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

Monday, September 28, 2015

Islanders Off-Season 2015: Isles Radio Questions & Poulin Claimed

It looks like the hosts for the Maple Leafs radio broadcasts will be calling road games from a studio in Toronto.  ESPN, NFL Network and FS1 have done similar things with their own brand of broadcasting and it does seem to be somewhat of a changing trend in the sports industry.  It is an apparent decision from New Leafs GM, Lou Lamoriello to not allow broadcasters on the team’s charters for away games.  So for an organization valued at $1.3B by Forbes, it’s a curious budget cut for Toronto.

So what if anything will that mean for your New York Islanders?  Well, it’s too early to tell but Brett Yormark has promised a major announcement regarding the new radio that should be breaking very soon with all but the last few details apparently being finalized.  Whether or not Chris King will continue to call the games or if a major terrestrial radio outlet will host the broadcasts is unknown.  We don’t even know what we can expect from the new brand of Brooklyn based Isles radio.

With modern social media and alternative platforms for delivery, the broadcasting landscape has changed since your Father followed his favorite team back in the day.  Fans can now employ Radio, Streaming, Internet support, Facebook & Twitter updates or platforms like Slingbox to catch up on their favorite team’s nightly contests.

While I am a believer in Radio for those trapped in their cars or stuck at work, it is especially beneficial for fans out of the NY area who could tune into NHL Satellite Radio for their home teams local NHL broadcasts. I am sure fans have had more than enough second fiddle television coverage on MSG and sub-par radio production & exposure while trying to follow their team.  We are tired of seeking another team’s broadcast to try and follow Isles hockey on a given night.

Technology is nice, but there are a few things that I hope the new incarnation of Isles radio can still bring to its fans.

I want Chris King to remain with the call and to have a real radio outlet that will get Islanders games cleanly and clearly to fans all over the world. 

The Isles put Kevin Poulin on waivers with intentions of sending him to Bridgeport, but the Tampa Bay Lightning claimed the goaltender and released Ray Emery from his PTO. 

Poulin was the Islanders 5th round selection, 126th overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.  The 25 year old seemed to be a big part of the New York’s future plans in net until he suffered a dislocated knee in the 2010-11 season that he struggled to recover from on the ice.  Poulin finished his 5 year in and out Isles career with a 18-25-3 record and seemed to be expendable after the organization acquired Christopher Gibson (Grabner trade) to play with Stephon Williams in AHL Bridgeport.

@kevinpoulin60 “So excited for this new challenge!! Thanks to the @NYIslanders and all the isles fans for the support. #HelloTampa”

Isles Notes:

The Islanders will face the Washington Capitals again on the road Sunday night.  The season opens on Friday, 10/9 against the Stanley Cup Champion, Chicago Blackhawks.

The Islanders have dropped to 2-5 on the preseason after a 3-1 loss to Washington.  Kirill Petrov scored for New York late in the game with Greiss on the bench, but rally fell short.  Thomas Hickey left the game due to injury.

Tavares, Strome & Pulock scored on Saturday against Carolina in Halifax, NS, but the Isles blew a 1-0 and 2-1 and 3-2 lead before falling to the Canes, 5-3.

Isles lose both split squad games. 5-2 to Flyers and 4-2 to NJ.

NHL Notes:

Per @NHLhistorygirl, “On this date in 1942, the Brooklyn Americans suspended operations and the NHL shrunk to six teams for the next 25 years.”

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Islanders Off-Season 2015: Isles Down Devils

Kyle Okposo, Ryan Strome, Frans Nielsen, Travis Hamonic and Brock Nelson are joining John Tavares and the Your New York Islanders to face the New Jersey Devils at the Barclays Center. 

Forwards:  Lee-Tavares-Strome, Nelson-Nielsen-Okposo, Dal Colle-Beauvillier-Petrov, Vaive-Wright-Johnston.

18 - Ryan Strome
21 - Kyle Okposo
26 - James Wright
27 - Anders Lee
29 - Brock Nelson
45 - Justin Vaive
51 - Frans Nielsen
52 - Ross Johnston
71 - Michael Dal Colle
72 - Anthony Beauvillier
90 - Kirill Petrov
91 - John Tavares

Defensive Pairings:  de Haan-Hamonic, Czuczman-Mayfield, Strait-Pulock.

3 - Travis Hamonic
6 - Ryan Pulock
24 - Kevin Czuczman
37 - Brian Strait
42 - Scott Mayfield
44 - Calvin de Haan

Kevin Poulin starters & Christopher Gibson will finish the game in goal.

In the first, the Isles open with some good pressure and Brock Nelson puts it behind Schneider after a giveaway for a SHG, 1-0 NY at the 3:57 mark. Shortly afterwards, Travis Hamonic takes a John Tavares pass from Anders Lee and fires one from the slot for a 2-0 lead.  Its Hamonic’s first game back since April 10th.  Isles had 12 shots and Kevin Poulin with 9 saves.

Stempniak gathers in his rebound off Poulin’s glove and tucks it in on a wraparound through traffic to bring the Devils within a goal, 2-1 Isles in the 2nd.  It’s the first even strength goal for the Devils in nearly 8 periods.  Shots are 23-21 Devils with a 14-9 advantage in 2nd.

Christopher Gibson starts the 3rd for the Islanders.  Devils pull Schneider for the final :50, but Gibson preserves the win for NY.  Play was slow for much of the period.  Isles with a 6-4 edge in shots and a 28-27 Devils edge in the game.  Brian Strait goes to the dressing room after blocking a shot as time expires.  John Tavares did not appreciate Palmieri's elbow lead toward his head. That will probably be filed away for later.

In the NHL mandated 3 on 3 OT demonstration, Isles generated some good pressure in the NJ zone.  Devils call a timeout with 3:04 remaining.  Gibson surrendered a goal (Kennedy) in the extra session after Petrov lost his stick.

Observations:  Kevin Czuczman guilty of a few too many (3) penalties.  Ryan Strome looks really comfortable with Tavares & Lee.  Anthony Beauvillier plays a solid Casey Cizikas type game.  Kevin Poulin looked pretty comfortable and played two pretty solid periods in net. Kevin Gibson looked good as well, especially late.

The Isles PP went 0/5 and the PK was 5/5.

The 1st and 2nd stars of the game were Travis Hamonic and Brock Nelson.

"This is a group that we believe in. We look at each other like family. We look at each other and say "We Can Do This Together."  Matt Martin

Isles Notes:

Islanders are 2-1-0 on the preseason.

Former Washington Capitals GM George McPhee was named as a special advisor to Islanders GM Garth Snow.  McPhee was the former agent and is a longtime friend of Garth Snow and will aid Snow and the Isles scouting staff.

MSG+ has added two Isles preseason games to its schedule: 9/25 @ PHI 10/4 @ WSH.

Islanders & Barclays Center seen in badtaste

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Islanders Off-Season 2015: Isles Split-Squad With Flyers

On Monday, your New York Islanders had split squad games against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Barclays Center and at the Flyers AHL affiliate’s home arena. 

They split the night, with team “A” winning 3-2 in Brooklyn and team “B” losing 5-3 in Allentown, PA.

Team “A”

11 - Bracken Kearns
12 - Josh Bailey
13 - Mathew Barzal
15 - Cal Clutterbuck
16 - Steve Bernier
17 - Matt Martin
27 - Anders Lee
48 - Joe Whitney
84 - Mikhail Grabovski
86 - Nikolay Kulemin
90 - Kirill Petrov
91 - John Tavares

2 - Nick Leddy
7 - Matt Carkner
14 - Thomas Hickey
28 - Marek Zidlicky
50 - Adam Pelech
55 - Johnny Boychuk

41 - Jaroslav Halak
35 - Stephon Williams

5,366 fans showed up in Brooklyn to kick off the preseason for the Islanders 2015-16 season.  John Tavares (PPG-Bailey), Anders Lee (PPG-Tavares) and Kirill Petrov got the goals for New York in what was a high tempo, physical game for the Isles.  Marek Zidlicky was paired with Thomas Hickey and reports say that he played well.  It looks like, Petrov had a solid game.  It should be an interesting story to follow this season. 

Jaroslav Halak played two periods and had 12 saves on the night.  Stephon William played the third period and the league mandated, 3 on 3 OT experiment for NHL pre-season games to preserve the win for New York. 

Isles were 2 for 7 on the PP and had the edge in shots, 28-24.

In Allentown:

10 - Alan Quine
25 - Ben Holmstrom
26 - James Wright
36 - Eric Boulton
43 - Mike Halmo
45 - Justin Vaive
46 - Justin Florek
49 - Sebastian Collberg
53 - Casey Cizikas
56 - Taylor Beck
71 - Michael Dal Colle
72 - Anthony Beauvillier

6 - Ryan Pulock
24 - Kevin Czuczman
37 - Brian Strait
42 - Scott Mayfield
44 - Calvin de Haan
62 - Jesse Graham

1 - Thomas Greiss
33 - Chris Gibson

Team “B” tied the Flyers three times before finally losing the game 5-3.  James Wright, Alan Quine & Justin Vaive (Beauvillier) scored for New York.  Thomas Greiss and Christopher Gibson (acquired in Grabner trade) had the duties in net.

Monday split quads weren’t on TV, but the game against the Devils on Wednesday is on MSG+.

Isles Notes:

New Player Numbers:

Zidlicky 28
Bernier 16
Beck 56
Gibson 33
Nilsson 8
Matt Finn and Carter Verhaeghe have yet to choose a number.

Per Arthur Staple, Capuano said “Zidlicky signing "makes it difficult" for Pulock/Mayfield to earn a spot. "A lot can happen before the season though."

Per Arthur Staple, “Ho-Sang had to be woken up Friday morning at the hotel by team staff while his teammates were already on the ice. and before Ho-Sang was dismissed, had to run the stairs at the Coliseum for three hours as punishment.”

John Tavares on Ho-Sang, “It’s your first day of NHL camp and you’re not here at all … I don’t see that,” Tavares said. “I don’t get how you don’t have 3-4 alarms set, how you’re not jumping at that first opportunity to show what you need to show. I know how highly the organization views him, too.”

Garth Snow on Ho-Sang, “Enough with the bull----. It’s time to grow up.”

Capuano on Ho-Sang, "Let me tell you when he left here, he knows exactly where he stands.”

And according to Newsday, Ho-Sang got the message.

Brett Yormark: Was brief consideration to changing main jersey. Fans were "very outspoken," so decided "we can't touch that.That's sacred ground."

Per Tony Stabile, “Received confirmation today that in addition to the Stanley Cup Banners the Isles retired numbers will hang from the rafters at Barclays.”

Friday, September 18, 2015

Islanders Off-Season 2015: Training Camp Opens & Zidlicky Signs

Camp Opened for the Islanders today.

Arthur Staple mentioned that Steve Bernier was skating with John Tavares & Anders Lee in Group A. Curious?

Well, it turns out that Joshua Ho-Sang was late for the first day of 2015-16 Isles training camp.

As a result, he was sent back to Niagara of the OHL and for him, camp is over before it really began.  Staple mentioned the word around camp was that “Ho-Sang's behavior had been exemplary during week of rookie camp that preceded today. Same with camp in July.  Ho-Sang was also going to skate this weekend on the right side with Tavares and Lee. Clearly Isles value him.”

Ho-Sang had his detractors up until his draft and the Islanders took the talented forward in spite of his “troublesome reputation.”  No one can doubt Ho-Sangs skill and potential, but his choice to be late on the first day of camp is sure to put him is disfavor of the moment.  It just wasn’t a smart thing for him to do and I am sure Josh Ho-Sang knows he made a mistake.  He is never short of motivation but he will need to make better decisions if he wants to be brought in with a shot to make an impression as a potential line mate of John Tavares and Anders Lee.

UPDATE:  Per Arthur Staple, “Islanders have signed D Marek Zidlicky to a one-year, $1.5 million deal. Will be in camp tomorrow.”  It is an incentive and bonus ladened contract.  There is another veteran defensemen to add depth to the blue line & PP unit.  So the D could look like Boychuk-Leddy, Hamonic-de Haan & Hickey-Pulock with Marek Zidlicky for depth with Brian Strait & Scott Mayfield pushing for a spot.  Looking good.

Camp News:

Lines and pairings mean very little, but here was the lineup for day 1 of camp.

Other lines in Group A: Dal Colle-Cizikas-Collberg, Martin-Kearns-Clutterbuck, Whitney-Barzal-Bailey.

Calvin de Haan, Johnny Boychuk, Travis Hamonic & Matt Carkner were D in Group A.

Top lines in Group B: Nelson-Quine-Okposo, Florek-Nielsen-Strome, Petrov-Grabovski-Kulemin.

Leddy-Pulock, Hickey-Mayfield D in Group B.

Goaltenders at camp this year are Christopher Gibson, Thomas Greiss, Jaroslav Halak, Parker Milner, Kevin Poulin & Stephon Williams.

Camp Notes:

Per Arthur Staple:

“Snow likened newly acquired prospect Carter Verhaeghe to Casey Cizikas, thinks Christopher Gibson could be a future NHL goalie.”

“Gibson's acquisition means Kevin Poulin has an even tougher climb at camp. Halak/Greiss for Isles, Gibson/Williams/Poulin for BPT jobs.”

Per Cory Wright, “Petrov skating with Grabovski and Kulemin. Grabo and Kule helping Petrov adjust to North American game and communicate with coaches.”

Isles Notes:

Former Islander, Trevor Gillies was signed by ECHL SC Stingrays and is now a member of the Washington Capitals system.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Islanders Off-Season 2015: Isles Trade Grabner & Add 5

The Islanders traded Michael Grabner to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Taylor Beck, Matthew Finn, Christopher Gibson, Tom Nilsson & Carter Verhaeghe. 

Grabner was a healthy scratch in 13 of the Islanders final 18 games last season. After battling the effects from several nagging injuries that often hampered his break out speed, his production seemed to be in a steady decline, which lowered him on the Isles depth chart. 

The additions of Finn and Verhaeghe were speculated as the lynch pin of the deal for New York.

Beck, 24, F played in 62 NHL games last season with the Nashville Predators, scoring 8 & 8 for 16 pts.  Beck was selected (70th overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft by the Preds.

Finn, 21, D scored 1 & 2 for 3 pts in 28 games as a member of the Marlies in the AHL.  Finn was the Leafs 35th pick in the 2012 NHL Draft and led the OHL Guelph Storm to a title in 2013-14 with a +57 rating.

Gibson, 22 is a depth goaltender who had a 24-17-3 record with a 2.42gaa and a .921Sv% for the AHL Marlies last season.  Gibson was the 49th overall pick in the 2011 NHL Draft.

Nilsson, 22, D had 1 & 5 for 6 pts in 44 games in the AHL with the Marlies.  Nilsson was Toronto’s 100th overall selection in the 2011 Draft.

Verhaeghe, 20, F was the Maple Leafs 82nd overall selection in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.  He scored 33 & 49 pts in 68 games as Captain for the Niagra IceDogs of the OHL and has a gold medal in the 2013 U18 WC’s.

Of the players acquired, Staple mentions that none projected to make roster right away and it seems that they may have been contracts that Toronto wanted to off load to make room for other prospects in their system.  While the moves do add even more depth to the Isles minor league system, it also adds almost $8M in cap space for New York after losing MG $3M cap hit for this season.  

Is there another move to be made?

In other news, the Isles signed Steve Bernier to one-year, $750,000 deal.  Bernier was brought into camp on a PTO, but looks like he may have been in the plan all along.  He was security if Nelson wasn’t signed in the final hours last night and now seems to have secured a roster spot with Grabner’s departure. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Islanders Off-Season 2015: BRKLYN Alt & Brock Nelson Re-Signs

Today, your New York Islanders confirmed a rumor that came to light.  On September 8th. The Isles new alternate jersey was in fact the black and white version seen in the leaked photograph from earlier in the month on Twitter.  

While not a surprise to me or anyone else, the jersey was designed consistently in the framework of the Barclays marketing group.  A simple black and white BRKLYN type design similar to that of the Brooklyn Nets.  The regular home and away jerseys are to remain the traditional blue and orange, with a Brooklyn inaugural patch on the shoulder. 

In a classy move by the organization, a patch with "AL" will be on the jerseys this season to honor the passing of the great Al Arbour.

When the team’s move to Brooklyn was announced, Gary Bettman stated that the historic name, logo and traditional colors would remain with the team at their new home.  A third jersey variation was expected by many to reflect the look of their new transition, especially with all of the possible revenue that could be made in an abbreviated re branding to reflect the style and flair of their new home destination. Its also better than an Isles Quebec jersey.

I was in favor of an Isles themed “Brooklyn Americans” tribute variant that would really pay homage to the tradition of hockey in Brooklyn.  I think the jersey is too plain and lacks any kind of character.  But also realize I am a typical, traditional Islanders fan who couldn’t see Billy Smith, Mike Bossy, Bobby Nystrom or Brian Trottier in anything other than blue and orange.  While I feel a more exciting black jersey could have been designed, I understand the move to crate the jersey as it stands today.  The opinions I have fielded are mostly negative, some neutral and a smaller sample seeing it as a positive. The most common opinion about the Isles BKLYN alternate is that it looks too much like the LA Kings jersey.

But in all seriousness, if you don't like the Isles new 3rd jersey, DO NOT buy it. Be sure and send the right message. Strong sales will only help to argue in its favor.  Apparel of all types was sprawled across the NHL store and Barclays team store shortly after the announcement.  

The new ownership will ultimately have the final say on the team and its tradition moving forward, but do not forget the real difference makers in this equation. 

You the fan. 

Whatever your voice, make it heard.  Today’s social media affords the fan a voice like they have never had before.  Your message can make a difference.

The deadline for Brock Nelson to resign with the Islanders has almost expired.  At this time, a deal has not been reached.  Yesterday, RFA Brock Nelson's agent, Ron Salcer spoke to the media, 'We haven't heard from Isles in 6 weeks ...We're not being unreasonable, he said. This is all their doing.’

For the Islanders part in this saga, I came across a mention on Twitter by Chris Nichols on a statement originally posted by Pierre LeBrun: I was told by one source Isles made Brock Nelson a seven-year contract offer a year ago. Was rejected. Don't know money involved.

So as to who is at fault for this, make your own decision.  I know Garth Snow has offered long term contracts and has paid more recently for players who he feels can help his team win and stay in contention.  If Brock Nelson was indeed offered a 7 year deal in the neighborhood rumored to be around $3.5M per, you’d have to think Snow saw him as a big piece for the future.  I am pretty sure a modified bridge deal could have been in play as well. 

Anders Lee got one and proved his worth last season and followed up with a lucrative pro contract as a result.

Per Bob McKenzie yesterday, “According to NYI club rules, per owner Charles Wang, if Nelson not signed by camp opening on Thurs, he's not eligible to play this season.  No progress, at this point, on stalemate between NYI and RFA Brock Nelson. NYI have offered two-year bridge deal to Nelson.  BTW, NHL rule, per CBA, is player must be signed by Dec. 1 in order to play that season. Wang/NYI have chosen to make it 1st day of camp.”

With the team’s policy in place, let’s hope that Nelson’s Agent hasn’t hurt his client’s chances with the team that drafted him.  Hockey is a business for both team and player (ala Nino) and sometimes you have to put things aside to prove yourself and get closer to the deal you want.  Nelson started off with a bang, but faded as the season went on last year.  So that wipes the slate clean from any deal that could have been on the table in most instances.  In the final hours, there needs to be some real negotiations if both sides want to come to an agreement.

I have to think the Islanders want Nelson in the fold.  But Nelson and his agent will have to fit into the organizations plan.  The alternative is … well, something I personally don’t want to think about as a fan. But as a business, I may have too.

UPDATE:  Per Arthur Staple, Brock Nelson has agreed to a three-year, $7.5M deal.  2015-16: $1.5m, 2016-17: $2.5m, 2017-18: $3.5m.  Last season, Nelson had  a career high 42 points with 20 & 22 in 82 GP.

Isles Notes:

Per James Mirtle, “Blackhawks invite Jan Hejda and Lubomir Visnovsky to camp on PTOs. Would certainly be solid, cheap depth options to round out D.”

Per Mark Herrmann, “Isles will play three 3 on 3 OTs in preseason, whether or not games are tied. All teams are trying the new format.”

Sound Tigers Notes:

Per Phil Giubileo, “News from TheSoundTigers: "SOUND TIGERS TO HONOR TEAM’S 15TH SEASON IN AHL"    

NHL Notes:

NHL and @adidas announce 7-year partnership. adidas, @NHLPA and NHL will also partner on 2016 World Cup of Hockey. 

@NHLNetwork sets live programming schedule ahead of 2015-16 season incl. more than 40 preseason game telecasts. 

Per Mike Ross, “The NHL is clear...ADS ARE NOT IN THE PLANS...but makes for a good discussion here.”

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Islanders Off-Season 2015: Isles Sign Barzal & Invite Bernier

Your New York Islanders signed 2015, 16th overall pick, Mathew Barzal to a three-year, entry-level contract.

6’0, 182# Barzal had 12 & 45 for 57 points in 44 games last season with the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL including an 8 point showing in playoff competition.

Internationally, Barzal won a gold medal with Team Canada in 2014 and a bronze medal with Canada at the 2014 & 2015 U18 Championships and was named a Top-3 Player for Canada in 2015.

Barzal has been rated as an elite level skater with good quickness and acceleration while his playmaking and goal scoring ability are tied into his strong on-ice hockey IQ. (Hockey’sFuture)

Per Arthur Staple, Isles invited (SJS) 16th overall, 2003 selection Steve Bernier to camp on a PTO. While JT believes BN will be at camp, the move is most likely insurance in case there's no deal with Brock Nelson by next Thursday.  Bernier, 30, had a career high 16 & 16 for 32 points in 67 GP with the NJ Devils last season.

NHL Notes:

NHL reveal 2016 World Cups details.   

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Islanders Off-Season 2015: Isles Offer To Zidlicky, Camp, New Alt Buzz & Barclays News

Per IPB, Your New York Islanders have made a formal contract offer to free agent veteran D, Marek Zidlicky.  The team has been talking with him for several weeks to add depth to their blue line.

Zidlicky has 85 and 316 for 401 points in 783 games (Intl. & NHL) with the Preds, Wild, Devils and Redwings.

Arthur Staple reports some early activity at Islanders camp today.  “List of skaters at Isles workout today: Grabovski, Nielsen, Cizikas, Martin, Boychuk, Hickey, Strait, Kulemin, Greiss, Grabner.” 

Frans Nielsen says his ankle feels great and Mikhail Grabovski plans on keeping his head up a little more after concussion troubles last season.

John Tavares made an appearance at the NHL media tour today.

Top prospects look forward to opportunities with the Islanders.

Per Rob Taub, “Spoke with a rep inside the Nets team store: they will be infusing Isles gear in the coming weeks, new 3rd jersey is being kept under wraps.”  It is speculated that the new alternates will be revealed on 9/21 and available for sale on 9/23.

The Islanders third jersey is coming out soon and a photo was leaked on social media that wasn’t too well received by fans.

In some good news on the regular jersey front, Arthur Staple reported that the Isles will wear commemorative patch honoring Al Arbour for this coming season, pending NHL approval.

Brett Yormark calls out New York Post’s article on Isles fans and Season Tickets at the Barclays Center.  “Kosman's story in Post is not credible. Isles lead NHL in new full season tix. Have 8k+ full season tix holders. Anticipate many sellouts.”

Yormark also mentioned that the Islanders new radio deal will be announced soon.

Per Adam Rubin “Barclays Center spokesman tells SI that Isles dropping "Ice Girls" for co-ed ice-cleaning crew in track suits.”

Isles Notes:

Brock Nelson still unsigned w no arbitration rights. Team imposed "sit out" deadline looms. An offer to Nelson has been on table for weeks, but there is still no news on a deal. To me, Nelson's waiting game can only give guys like Dal Colle a better shot at making the team in the future.  I think a deal will get done, but time is running out.

Do you agree sitting Isles players that hold out per team policy?

Per Brian Compton, “Isles will now hold training camp at Twin Rinks, according to Newsday. Was originally slated for IceWorks in Syosset.”

Mavericks ECHL owner Lamar Hunt discusses his affiliation with the NY Islanders. (@nyifancentral)  

Former Isles goaltender, Anders Nilsson will contend for Oilers top slot.