December 2007

Monthly Archive

Islanders Go Out With a Bang! Down Carolina 4-1

Posted by on 31 Dec 2007 | Tagged as: Gameday

First Period

8:23 PM Islanders were on the power play, there was a bad give away and Vasicek took a high sticking penalty – 4-on-4

8:25 PM Islanders killed the Carolina abbreviated power play
8:29 PM Guerin missed on a slick feed by Comeau – the entire team looks very confident on the puck and making fairly smart decisions.

8:33 PM An obvious line mis-match as the Islanders cannot get out of their zone. Looked like a power play unit for the Hurricanes.

First period was pretty good, scoreless – barely. Dubie came up big a bunch of times when the Isles were hemmed in their own zone for at least a minute. He needed the post to save one shot which was deflected.

Islanders are doing great on faceoffs without Sillinger, I even saw a few set plays thrown in and they almost managed to sneak one in. If the Islanders keep on the pressure in the second and control the play with smart puck handling……they could come out of the period on top – Grahame cannot make saves like he has all night.

Guerin is looking to end 07 on a high note and will benefit from the solid play of his linemates tonight.

More during the second period.

Second Period

8:57 PM Dubie absolutely commits highway robbery on Cole
8:58 PM Brind’amour off for slashing – Islanders power play
8:59 PM Bergeron Scores!!!!! Great face-off win!
9:00 PM Commodore spills Fedotenko – another PP for the Isles
9:01 PM Guerin SCORES! What a shot that was…..I think I saw smoke trails! Off a great keep by MAB along the boards
9:04 PM Great block by Witt
9:06 PM Fedotenko sneaks in behind the D and takes a feed from Hilbert to make it 3-0. Carolina just pulled Grahame and put Ward in net.

9:07 PM Instant dividends for Carolina – Adams pots the rebound 3-1
9:10 PM Islanders just had a 3-on-1 went over the net
9:12 PM Fedotenko just nailed Ward in the mask and missed on the juicy rebound
9:14 PM Keep an eye on Campoli and his right shoulder – he just got taken in hard. Looks like he is in some pain on the bench.
9:16 PM Ladd shoots on Dubie, Dubie comes up big
9:19 PM Comeau looks great tonight, hard back checking helped break up a good chance by Carolina.
9:20 PM Adams takes a high sticking penalty on Meyer – another Islanders PP
9:21 PM Bergeron second of the game on the PP – what a blast! That’s three power play points for MAB
9:26 PM Slashing call on Cole – another Islanders PP
9:29 PM Power play about to end – can’t expect them to score on every chance….
9:30 PM Boooo birds evident as Witt gets pulled down by Stall – 6th Islanders PP

Well – if there was ever a perfect road period, this was it. 3 power play goals, 4 goals overall and great pressure on Carolina who have opened up their game – keeps generating chances for the Islanders. Carolina keeps taking penalties and putting their goaltender Ward in a bad position coming off the bench. All the Islanders need to do is play smart defense and keep playing their game and they will take the third period just like the second.

There was a graphic up during the game that is important:

First 17 games – 30 goals
Last 7 games – 16 goals

I think they found their offense!

Third Period

9:58 PM Hilbert with a nice steal, but faked a meaningless shot instead of taking one.
10:01 PM Guerin is still centering to nobody at times. Hamilton just hit the post….
10:03 PM Satan to Vasicek – he misses the net – Carolina was going to be up a man, but now Bergenheim was just jumped by a Cane, should be even up.

10:06 PM Bergy 2 for Kneeing, 2 for Roughing – LaRose 2 for roughing – Canes a man up
10:08 PM Great kill by the Islanders 8:13 remaining in the 3rd period
10:13 PM Fedotenko slashed – yet another Islanders power play. Tank looks like he hurt the finger without a fingernail.
10:16 PM Meyer makes a great block – Sutton takes a penalty
10:19 PM Penalty has been killed, although the Isles just took a delay of game penalty. Just over 2 minutes remain

10:20 PM Shot by Whitney hits the post
10:22 PM And that’s all she wrote! Islander played an outstanding game tonight, every aspect of their game was on point tonight. Power play, penalty kill, even strength – it was all working right tonight.

Hate to cut this short, but I am starving and need to get ready for New Years Eve. I hope everyone has a safe and healthy new year – have fun and drive safe. If you don’t need to drive, don’t and if you do – be smart!

See you in 2008!

Late Recap: Devils – Islanders

Posted by on 31 Dec 2007 | Tagged as: Post Game

I don’t really have many excuses, but this is a really late post. I think I will place blame solely on the fact that I received an Xbox 360 for Christmas and bought NHL 08 and Call of Duty 4. I don’t fancy myself a video game junkie and definitely wouldn’t waste time sitting in front of the TV – but I can’t seem to stop playing either of those awesome games!

What did I like about the game against NJ? A lot honestly. We scored in the first period – shorthanded. My boy Campoli fired a laser from the point, after a nifty stall by Park at the blueline. Park made such a great move that he had the entire Jersey defense transitioning into the neutral zone which made Campoli wide open for the pass.

Three separate defensemen scored, which made me wonder if the Islanders scouting told them to fire pucks from above (we shall call it “Hell from above”).

Dubie looked sharp all game and the entire defensive core looked solid. Several things that I noticed during the game: Meyer made a nice spin/bank move off the back of the net and burnt the man hanging on him, Bergeron was great all game and stuck to his man and made solid keeps and passes, Witt and Sutton were laying the body and we even saw Sutton’s first goal as an Islander.

In the same breath, I could also say that once or twice Witt and Gervais both left their men open and we saw Parise involved in both Jersey goals.

Comrie looked better, but he still uses that toe drag way too much – it was good to see him get rewarded for one of his better games with the empty netter.

All in all, it was one of the Islanders better showings because they never gave up and kept plugging away until their lead was solidified.

Hopefully they bring all the positives to the next level by taking the last game of 2007 in Carolina tonight. Hopefully it’s a great game – which is already taking place as I type this.

Sillinger Out, Walter Up

Posted by on 31 Dec 2007 | Tagged as: Gameday, News

One of the negative aspects of having an older, veteran roster is how the daily grind can begin to break down players who would normally shake off an injury. This isn’t a knock on anyone really, just a part of the game. I know it’s a long season and as a hockey player I know these guys play through bumps and bruises better than anyone. Sometimes though, it’s best to sit for a game or two in order to get back to 100% and that is exactly what Mike Sillinger will be doing tonight in Carolina.

In his place, forward Ben Walter will dress – and skated on a line between Comeau and Jackman during practice yesterday.

In other injury news, DiPietro will also not travel with the team being listed as day-to-day with that knee sprain. I think it’s more of a positive decision giving him rest and not rushing him back to play – as I said earlier in the week the team has definately learned by the mistakes it made last year.

Per the Islanders website:

Islanders head coach Ted Nolan called the decision to keep the two players back a “precaution” and added DiPietro and Sillinger were probable for Thursday night when the Islanders host the Florida Panthers at 7:05 pm at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

To replace Sillinger, the Islanders have recalled center Ben Walter from Bridgeport of the American Hockey League. At today’s practice at Islanders Iceworks, the 23-year old Walter centered Tim Jackman and Blake Comeau. In 27 games with the Sound Tigers this season, Walter has 9 goals and 16 assists for 25 points. He played four games for the Islanders earlier this season.

“It’s important that we give Mike Sillinger a game off to heal some injuries,” Nolan told “Fans don’t know this, no one does, but Mike has been banged up for a while and has shown a lot of guts playing through it. By giving him the one game off on Monday, it will give him four days to get a little more healthy until our home game on Thursday.”

As for DiPietro, Nolan was consistent with what he said over the weekend. “We want Ricky at 100%,” Nolan said. “He’ll stay back and should be ready for Thursday against the Panthers. Why risk it for one game when he can get an extra few days of rest”?

The coach said the adversity of injuries to top players brings opportunities for others. “Whenever you lose top guys it’s tough,” said Nolan, referring to DiPietro, Sillinger and veteran defenseman Radek Martinek. “We’re talking about our star goalie, our best two-way center and one of our best defensemen, but that’s hockey and you make the best of it. Look at Bruno Gervais the last few games stepping up with big minutes. Marc-Andre Bergeron was very good last night. Comeau’s been steady. This is a great opportunity for a kid like Ben Walter, who looked very good his first time here.”

I had a busy day yesterday, so I will post some opinions on the game versus NJ this afternoon.

Devils Visit the Island

Posted by on 29 Dec 2007 | Tagged as: Gameday, General, News

Good evening all, just wanted to get a post up before the game. Today was another busy day for me, thus such a late post. We had my fiancee’s family come over for dinner because they couldn’t make it Christmas day. It was also the first time my Father met my sister’s boyfriend’s family – as they came over also. At least I am going to the game full for once!

So, Martin Brodeur and the Devils are visting the Islanders tonight, they Devils are fresh off a 2-1 shootout victory over the Sabres and have been pretty successful as of late – gaining the top of a tight Atlantic Division.

Injury Update:

Injured Islanders d-man Aaron Johnson skated with the team for the first time since early November after suffering a knee injury. He should be returning any time now.

Ruslan Fedotenko lost a finger nail the other night in Ottawa, the result of a nasty Alfredsson slash. He is ready to go tonight against the Devils. I love this quote from the Islanders website:

“It’s a full-contact league; you’re going to get injuries.”

Fedotenko has really proven he deserves an extension after the way he as played this season, he may not be tearing up the league in points, but he does the little things out there that give those around him room to play and make things happen. Playing injured isn’t easy, let alone sans fingernail.

Rick DiPietro will be a game time decision, and per Greg Logan’s blog it doesn’t appear that the Islanders are willing to risk the health of their franchise goaltender by rushing him back too soon – proving they learned their mistake from last year.

Per Greg Logan:

It’s significant that backup Joey MacDonald has not returned to Bridgeport. The signs suggest Wade Dubielewicz is in line for his second straight start.

The Islanders should be hungry, coming off a big loss to Ottawa Thursday night. The Devils have opened up their playing style as of late – which should make the 5th announced sellout crowd a loud one if they Isles get on the board early.

I will do my best to post updates from the game.

BREAKING NEWS: Okposo Signed!

Posted by on 28 Dec 2007 | Tagged as: Mobile, News

Per Islanders insider; Okposo inked to three year deal and will join the organization after the World Juniors Tournament is over!

More info plus links when I get home.

Ottawa Wins 5-2 – Fedotenko Injured

Posted by on 27 Dec 2007 | Tagged as: Gameday, Live Blog

The woes continue, not only are the Islanders getting manhandled in Ottawa by the Sens, we lost yet another player to injury. Ruslan Fedotenko has left the game with a hand injury and is listed as day-to-day. No word on if any call-ups are neccesary for Saturday.

Guerin just scored to make it 3-1 11 minutes remaining.

Isles showing some life here – about time. Must’ve gotten a favorable answer from the mid-period check of that magic eight ball.

Looked like a high stick to me – should be NO GOAL, but of course inconclusive evidence goes against the Isles and its now 4-1.

Fisher just scores to make it 5-1. These Senators are just too fast for the Islanders – what more can you say at this point?

I wish I was on the road tonight to hear Nolan’s post game commentary first hand…..

When is this team going to realize that EVERY single time they get a stick anywhere near the oppositions hands they will get called for hooking? Seriously?!?

Guerin just ripped a shot breaking into the zone. 2nd of the game, 12th of the year….should have shot more all game.

Powerplay Islanders – I have guarded optimism here ::cue laugh track::

OFFSIDES, stop making moves at the blueline!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, I am extremely steamed right now – which is why I didn’t blog during most of the game like I have during most of the away games. This was just a very poor showing by the Islanders, they need to stop the win one, lose two, win 3, lose 1 type trend if they wish to advance at all in the standings.

I almost want to give them a bye because they played last night, but the schedule is only going to get tougher here as they will be playing 16 games in the next 30 games. Will Snow make a move or two to solidify scoring depth or defensive depth? One never knows, but the trade freeze ends in 2 hours and the trade deadline is fast approaching.

The Islanders better bring a better effort Saturday against the Devils.

Media Scrum – Canadian Style

Posted by on 27 Dec 2007 | Tagged as: General

Last night was your typical hockey night, especially after the game given all the nights intangibles – Blake’s return, DiPietro’s injury, Comrie’s solid game, Park’s emergence as a clutch player and of course a Canadian team visits the Island.

This was not the first time a Canadian team has visited the Island though, but for whatever reason – when Toronto is in town there will be double the amount of usual media members present in the scrum. Who all was there you ask? Let’s give a quick breakdown:

The usual suspects:

2 Associated Press writers
Islanders TV Crew
SNY Crew
FSN Crew
Greg Logan of Newsday
NY Post Beat Writer
Bryan from the 4th Period
Blog Boxers
WFAN Sound Guy
Assorted other people I can’t remember by association or name

Canadian Infusion:

Fan 590 Crew
Sportsnet Crew
TSN Crew
Globe and Mail Beat Writer

Talk about a packed house! It’s crowded as it is most of the time – but last night it was borderline crazy. It felt like the paparazzi were in the locker room pestering all the players with every question and angle imaginable. It was definately a new experience, thats for sure.

Dee, 7th Woman had mentioned something about Greg Logan in her blog today, let me just add that Greg completely ran out of paper in his journalists notepad – and he told us he still wanted a few quotes from some of the players. Being friendly with Greg, we offered him paper and he kindly said he would squeeze whatever he could on the front and back covers of his pad….what a job that man does!

Isles Win 4-3 in Overtime

Posted by on 26 Dec 2007 | Tagged as: Gameday, Live Blog

Quick trivia: When was the last time the Islanders had three first period goals?

Answer per TSN:

The three goals matched New York’s best first period of the season. The Islanders hadn’t managed as many as two since they netted three in the opening 20 minutes of the season on Oct. 5 at Buffalo.

That’s right, the Isles scored three separate times, coming from deficits of 1-0 and 2-1 to tie and eventually getting the go ahead for a 3-2 lead.

Goals: Hilbert, Comrie and Guerin
Assists: Park, Comrie, Guerin, DiPietro, Berard

Hilbert has really found his groove between Comeau and Jackman. Our first line is also clicking with Park – a god send.

Hopefully they keep the Leafs off the board here in the second.

Post Game Comments

Well – the second period was rather boring and went by very fast, however Rick DiPietro went missing at the start of the second period – and nobody knew what had happened. The third wasn’t much to write home about either, there were a few more scoring chances per side in the period and each goaltender made some good saves. Dubie came up huge at times, although Toronto managed a short handed goal on our powerless powerplay.

Down to the end of the third, Dubie came up with three or four consecutive saves while the Islanders were down a man. He complimented Brendan “The Warrior” Witt for blocking so many shots – because he claimed they would’ve went in had he not blocked them. Dubie also said that Witt scares him sometimes the way he talks about pain (We can certainly see why – Witt is an animal and a true warrior).

In OT Dubie made a few great stops to keep the Islanders in the game, but all it took was Richard Park to deftly intercept the puck (from Jason Blake none-the-less) and took a shot – Comrie buried the rebound for the game winner. Park is certainly turning into the clutch player we need and nobody saw coming. Comrie was on fire out there tonight, I was tempted to ask him what he ate over the holidays because we need him to repeat his performance tonight.

Overall, this was a very big win tonight. We go on the road for a brief road trip and we will be without DiPietro for the time being. Joey MacDonald was called up from Bridgeport to back up Dubie for the game tommorow night in Ottawa.

More news on DiPietro: DP had “tweaked” his knee in the warmup and attempted to give it his all in the first period, but later decided it would be best to sit the rest of the game out. Dubie stated during the interview that he saw Rick cringe a time or two and knew there would be the possibility of coming on cold. He said stopping the first shot “for once” was a big confidence booster and felt more and more comfortable as the game went on. DiPietro will be reevaluated tomorrow and no word on if he is will accompany the team to Ottawa.

Blake’s Return

Posted by on 26 Dec 2007 | Tagged as: Gameday, General

Howdy Islanders Country – hopefully everyone is over their holiday hangovers, be it from food, alcohol, the in-laws or from overspending your budget of holiday gifts! I also hope everyone recieved everything they wanted or needed this year!

Obviously I was unable to post with everything that was going on, I had waited until the last minute to get most of my shopping done and I had a ton to do family wise – so I figured everyone would understand.

The Islanders take on the Leafs tonight at Nassau Coliseum, which should be an interesting game – as the Leafs have become somewhat of a rival since the playoff series and Blake having signed there. Tonight is the first time this season that the Leafs are in-town and it also marks the first return of Blake. Word around town is there will be a pre-game tribute to Jason, so be sure not to miss that – I know I will stand up and give him a clap for all his years of Islanders service.

The Islanders need to stick to their game plan and really work hard against a struggling Toronto team. They need to play sound defensively as the Leafs have a few dangerous forwards that could get them on the board early. They need to generate chances and drive to the net as the Leafs defense is missing a piece now that McCabe is out with a broken hand. Get bodies in front and screen the goalie – something the Islanders have done well the past two games.

You know Toronto will come out fired up, they always do – hopefully the Islanders have no problem matching intensity. Their intensity is always a concern of mine as it seems they shake a Magic 8 ball before they come out, looking for their level of intensity period by period. Hopefully this time it doesn’t say “Outlook not so good”, “Very doubtful” or “Don’t count on it”. If they need inspiration, just think back to the hammering the Leafs gave them at the start of the year……

I may or may not do a live blog from the game, it’s a pain to do from my phone and I tend to may more attention to that rather than the game.

Either way, I will keep you all updated and hopefully the Islanders come out victorious and continue their string of success.

Islanders Take Down Penguins 4-2

Posted by on 21 Dec 2007 | Tagged as: Gameday

First Period

7:35 PM It took the Islanders about 45 seconds to get on the board for a rare first period goal! Satan waited patiently and beat Sabourin glove side.

7:40 PM Sillinger is called for a penalty
7:42 PM Isles kill off the penalty to Sillinger
7:49 PM Comeau barely misses on his first NHL goal! He will get one tonight!
8:08 PM Laraque muscles his way around the net and dishes off to Roberts – Christensen bangs in the rebound.
8:10 PM Meyer takes a hooking (phantom) penalty

Second Period

My cousin Chris and I ran to 7-11 for beer and then waited upstairs for the wings to be delivered.

We saw the Pittsburgh goal and then Comeau feed Jackman to Hilbert!

8:56 PM Dee (7th Woman) is probably screaming – Bergenheim gets called for elbowing and then takes another 2 for arguing with the referee.

9:01 PM HUGGGEEEE penalty kill

Hopefully they take the momentum of killing that huge penalty into the third and come out playing like they have when not taking penalties. THAT is the key to the third – staying out of the box. The referees don’t need any extra reasons to call penalties against the Isles. They need to stick to their game and bring it to the Pens – they have outplayed them for the most part and need to keep the pressure on.

Third Period

9:25 PM Double minor on Kennedy for High Sticking my boy Campoli – BIG PP chance here
9:37 PM HUNTER SCOORRRRESSSS!!!! Less than a minute later and its 4-2 Islanders!
9:47 PM Guerin takes a stupid lazy hooking penalty with under 5 to go

What a game! Satan, Hilbert, Comeau and Hunter all notch goals. Comeau had his first point, first goal and first game winning goal to make his first multipoint night of his NHL career! What a game by Comeau.

They hung in there and really stepped up when they needed to, would have been a superb performance if they did not take so many penalties. Can’t wait to hear Nolan’s reaction.


Posted by on 21 Dec 2007 | Tagged as: Gameday, News

Ted Nolan has tried just about everything to get the offense going this season. He played d-man Aaron Jonhson at wing on the 4th line, mixed in Shawn Bates for the 2 games he was healthy, bounced Bergenheim around from the 4th line to the 2nd line, inserted Jackman, Bootland, Jackman, Tambellini and Comeau through call ups from Bridgeport and has now placed forward Richard Park on the first line with Guerin and Comrie.

Per Greg Logan’s latest blog entry, Nolan says this about Park:

“Richard has been probably our best forward all season long,” Nolan said at the pre-game skate. “Hopefully, he’ll provide a spark. He’s very good on his forechecking, very good defensively, and he’s smart. Maybe just a little tweak there will get those two guys going.”

If you know Richard Park, you know he is a work horse – he has no fear and will go hard into the corner and take the body to support the puck, something not many of our players are willing to do. He also has a nose for the net – much like another quick skater we had……named Jason Blake.

What are the other lines you ask? Greg goes on to talk about Nolan moving Fedotenko down to Hunter and Sillinger’s line because Tank has the size needed for the checking line, yet he can add more offensively than Hilbert. The Satan, Vasicek, Bergenheim remains intact while the new fourth line is now made up of Hilbert at the center of Bootland and Comeau.

Another interesting quote from Greg’s blog:

Nolan said his moves, which include keeping defenseman Freddy Meyer in the lineup and scratching Bryan Berard and Marc-Andre Bergeron, should send a clear message to the team about the need to start producing. “We had a meeting to address that fact,” Nolan said. “The players have to play at a certain level. If you’re not playing at that level, other people will move in. We move into a merit system. That’s life in general. If you produce, you get rewarded. If you don’t, someone else gets an opportunity. That’s the way I’ve coached my entire life, and that’s the way it’s going to be from here on in.”

It appears that Ted Nolan has almost lost whatever little patience he had remaining. He wants to hold players accountable for their poor play, which is how it should have been from day one. It has always been my opinion that a player shouldn’t be too comfortable, it’s one thing to be known as a players coach like Nolan has been – it is another when you tend to be too loyal to your players. I think Nolan is beginning to find an edge to his coaching style that wasn’t ever there before – tough love. In my opinion it is the perfect mixture and a quality that many of the most successful coaches in the game have had.

Hopefully the team will come out tonight and win 2 points for their coach and more importantly – their psyche.

Okposo Madness!

Posted by on 19 Dec 2007 | Tagged as: News

It’s hard enough to pay attention to the latest news while you are supposed to be “working” – especially waiting to post the news about Simon’s suspension length. What I was not expecting to see today, was news on the Islanders first round selection in the 2006 draft (7th overall) Kyle Okposo and how he is on the verge of signing a contract with the big club.

When I first read about this breaking story, it was via the typical message boards – which brought me to a Gopher Hockey message board – Kyle O’s collegiate hockey team. At that point, everything had been purely speculation and I decided I should finish up the service call that I was on so I could head home. While sitting in traffic on Sunrise Highway, I checked Logan’s blog – the place you go to looking for official news before it is released, and noticed his latest post confirming what we had all hoped – contract negotiations are ongoing.

Okposo will be attending the Under-20 World Junior championships in the Czech Republic from Dec. 26-Jan. 5 representing Team USA and it will be decided then if he will be assigned to the Islanders AHL affiliate the Bridgeport Sound Tigers or the Everett Silvertips of the CHL which owns his Junior Rights. It always remains a possibility, that the 19-year old could jump right into the Islanders lineup that is in desperate need of a shake up – should there be a roster spot open.

Update #1:
Per the University of Minnesota Press Conference:

University of Minnesota sophomore Kyle Okposo has chosen to forgo the remainder of the 2007-08 season and his career with the Golden Gophers to sign a contract with the New York Islanders of the National Hockey League.

Okposo was the Islanders’ first-round draft choice and the seventh player taken overall in the 2006 entry draft. He is the eighth Minnesota player to leave college early for the professional ranks since the end of the 2005-06 season. Okposo is departing today for the Czech Republic as a member of the United States’ under-20 national team that is competing at the International Ice Hockey Federation world championships and will join the Islanders following the tournament.

“While I’m disappointed Kyle is leaving at this point of the season, his dream has been to play pro hockey,” Minnesota coach Don Lucia said. “It is unfortunate that the Islanders put him in a very difficult position. I think our team has made strides the last few weeks and I’m looking forward to the second half of the season.”

A St. Paul native who attended Shattuck St. Mary’s in Faribault, Minn., Okposo burst onto the collegiate scene last season with 19 goals and 21 assists in 40 games as a freshman. He earned second-team All-WCHA honors and was named to the league’s All-Rookie Team. Amid speculation that he would leave for the NHL after his freshman season, Okposo announced on June 6 that he would return to the Gophers.

Okposo had a slow start to the 2007-08 season with an eight-game scoreless streak after a three-point game in the season opener against Rensselaer. He scored points in six of the last nine games, totaling seven goals and four assists over the team’s first 18 games as Minnesota currently owns a 9-8-1 record.

All of this is a complete shock mind you, as Okposo said his focus (over the summer) was to spend another year in college. The Islanders were supportive of his decision and told him to take his time. Now, could the Gophers struggles this season and the upcoming World’s be on Kyle’s mind? One can assume that the temptation at turning pro and being an instant impact in the NHL could make any person second guess whatever decisions they previously made.

Should he make it to the Islanders lineup – what an awesome Christmas present that would be!

Update #2:

Per Islanders Insider:

Islanders fans, get ready: highly-touted prospect Kyle Okposo will be joining the Islanders family in the very near future.

The team’s 7th overall pick in the 2006 NHL draft – a tantalizing package of speed, power and grit – announced today that he is leaving the University of Minnesota in order to begin his professional hockey career.

The 6-1, 205-pound right wing will represent Team USA at the World Junior Championships before turning pro. That means a timetable of joining the Islanders organization as early as the first week in January.

But first off is the matter of a contract. has learned that Islanders general manager Garth Snow and Okposo’s representative Neil Sheehy are currently in negotiations on an entry-level deal for the talented wing.

“We’re extremely excited about the possibility of Kyle joining our organization soon,” said Snow. “He’s a great talent, one of the most exciting prospects in the game. Kyle has the dedication and character we want for our franchise.”

A recent scouting report from Islanders assistant general manager Ryan Jankowski to included this: “Kyle’s ability to control the puck along the boards and play a power forward-style game will be a huge asset to the Islanders for a long time to come. He has a great future in our organization.”

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