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

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

New York Islanders 2014-15 Season Wrap Up

Your New York Islanders finished the 2014-15 season with 101 points, going 47-28-7 in 82 games.  This was the team’s most wins since 1983-84 (50).  Several players had career seasons per Eric Hornick:

John Tavares established career highs in both goals (38) and points (86) and led in several statistics including goals, assist, points, pp goals, OT & gwgs to name a few and came within hours of an Art Ross trophy.

Brock Nelson went 20-22-42, establishing new highs in all three categories. And along with Ryan Strome (50pts) and Anders Lee (41pts) showed a glimpse of what is in store for New York with regards to home grown talent.

Josh Bailey established a new career high in points (41) and took another step forward & Nikolay Kulemin showed how a well-rounded forward who works hard can have an impact, especially in the SHG (3) category.

Frans Niesen had 43 points in 78 games playing his reliable brand of hockey.

Casey Cizikas established new career highs in goals (9) and points (18) and Matt Martin matched career highs in both goals (8) and points (14).  Along with Cal Clutterbuck, the trio was the darling of the NHL, being called the best “4th line in hockey.”  They were the energy source and the bane of opposing teams whenever they were on the ice.

Travis Hamonic established new career high in assists (28), points (33), matched a career high in goals (5).  He showed that he could be a top shut down, NHL D-Man.

Thomas Hickey established a new career high in assists (20) and matched a career high in points (22).

Johnny Boychuk established new career highs in goals (9) assists (26) & points (35) & Nick Leddy established a new career high in goals (10) and matched a career high in points (37).  Both were Mammoth additions prior to the start of the season for the improved Isles blue line and brought a veteran presence and improved stability in front of their net.

Jaroslav Halak established a new career highs in games (59), minutes (3550) & wins (38) and gave the Islanders a chance to win on most nights.   He was a clear reason for the improved season.

Calvin de Haan missed some time with injury, but had his share of time off as a healthy scratch.  Sources tell me his attitude may have hampered his ability to flourish and achieve his potential a top NHL defensemen.

Brian Strait saw far more playing time than he should have in my opinion and while he improved after missing time for “personal" reasons, he wasn’t the kind of player the Isles should have relied on.  I would rather see a younger player learn from his mistakes than a mediocre, declining vet struggle to keep up with his game.

Injuries were a factor in some of the teams struggles this season.  Michael Grabner and  Mikhail Grabovski struggled to find their game while Kyle Okposo was knocked off his as a result of injuries during the season.  Tyler Kennedy missed game action in his limited time with the Isles and may not have had the impact management expected when acquiring him before the deadline. Eric Boulton seems to have found a backup role with the team and based on his leadership and presence in the locker room, may have found himself a spot somewhere in the organization when his playing days are over.

We know the Chad Johnson experiment didn’t work out as planned and the Michal Neuvirth (1-3 with a .881Sv% & 2.94 gaa in 5 games) trial may be over which leaves a question as to who will back up Jaro Halak next season.

If eligible, Michael Dal Colle & Josh Ho-Sang are guys that can push for a spot out of camp and may be able to make a splash like the guys named Neslon, Strome or Lee.

Griffin Reinhart & Ryan Pulock will get a look in camp and Scott Mayfield has been developing nicely and looked solid in his limited playoff showcase along with Matt Donovan who has played his last game for the Islanders.  I am among those who contend Dono never got a fair shot to crack the lineup.

So the Islanders were 25-14-2 on home ice, equaling their most home wins since 1984-85.  They went 831-610-224 in 1,665 regular season games all-time at the Coliseum.  On the road, the Isles finished the season with a 22-14-5 record.  The Isles have won at least 20 road games in consecutive seasons for the second time in franchise history (1981-82 and 1982-83).

Their special teams were the ebb and flow of the season.  Their PP started well and spiraled downward quickly to include a dismal 0 for 14 in their playoff series against the Caps.  Their PK was able to improve respectably, but still fell short by the end of the season.

Despite finishing their playoff appearance with another first round elimination at the hand of the Washington Capitals, General Manager Garth Snow said there would be no changes by him on the team’s coaching staff.  Capuano and his coaches have fallen short with another early playoff exit this season and still have a lot to prove in my eyes, but the core team is pretty good and only needs a few tweaks.  A few key prospects look very promising and should generate some pressure in training camp for veterans to open next season.  While I am not convinced Capuano and crew made consistent adjustments where they needed to be made throughout the year, sources tell me of his full command of the room and that the improvements realized this season, with a better squad, may have been enough in Snows eyes to keep them around.

Next season the Isles will open the 2015-16 campaign in Brooklyn and start a new chapter in the team’s storied history.  I am optimistic and hopeful that they will be able to correct the shortcomings from last season and take another step back to respectability.

"There ain't no island left for Islanders like me." -- Billy Joel.



Isles Notes:


The 2014-15 Isles Awards Hit of the Year winner is @mattymarts17.  

The U.S. Men’s National Team posted a 3-0 victory over the Czech Republic in the bronze medal game at the 2015 International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s World Championship.  Brock Nelson had 5 & 2 for 7 points in 8 games while Anders Lee had an assist in 5 games played.  This is the first international medal awarded to both players.

Nikolay Kulemin had 1 & 7 for 8 points in 9 games for Russia and finished with a Silver Medal.  Its Kulemin’s 3rd international medal.

Congratulations to Isles prospect @MDalColle71 and the @Oshawa_Generals on winning the OHL Championship.  Dal Colle was tied for second place in OHL playoff scoring with 31 points.

Islanders head amateur scout Trent Klatt is leaving the Islanders organization to coach high school hockey per the Duluth News Tribune.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The End Of An Era: The NVMC & Your New York Islanders

Today’s breakdown day was a sad realization that the Islanders time at the storied NVMC was over.  It was much worse than locker clean out day, any post season team interviews or final team meetings for the Islanders organization.

Dismantling the playing surface is something that follows every NHL regular season & playoff campaign, but for the Islanders, the Coliseum and their Long Island faithful, todays break down was a cold, final reminder that their time on Long Island is really over.  It would be the last time the proud logo of Long Island’s team would hold secure at center ice.

A few of the breakdown images circulated across social media today.  Speaking for myself, I realized that a part of me died today that I will never get back.



But as sad as it was to see the ice & boards removed from the Coliseum for the last time, at least our team will open next season at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.  If the Isles move away from the Island proper makes you mad, just remember that you can always talk to fans of the Hartford Whalers who watched their team move all the way to Carolina and then win a Cup.
Isles Notes:

#Isles @BNelson (one goal) and @leeberr09 (one assist) of @USAHockey defeated Nikolay Kulemin and Team Russia 4-2 yesterday at the #IIHFWorlds.  Team USA is now 3-0.
Brock Nelson with the GW Goal -- #USAHockey 2, Norway 1 at #IIHFWorlds in game 2.
Michael Dal Colle and the top-seeded Oshawa Generals advanced to their first OHL Final since 1997, where they will face the Erie Otters and the projected first-overall pick in June’s NHL Draft, Connor McDavid.
Per @NHLhistorygirl, “On this date in 1984, #isles Billy Smith became the #NHL all-time leader in career playoff victories (81).”