The Building, It Was Electric and Saturday Will be LOUDER

Posted by on Apr 11 2013 at 9:50 am | Tagged as: General, Post Game

photo-12How about these Islanders?

I made it to the game on Tuesday night, the first time this season. Not that I haven’t wanted to go earlier, I have been crazy busy during this shortened season.

From the second we pulled up to the parking, you knew that hockey was back on Long Island. Yes, it’s been back since January when the lockout ended – but it’s BACK these days. We sat in traffic just to pay for parking and had to park near Hempstead Turnpike do to the turnout. The last time that happened was my first as a season ticket holder, in 2006-2007.

It was a beautiful night Tuesday night, so many fans did as they always have during early and late season games – they tailgated. There was a buzz among the crowd, an hour before the puck was even dropped!

Inside, fans were just as plentiful – a far cry from some of the earlier games this season.

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The Answer is 42

Posted by on Mar 20 2013 at 7:51 am | Tagged as: General, News, Post Game

42Dylan Reese, NOT the answer
A central theme that has developed after the Islanders 29 games thus far: third period goals allowed. It’s not the only one mind you, but it ties in to others; blown leads, poor confidence, sustained pressure and momentum, defense. The list goes on.

When Eric Hornick updated his awesome blog with the latest Skinny on the Isles loss to the Senators last night, one glaring stat stuck out like a sore thumb. 42.

No, it’s not the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything actually yes it is, but read on! It’s the total of third period goals allowed, which owns the title of most in the NHL. Perhaps the Islanders never have those handy towels ready. Ok, that was the last unavoidable reference to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galazy, but not towards the frustrating New York Islanders.

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Isles in Talks to Extend Streit, Boyes, Visnovsky and Nabokov

Posted by on Mar 16 2013 at 5:08 pm | Tagged as: Free Agency, News

freeagentsYou just never know what news might come out on any given day.

Just last week, when Visnovsky returned from a wake in Slovakia, he had his family in tow. News had broken that he had rented a house on Long Island and that he (no surprise) LOVED the area and the team.

Moments ago on Twitter, Arthur Staple of Newsday Tweeted out that the Islanders are still in talks with Mark Streit on a contract extension, which we had heard some time ago. But there was NEW, news as well. The Islanders were also to begin talks with Visnovsky, Nabokov and Brad Boyes – all pending unrestricted free agents.

All in all, this isn’t surprising news. We know that Evgeni Nabokov has been playing some great hockey, and was extended last season into this season. He must feel he has a lot left to offer and could be disappointed with the shortened season due to the lockout.

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Isles Look to Continue Strong Play in Sunrise

Posted by on Mar 16 2013 at 4:22 pm | Tagged as: Gameday, General, Hot Headlines, News

163706363_slideNew York Islanders
It’s been a crazy few weeks for fans in Islanders country. The team finished off a seven game home stand with strong play and appeared to carry that momentum into their small road trip beating the Capitals, but followed that win up by getting brow beaten by the Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Fortunately for the team, they had a rare four days off in between the Pittsburgh game and their game in Tampa against Stamkos and the Lightning and outworked them to a 2-0 victory on Thursday. The break afforded much needed rest for the team, as well as Evgeni Nabokov who’s been used in most of the teams games thus far.

Tonight’s game in Sunrise Florida against the struggling Panthers is a pivotal game for the Isles. Why is this? Let’s take a look at the standings for a second.

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Back From Vacation, Isles Have Points in 4 Straight!

Posted by on Mar 09 2013 at 11:33 am | Tagged as: Gameday, General, News

image-1Hello Islanders Nation!

I’m back from Sunny Florida, as I am sure you may have seen if you follow me on Twitter!

I had a great time on our trip, a lot of exciting things happened – but now that I am back it’s back to business.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t watch any of the games while I was away. I did catch one period of the Ottawa game last Sunday (a really bad stream online), but the rest I caught bits and pieces of via the WRHU iOS app.

On to the good stuff.

The Islanders will be completing a seven game homestand this afternoon against the Capitals and are 2-0-2 in their last four. To have points in four straight is a huge accomplishment for this team at home, as they have had major struggles in front of their own fans. The team is one game below NHL .500 and only a few points out of the final playoff spot with 24 games remaining.

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Isles Looking to Rebound Against Bruins, DiPietro Reports

Posted by on Feb 26 2013 at 11:40 am | Tagged as: General, News

The Islanders are set to take on the Boston Bruins tonight on their second of seven games on home ice. This home ice is in an arena once dubbed “Fort Never-Lose”, but these days it’s the quite opposite “Fort Never-Win” brandishing a 2-7-0 record at home.

Hopefully, Team A shows up, as this game is nationally broadcast.

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Success in Montreal: A Tale of Three Teams

Posted by on Feb 22 2013 at 7:45 pm | Tagged as: General, News, Post Game

Thomas Hickey New York Islanders
This is a post that I wanted to get out earlier today, but work had me running around like a chicken without a head. It never fails, Friday rolls around and customers tend to freak out about the thought of not having heat before a weekend – especially one where the weather outlook is not good. Did I mention they call within an hour of the days end?

In any case – the Islanders were victorious North of the Border in Montreal last night, but it was a tale of three teams. I’m almost certain that you read the title and said – “Eh? THREE teams Mike?”.

Yes, three.

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Issues and What To Do?

Posted by on Feb 20 2013 at 8:29 am | Tagged as: News, Opinion, Post Game, Rant

So we’re just just past the quarter pole of the season and we’ve seen such inconsistency that it’s maddening. Oh to be a fly on the wall of the locker room.

We’ve seen this team come out flying and score goals in the first minute of play and dominate for a full 60, but we’ve also seen the same team come out and look lost and allow goals in the first :27 seconds or less of periods. I’ve seen blame placed upon everything from the owner, to the coach, preparedness, the captain, lack of talent, lack of defense, size – everything.

What are the answers?

That’s a great question. One that I find myself asking as I watch these games from the comfort of my living room with a scowl on my face and sore throat from yelling at the TV.

Let’s analyze.

The Talent

20130220-091349.jpg

Up front we have Tavares, Moulson and Boyes. While this line has put up points and John has entered beast mode at times, he cannot do it alone. I watch this guy bust his hump game in and game out and teams pay lots of attention to him. Why? Because the talent around him while good, can’t keep pressure off of him most nights. Sure, they can compete with that first line, but he needs someone who can open up space and be as big of a threat as him so he can penetrate the defense without too much trouble and not have four guys hanging all over him.

At the same time, because he draws that many players to him those around him need to get into better position. Something that doesn’t always happen. Moulson gets to the net, creates traffic and is handy with his stick depositing shots – but only when they get through. Boyes shows flashes of being a smart playmaker, but he gets pushed off the puck and causes turnovers at times. I’d really hoped for more out of him and I’m not sure he belongs on JT’s wing.

As we move down the depth chart – we have Grabner who’s speed and defensive play cause fits but he often can’t finish. Nielsen with his defensive play, while he’s a smart player he doesn’t seem to have much as far as offense this season. Bailey has looked better this year, but we haven’t seen enough of him. Ullstrom and Cizikas have been a pleasant surprise. I’d like to see Ullstrom up on JT’s wing for a game or two actually.

Okposo. I’ve never been as disappointed in a player as I have been with Kyle. He seems lazier this year, perhaps because he opted to not play during the lockout and it’s a matter of conditioning? Two games in a row he’s taken penalties that have killed momentum and have been in the offensive zone. You just cannot do that. He’s haphazardly back checked and tried too hard to make pretty plays with the puck. He needs to use his head and slow his game down a touch. He’s been all over the place in the lineup, and last night he looked OK until he decided to be a bonehead.

Aucoin and McDonald – two serviceable guys who deserve spot duty in the NHL, but would be better served down with Bridgeport. Aucoin I’d actually go and say he’s good enough to stick, but I think it’s because of our depth issue.

Reasoner – well, we know what we have there and why the team is shopping him. He actually played ok last night in Ottawa, but as much as this team needs a veteran, he doesn’t fit and hasn’t fit since was signed. Experiment over.

If he’s waived or traded, it’s time for Niederreiter to be called up.

The Defense

This has been a tough year – as noted by our waiver wire addiction.

Hickey has looked good, I like not noticing a player much until he makes that solid play and he hasn’t looked out of place. Finley, well – we could do better but he serves a purpose when he’s around. Carkner has added toughness and been an ok defenseman and I’m actually a little upset he’s been injured. They need his fire.

Visnovsky has been as advertised. I just wish he was a few years younger because he adds an element that this team needs – a secondary power play QB. He seems to like the team, thankfully – and plays every night. Not to say he hasn’t made mistakes though.

Our Captain, Streit – he’s struggled but has given glimpses of the player he was in his first season on the team. I’ve not changed my mind in that he was a bad choice for captain. He would never do as Giroux did for the Flyers and call out his teammates. He should’ve after the 7-0 shutout though. I would have. Sometimes you need to get pissed as a leader and veteran. Just look at what assistant coach Doug Weight did with his “paint peeling” speech last week. We need THAT fire and excitement.

Strait is hurt and that’s a shame. He’s been solid and deserves that contract. A fractured ankle will likely see him gone the rest of the season. I suppose we’ll see the man-o-glass Martinek replace him this week at some point.

MacDonald – oh what happened to you? You’ve gone from a steady workhorse to someone who’s positional play has gotten away from what it was. You’re playing too many minutes friend.

Hamonic – thank goodness for you. You’re the best we have on the rear guard corps, but like your partner you are playing too many minutes. This just screams lack of depth and poor coaching.

It’s clear to me that Capuano trusts who he trusts and is hesitant to change much up. Sounds exactly the way Scott Gordon was and we know how that ended.

The Goaltenders

Nabokov has been outstanding for a player creeping up there in age. He’s been overplayed though and hung out to dry more often than not with his defense.

DiPietro – I’ll get lambasted for saying this, but he’s been ok. Not great, not good – but just ok. Sure last night he flubbed that glove save and it put the game out of reach, but when you don’t allow your goalie to see the puck you can’t expect him to automatically make a save, I don’t care who it is in net.

Final Thoughts

I’ve been writing about this team since 2006, been a fan my entire life and have seen a lot of crazy things go on with the organization.

What I cannot wrap my mind around is the lack of effort by Charles Wang to put a genuine NHL product on the ice. Garth Snow is always forced to assemble a majority of his team with tape and bubble gum and that’s no way to form a contender, let alone a professional hockey team. His hands are tied for the most part – I don’t agree with the thoughts that he’s a bad GM and I’m curious to see how good he can be if he was ACTUALLY free to do what he wants.

Sure there are a ton of issues going on behind the scenes with the pending move to Brooklyn, but enough is enough.

The Islanders are wrecking these years with John Tavares. Plain and simple.

While the farm is stocked with a ton of good prospects – we seem to be stuck in this repetitive cycle of poor management. It’s painful to watch as a fan, I’m sure it’s no better as a player.

We should be going hard as we move towards Brooklyn. The fans in on Long Island deserve to make the old barn rock at least one more time.

I’m tired of feeling as if we’re constantly lied to as a fan base – and I know a lot of other fans out there feel the same way.

I look forward to better days and we’ve been teased with what it’ll be like once we get there.

Tell me you’re feelings or ideas in the comment section. I’m open for debate.

Please Pardon the Dust!

Posted by on Jan 15 2013 at 2:08 pm | Tagged as: Site Announcements, Waivers

Well hello there Isles fans, it’s been quite sometime since I updated my little blog here. I feel like I have said this before, but life changes – it could be a subtle change or a big one that cause you to either forget about your passion or just not have time to work on it. My life has changed a lot in the last year and change! Well, there is that – and that pesky 113 day NHL Lockout.

As we move forward here, I am really excited to churn out my take on everything New York Islanders. I’ve been given such a great opportunity that not many folks have received, so let’s make the best of this!

Let’s start out with the lockout.

We knew it was coming, each side had their reasons and I really don’t want to go into the semantics of the whole thing. It was horrible to endure as a fan, and that’s as far as I can take that. I refused to write about any of it, although I did read about it and listen to NHL on Sirius/XM daily – go figure.

I don’t see the need to go back 8 months to recap who we’ve drafted back in June, or who we traded for or signed. You all know that by now. I will provide my take on the most recent transactions though.

The Lubomir Visnovsky debacle rages on. Arthur Staple said earlier that the player had “some personal issues to deal with” and would eventually report to camp. This comes after weeks (if not month’s really) of the player trying to find his way out of his contract by any means. What kind of element will he add to the tight-knit locker room? Hard to say – but clearly Nabokov changed his tune once he was here.

The Islanders announced the signing of long time Islander (and short-time Blue Jacket) Radek Martinek to a one year deal. You can never have too many defenseman I say, and clearly Garth Snow feels the same way.

Speaking of defensemen – the Islanders also recently waived d-man Ty Wishart (who has since cleared and returned to Bridgeport) and claimed two players in Joe Finley (Buffalo Sabres) and Thomas Hickey (LA Kings), most likely for depth. The Islanders had a really nice article on Jon Landry that is worth a read. If you think the trials and tribulations of a hockey player are all golden like that of John Tavares – think again. Landry has traveled down a really long road, and it’s nice to see a young man stick to what he loves throughout it all!

The Islanders have also opened up a ton to fans – regarding scrimmages, practice and even concessions. For all the latest visit NewYorkIslanders.com for the latest!

On Saturday January 19th, the Islanders have their season opener against the New Jersey Devils. Also that night, a new website will go live, exclusive for Islanders fans! A site called IslandersPowerPlayDeals goes live exclusively for Islanders fans, offering preferred pricing on Long Island’s best local travel, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centers and various other retailers. You can learn more details on the Islanders official announcement.

Isles-Devils Round Two

Posted by on Mar 08 2012 at 2:10 pm | Tagged as: Gameday, General

Three games in six days agains the same opponent – it has a playoff feel doesn’t it?

The Islanders are in New Jersey tonight to take on the Devils for round two of their three game stint.

The Islanders are 2-1 against the Devils so far this season – with three games remaining in the season series. Last weekend, the Islanders blanked the Devils 1-0 thanks to their strong defensive play and the great play of their rookie goaltender Anders Nilsson who stopped all 24 shots he faced.

The Islanders cannot give up ANY points in their quest for a post season appearance. They have struggled to put together win streaks longer than a two or three games much of the season.

Scoring has often disappeared, as the only line doing much damage is their first line, however Josh Bailey’s move to wing has paid dividends as of late. Bailey has scored four goals over the last four games, while Kyle Okposo has played well with his new linemates and scored the only goal – the games winner last weekend against New Jersey.

With 16 games remaining, the Islanders are 7 points back of the 8th and final playoff spot. While not mathematically eliminated, they need to win the next string of games with strong, confident and consistent hockey of they don’t want those hopes completely dashed.

It’s a stretch, but crazier things have happened. Just look at the parity in the league – these six points against the Devils are HUGE.

The 2012 NHL Trade Deadline

Posted by on Feb 27 2012 at 10:24 am | Tagged as: Roster Moves, Rumors, Trade Deadline, Trades, Waivers

So we find ourselves at the craziest day in the NHL, well next to July when UFA’s are available to be signed.

This year, I’m home – celebrating what will likely be an uneventful day for the New York Islanders. Last year however, I was working – stuck in the Bronx and forced to stream TSN via their Tradecentre app. This year I have a new solution, and despite being home I thought it would be easy – but I don’t have the NHL Network.

So, my solution for 2012:

I purchased a $10 dollar application called AirParrot for Mac OSX. This enables mirroring your desktop to your Apple TV. I located a link, (which I really don’t want to post in fear it would hurt the stream quality) that is showing the TSN feed. Is it perfect? No, but at least I can watch.

Now, I realize that NHL.com has the stream, but they won’t be live streaming until Noon EST. This should hold me over for a few hours.

What’ll Happen?

We all know that the Islanders play as of late has been wildly inconsistent, due in part to a few key injuries and a rampant flu bug running through then locker room.

The Islanders find themselves 8 points back of the 8th and final playoff spot.

Then Islanders have a whole list of pending UFA’s:

Forwards
Brian Rolston (Placed on waivers 2/25/12)
Jay Pandolfo
PA Parenteau

Defensemen
Mark Eaton
Steve Staios
Milan Jurcina
Mike Mottau
Dylan Reese

Goaltenders
Evgeni Nabokov
Al Montoya

If you look over the list above, two players in particular would garner the most interest – Parenteau and Nabokov. Parenteau is second on the Islanders in points, with 15 goals and 43 assists for a total of 58 points. Garth Snow has come out on record, a few times, saying he really doesn’t want to deal PA and would like to sign him to an extension. PA’s agent has also come out on record as saying PA would rather focus on the contract after the season is over – so does Snow risk losing PA for nothing or does he listen to offers today? It’s clear that Parenteau has excelled off of Tavares’ wing, but regardless the Islanders have still struggled offensively outside of that first line anyway. It’s quite a conundrum and would leave a big hole to fill should he get moved.

Moving to Evgeni Nabokov; he’s got a no trade clause and would have to approve any move but again, Garth Snow and Nabokov’s agent have been on record the last few weeks as saying an extension is being worked on and that there are no trades being discussed. That said, we all know that things could change in an instant – especially with the goalie market being somewhat saturated. I really like what Nabokov has brought this season and turned around his little situation in not reporting after being claimed off waivers last year. He’s helped hide the Islanders defensive issues and helped them claw back to where they are currently.

The rest of the players available all have one thing in common, experience. They could help teams add depth for a stretch run, or in the playoffs – but they have all been relatively HORRID for the Islanders. Outside of Mark Eaton and maybe Montoya, I wouldn’t be sad to see anyone go.

The dilemma here for Garth Snow, he’s neither a buyer or a seller. If he sells off any available assets, the season is officially over and any SLIM chance of making the playoffs is essentially dashed. If he moves no personnel, and brings no help in – we can expect the same type of play the rest of the season and essentially come up short for the playoffs, as expected.

The Needs

Should Garth Snow have a shopping list today, he needs primary and secondary scoring, AND needs first, second and third pair defensive help. For once, the goaltending situation isn’t as big of an issue as it has been in the past – but that’s IF Nabokov is retained and Montoya regains his form from earlier this season.

I guess only time will tell – and we have over five hours left until the 3 PM eastern trade deadline.

My gut says that we won’t see many trades for the Islanders today, if any at all.

Nielsen Inked to 4 Year Extension!

Posted by on Feb 07 2012 at 8:06 pm | Tagged as: Gameday, Signings

There’s been lots of contract extension talk regarding some of the pending UFA’s on the Islanders the last few weeks. Most notably, Frans Nielsen and PA Parenteau.

You can take the Great Dane off your list, as Garth Snow has inked Nielsen to a four year $11-Million dollar contract extension earlier tonight.

No official news per the team, but it was just talked about on MSG during the Islanders telecast and TSN’s Bob McKenzie had several tweets on this:

https://twitter.com/TSNBobMcKenzie/status/167035150729883649

https://twitter.com/TSNBobMcKenzie/status/167036069043372032

Nielsen has been a key defensive forward for the New York Islanders, and he also has that deadly go-to move during the shootout.

I’ll have more shortly.

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