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

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

New York Islanders Off-Season: Scott Gomez named Assistant Coach and Kieffer Bellows to Portland

The New York Islanders officially announced the hiring of Scott Gomez as an assistant coach. Gomez will join Doug Weight’s evolving staff along with newcomer, Luke Richardson to try and help the Isles find an improved approach to their game. Gomez and Weight were teammates for Team USA at the World Cup and Olympics in 2004 and 2006. Gomez was rumored to be on the Isles radar for an assistant’s spot over the last several weeks and has apparently wanted to make the transition from a successful career on the ice to behind the bench for the last few years.

"You're not playing much at the end there, but you're still helping the young guys and giving back what was given to me by all the great vets I had," Gomez said. "I worked for the NHL Network, NBC, did some TV and they were wonderful to me, it was great, but at the end of the day, I still have that passion and I wanted to get into coaching."

Isles fans are well acquainted with the play-making skills of Scott Gomez since his break out seasons with New Jersey after a Rookie of the Year award, All-Star appearances, a Calder Memorial Trophy, along with assisting in a 2000 and 2003 Stanley Cup win. The 37-year-old Gomez played 1,079 NHL games with the Devils, NYR, MTL, SJS, FLA, STL and Ottawa during an impressive 16 year NHL career and hopes to bring his knowledge and know-how to the Islanders bench and help players develop and improve to reach their full potential.

"Scott brings an immense amount of hockey knowledge to our coaching staff," Weight said. "His offensive instincts, expertise on the power-play and the way he could control the game with his skating and smarts, are all key elements that we want implemented into our group. He played in the league as recently as the 2015-16 season so he can relate to today's NHL player in an effort to bring out the best in each member of the team."

Per Arthur Staple, “If/when #Isles add Kelly Buchberger to staff, will have four coaches with over 1,000 NHL games played. Can't imagine that's happened before.”

More insight from Gomez himself in the "The Player's Tribute" can be found here.

Kieffer Bellows left BU to sign with the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL. Bellows was the Isles 1st round pick,19th overall selection in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft and is a highly thought-of prospect that New York hopes will help fill out an improving group of elite young forwards. Bellows was also a member of the United States Development team, where he helped Team USA defeat Canada for the gold in the 2017 tournament.

Elite Prospects describes Kieffer Bellows as a “skilled power forward who can dominate games. Possesses high end puckhandling ability as well as a crisp, accurate release on his shot.” He is known for being a tenacious, competitive and physical presence on the ice. Bellows is a methodical checker and strong skater who is hard to deter from his pursuit of the puck. So basically, as a complete prospect, Bellows has a nose for the net and the tools to score goals in bunches.

“We’re very fortunate that Kieffer has chosen to come to the Winterhawks this season,” said Winterhawks Vice President, General Manager and Head Coach Mike Johnston in a press conference Tuesday. “He has an impressive resume as a player, but also is learning how to win. Kieffer has a good scoring touch, and comes from great bloodlines with the NHL experience of his father, Brian Bellows, who won both a Stanley Cup and a Memorial Cup.”

Kieffer Bellows is the son of former NHL RW, Brian Bellows who played from 1980-1999 with Minnesota, Montreal, Tampa Bay, Anaheim and Washington in 1200 games.

“I’m very honored and privileged to be a part of this organization,” said Bellows Tuesday. “I can’t thank my mom and dad enough for helping me get to this point in my life. I’m very excited to help this team as much as I can.” Bellows is obviously excited to show what he can do in the Canadian Juniors with Portland, under the close watch of Islanders brass.

Isles Notes:

“The New York Islanders will not play four regular season games at the renovated Nassau Coliseum next season, despite an agreement to do so by developer Bruce Ratner in his 2013 lease with the county, according to National Hockey League Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly,” per Newsday.

Calvin de Haan collects a silver medal at the IIHF Worlds. Dennis Seidenberg awarded the best Defensemen of the tournament.

Arthur Staple on Kovalchuk possibility, “if the trade cost is minor — and I could see the Isles insisting that Mikhail Grabovski’s cap hit go the other way — I would think the Isles have some interest.”

Matthew Barzal and the Western Hockey League Champion Seattle Thunderbirds were eliminated from the Memorial Cup following a 7-0 tournament ending loss vs. Saint John. Barzal helped the T-Birds to a memorable Western Conference Championship and their best season in team history.

Barzal on JT, "I learned a little bit from John Tavares when I was down there, just watching how he leads, by example."

NHL Notes:

Available 2017 Summer Free Agents List.

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