skill set's there."

John Tavares and the Islanders rally to support a bullied fan in Winnipeg.  

Lokomotiv eliminated the 2-time defending KHL champions Dynamo in 7 games for the Gagarin Cup.  Former Islander, David Ullstrom is a member of the Lokomotiv team that was forced to rebuild itself after the tragic plane crash back in 2011.  


Sound Tigers Notes:

3/17 Per the BST, Riley Wetmore and Adam Brace recalled, Alan Quine and Joey Diamond reassigned to Stockton. 

3/15 The BST have released forward Justin Mercier from his PTO.  

3/14 The BST have signed defenseman Guy Leboeuf to an ATO.  

3/12 Per Mihael Fornabaio, "Bridgeport has traded D Dallas Jackson to Springfield for former Quinnipiac F Jeremy Langlois."


NHL Notes:

Per Hockey Rumors & Trades, "GM's have been told that the salary cap will be between $69M - $71M next season."

On 3/13, Per Mike Heika, "Rich Peverley has been released from hospital. He will wear a monitoring vest at home."

Hockey Notes:

Per USA Hockey, "Final:  USA wins back-to-back Paralympic sled hockey gold medals, defeats Russia 1-0."