Long time no see!
I am back in action here, there was a period of two weeks (since the last time I live blogged I think) where I was under the weather and haven’t been able to attend a home game. That’s totally out of character for me, I rarely miss a game all year and I have missed a few already this year.
In any case, I am live and direct from the Blog Box in Section 201 at Nassau Coliseum tonight to see if the Islanders can break their seven game losing streak and get a win tonight here on home ice against the Nashville Predators!
Some pretty big news the last few days regarding trades, none of which involve our Islanders….yet. The Islanders chose to look for help from within the organization by calling up the big Jesse Joensuu and equally large Matt Martin. The hope is that these two young, large players will get traffic in front of the opposing goalie and perhaps generate some offense that has been sorely amiss here the last who-knows-how-many-games.
Martin is making his NHL debut tonight, it should be exciting to watch him and the huge smile that will likely be on his face regarding this big step in his young career. He is wearing the number 46 and as he is saying on the big screen right now – he wants to throw the body and play HIS physical game.
Jesse Joensuu on being recalled:
Matt Martin on his NHL Debut:
Another big surprise, the Islanders are starting Martin Biron in goal tonight. Fresh off his two game AHL conditioning stint, perhaps the hope is that the shaky goal tending from Roloson and DiPietro will be repaired by sitting BOTH of those netminders…? In any case, it gives Biron a chance to shake off the rest of his rust as he awaits an inevitable trade that should come before this Friday’s Olympic trade deadline or the NHL trade deadline next month.
The Islanders need the most out of everyone tonight if they intend on breaking out of their funk.
7:08pm Puck drop and the Islanders push it deep into Nashville’s zone.
7:10pm As I complain about the chances the Islanders are giving up to the Predators, Mark from The View from 111 is with me in the blog box complaining about a missed chance. Interesting conflicting views.
7:12pm Matt Martin makes his presence felt early, laying a good shoulder check on the Nashville’s Jordin Tootoo
7:17pm Third line is buzzing for the Islanders – Martin, Park and Joensuu – I like how Park’s speed is on that line.
7:24pm Matt Martin has broken his cherry and received his first NHL penalty for interference. Islanders short handed. I wouldn’t count on the Preds taking a penalty tonight, they are the least penalized team in the league.
7:27pm GREAT penalty kill, Park and Bergenheim each blocked at least two shots and Streit had a few himself.
7:33pm Joensuu now on a line with Hunter and Schremp. It must have been a line change or a quick trial earlier. That or I mistook Comeau for Joensuu – how I don’t know…
7:35pm Surprise surprise, Thrashers called for interference – Islanders power play.
7:39pm Nothing really on the first part of the power play, but I love Martin’s positioning and shot placements tonight.
7:41pm Four on four coming up, Islanders for slashing (Bergenheim), Predators for diving. Interesting combo for sure. It will carry over into the second period.
End of the first period.
Islanders look like they started to wake up towards the end of the period. For long stretches again here tonight they appeared they had either forgotten they were in the middle of a game or just completely forgot how to pass and play offense. The only bright spots, the solid play by Matt Martin who doesn’t look out of place here in the NHL.
I actually think Martin owns all three of the Islanders shots here tonight so far – which they are behind the Predators who have NINE.
They have to go to the net, and clearly – get more shots on goal if they want to score.
7:58pm Still four aside here for almost two minutes, Islanders control going out of the zone.
8:00pm Arnott takes a shot from the point that Biron fought off, but it fluttered over his head and the net, thankfully.
8:02pm Some good chances by the Islanders here in the second – Bergenheim looks hungry tonight.
8:05pm After some great pressure and missed chances, Schremp finds Meyer who walks in a finds the back of the net to make it 1-0 Isles
8:07pm Shot count is now tied at 11 – Islanders have had 8 this period.
8:12pm Islanders a man down, Nielsen called for hooking.
8:13pm Predators think they scored, goal is under review.
8:15pm NO GOAL, kicking motion. Preds still on the PP
8:17pm Islanders with another good kill, finish off with a short handed opportunity by Park and Bergenheim
8:18pm And NOW the Preds score – all tied at one.
8:21pm Islanders are allowing the Preds back into the game here, shot count is now 13-17.
8:24pm Islanders with a really bad change and it leads to a Predators breakaway and goal – 2-1
8:28pm Now I know why Tavares hasn’t played much tonight – he forgot how to play. He just flubbed two passes in two seconds.
8:31pm Islanders were on a power play, another was just called on the Predators – a five on three in favor of the Islanders here! For a minute 40
8:33pm Tavares digs and digs, winds up with the puck after his shot and then it was cleared.
8:34pm Okposo’s shot from the point gets through and is fought off.
8:36pm Schremp got the puck on and Gervais got the rebound – he scored! 2-2
End of the second period
Much better period, although the Islanders seemed to take about ten minutes off again before being awarded a five-on-three in which they converted and tied the game. Islanders had 18 shots and managed to tie in the shot count at 21 as well.
Schremp has two assists tonight, we also have goals by two defensemen….offense from places we need it most – from ANYONE.
Keep on the Predators and don’t give them much room by forechecking like crazy, limit and block their shots, and please – SHOOT the puck.
8:55pm Islanders just announced the last Islanders goal, Gervais from Schremp and Martin. That is Martin’s first NHL point! Congrats to you!
8:57pm Comeau is called for cross checking, Islanders will be shorthanded
8:59pm Islanders are now down two men for :17 seconds. Bergenheim for high sticking.
9:00pm Comeau comes out and the Isles are only down a man again.
9:01pm Predators score on the power play, regain the lead 3-2
9:02pm Nashville penalty for tripping, Islanders pp (jeez there are a lot of penalties tonight)
9:05pm MacDonald hit the post and then on the next play had a nice pass that was fanned on in front. :34 seconds left on the power play.
9:08pm Another Islanders penalty, too many men – they have been horrible with line changes tonight.
9:15pm Islanders killed off the horrendous change penalty….still haven’t really done much since.
9:19pm Bergenheim drives to the net and get a shot off.
9:24pm Thrashers Dumont called for high sticking – Islanders power play – no blood, two minutes.
9:27pm Islanders powerless on their “power play”.
9:29pm Empty net Islanders, put pressure on and it leads to a power play. Timeout called by Gordon.
9:31pm Islanders score with the goalie pulled and on the power play with 6 second remaining to tie the game at 3!! Streit from Martin and Okposo – that’s Martin’s second assist tonight!
Familiar territory here for the Islanders, let’s see if the boys can rally around their late goal and get the winner here!
Some great pressure here in overtime, goaltending is certainly on par with the chances though.
End of overtime.
Nielsen – GOAL (patented shootout move)
Sullivan – NO GOAL
Schremp – NO GOAL
Legwand – NO GOAL
Moulson – NO GOAL
Erat – GOAL (Biron came out for a failed poke-check….)
Tavares – GOAL
Hornqvist – NO GOAL
Islanders win on Tavares’ shootout goal! The streak dies at 7…..
I cannot say that I saw this coming, at all.
Brendan Witt who has been tough as nails for the New York Islanders the last few years (including a run in with a Chevy Tahoe in Philly this season) has found himself activated from the IR and right onto the waiver wire.
Newsday’s Katie Strang has some great stuff on her blog today regarding this development.
In 42 games this season, Witt has 2 goals and 3 assists for 5 PTS and is a -18. Witt’s play this season has fallen off to what we have seen in recent years – likely attributed to the knee that has bothered him for the last few weeks (he also played through the injury for an unknown amount of time).
Witt has one year and $3-Million left on his contract and was apparently shopped around by Garth Snow for some time. Should Witt clear waivers, he will join Martin Biron in Bridgeport who was recently sent down for conditioning. When and if Witt is recalled, he will be exposed to re-entry waivers where a team could pick him back up at half the price of his contract.
According to Chris Botta of Islanderspointblank, the Islanders could eventually wind up trading Witt at his bargain basement cost of half price.
Something that bothers me a little, is what Snow explained to Katie Strang today:
Snow said the move is less of a knock on Witt’s play and more of an indication of how far along some of the Islanders young defenseman have come and the organization’s confidence in their play
As I said in the Nick Boynton post earlier this week, while the play of MacDonald has been outstanding, giving Dustin Kohn MORE time now isn’t the best option for this club. The team needs help and they need EXPERIENCED HELP.
What do I know though.
Odds are that we will see some moves made with our Islanders before the Olympic break, stay tuned.
Breaking news folks!
Just received word that Islanders goaltender Martin Biron is en route to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League for a two game conditioning stint.
Biron, who dressed in the last two Islanders road games as a backup, last played December 27th in a loss against the Flyers.
Biron left the team in Florida today and will begin practicing with the Sound Tigers for their game on Friday against Springfield and Saturday against Manchester. Biron is expected to dress in both games.
It’s not everyday that a serviceable 6’1″ 218 LB 31-year old defenseman is waived by his team, it’s even rarer of an occasion where your struggling and injured team can benefit by picking him up and NOT MOVE A PLAYER IN RETURN.
Such is the case that Islanders GM Garth Snow will find himself in should he opt to claim Nick Boynton off of waivers before 12 o’clock tomorrow afternoon.
Why should Snow put in a claim?
Let’s see, the team has now lost five straight and is still on the playoff bubble stalled at 54 points. The Islanders defensive corps is battered and bruised, having to resort to calling up two stop gaps in Dustin Kohn and Andrew MacDonald (MacDonald is playing over 21 minutes a game and has been impressive, but I digress). Jack Hillen was felled to a broken jaw thanks to Alex Ovechkin’s slapshot last week and will be out 6-8 weeks. Veteran tough guy d-man Brendan Witt has a leg injury and will be out for another 2-3 weeks at best. Lastly on the injury front, Radek Martinek (aka Glass Man) was lost to a knee injury earlier this season and will be out indefinitely.
Looking further into the depth of the Islanders d-corps depth chart:
Bruno Gervais, is just not cutting it and seems to finding himself in the red in the plus/minus column more often than not. His recent pairing with Mark Streit has allowed him better play, thankfully.
Freddy Meyer (FMIV) bounces in and out of the lineup and has been decent, but he is not a top four d-man.
You’re current top four – Andy Sutton, Mark Streit, Bruno Gervais and Andrew MacDonald. The Islanders need defensive help and they need it now.
Boynton is set to make $700,000 for the rest of this season and is a pending UFA, so it’s not really a high risk move by any means. Should Boynton clear waivers, he will be sent down to the Ducks AHL affiliate and if summoned back to the NHL will be exposed to re-entry waivers and only costing a team $350,000 at that point.
To me, shaking up your team and giving them depth by adding a waiver wire claim seems like a good move. Pundits can claim that Boynton has played for three teams in two seasons, he has had his struggles in Anaheim and doesn’t fit the Islanders system. However, the failed experiment this weekend in Philly with Trevor Gillies should point out the need for toughness in the lineup – which Boynton can bring. Looking over his fight card this season (3 fights in his limited playing time) he has fought some tough opponents.
I say give him a shot Garth, but that’s just my opinion – if he doesn’t work out, no harm no foul and you have given up NOTHING.
What do you all think? Discuss in the comments section.