September 2011

Monthly Archive

Steve Staios Agrees to One Year Deal

Posted by on 30 Sep 2011 | Tagged as: News, Preseason, Signings, Tryouts

The New York Islanders have signed Steve Staios to a one year contract today.

I think this is a great signing, and as I said the other day, Staios has looked great during camp and preseason. I felt he earned his contract after coming to the Islanders on a PTO.

With Milan Jurcina’s health in question – Staios being signed is that much more important depth wise.

Per the Islanders release:

The New York Islanders have agreed to terms on a one-year deal with defenseman Steve Staios.

Staios, who originally was attending the Islanders Training Camp on a tryout basis, has played in each of the Islanders three preseason games this month and is set to dress against the New Jersey Devils tonight at 7 p.m. at the Prudential Center.

The Hamilton, ON native has played in 936 career National Hockey League games, scoring 56 goals and 156 assists for 212 points. He has also accumulated 1,269 penalty minutes over the course of his 15-year NHL career.

Staios, originally drafted in the second round (27th overall) of the 1991 NHL Entry Draft, played the last two seasons with the Calgary Flames. In 57 games, he totaled four goals and nine assists for 13 points.

He played in 573 games over the course of eight seasons with the Edmonton Oilers. Staios recorded 35 goals and 111 assists with the Oilers. The 6’1, 200 pound defenseman also played two seasons with the Atlanta Thrashers, three with the Vancouver Canucks and two with the Boston Bruins.

Internationally, Staios has represented Team Canada at the 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2007 World Championships. He tallied two goals and four assists for six points in 33 games.

Isles Fall to Calgary: Positive Takeaways

Posted by on 28 Sep 2011 | Tagged as: Post Game, Preseason

Hockey is back! It may not be as organized or as polished as we, as fans would like – but it was great to watch and listen to the game last night.

The Islanders put forth a solid effort last night, despite being shutout 2-0 by their hosts the Calgary Flames – there were a few positive takeaways from the preseason contest however.

If you follow me on Twitter (I mean why don’t you?) you may have caught my little quip on how disorganized hockey makes my head hurt. This wasn’t in reference to any team in particular, as it was clear watching both teams (and highlights from the other games last night) that everyone is working out their kinks. It’s also important to point out, that the Islanders didn’t field a majority of the players we’ll see during the season.

As a matter of fact, the guys on TSN made a few witty comments on the overall age of the Islanders. They had joked about the players standing around in the runway leading to the ice lacking the veterans to lead them onto the ice, they joked about how you know you have a young team when half the players have to get dressed at the hotel before the game (as a peewee and midget who’s not done that?), and then referenced Ryan Strome’s baby face and how he’d get carded the first several years of his career. All light hearted stuff, but true none-the-less.

Let’s get the negatives out of the way.

Negatives

The young and inexperienced Islanders defenseman often made rushed decisions with the puck, clearing the puck right up the middle, clearing the puck late or at times – right to the opposition. Growing pains, no big deal.

Milan Jurcina getting injured, wasn’t said how extreme, just that he injured his groin and missed the second half of the game.

Evgeni Nabokov doing his best DiPietro impression (I had even joked about this on Twitter) straying out of the crease and misplaying the puck a few times. Shook his rust off though.

Kirill Kabanov showing a reluctance to shoot the puck, holding onto it a tad too long and making late passes unlike what we saw a few weeks ago during the rookie game.

Rhett Rhakshani leaving the game with another injury, although not ANOTHER concussion – this time to his knee.

Offense – the team struggled against the veteran heavy Flames, getting only 13 shots on net, thats after a full 60 minutes.

On to the positives

Positives

Evgeni Nabokov made 15 saves in the two periods he was in net. It took him a bit to shake the rust off, but you can see by his positioning and rebound control that the talent is there. I kept shaking my head ACTUALLY seeing him in net and hearing the phrase “Save Nabokov!”.

Ryan Strome.

This youngster has zip, playmaking ability and that moxie you just cannot ignore. He hasn’t looked too far out of place against the big boys, I expect him to get an extra look and perhaps the nine-game treatment.

Kirill Kabanov

Here is a kid that not longer than a year ago was labeled a headcase and another problem child Russian. He turned things around in for himself and is taking camp as serious as anyone. He’s looked sharp on Strome’s wing and may find himself in Bridgeport this year should his play continue.

The Vets

Marty Resasoner looks a bit rusty, granted he’s nursing his knee – but he showed some poise last night.

Jay Pandalfo made some heady moves with the puck last night. I like him for the fourth line if he gets a contract.

Steve Staios needs a contract. I’ve liked what I’ve seen and heard from him all of camp and preseason. He rounds out the defense nicely and adds needed depth.

Trevor Gillies has been hitting, they have been hard and clean. It looks like he spent his offseason really working on his game. (Now with video!)

With the a-team at home likely watching on Long Island last night – it was a decent game to watch overall.

There were some roster trims today via waivers, I’ll have something on that later on tonight.

Mark Streit’s Got a Little Captain

Posted by on 21 Sep 2011 | Tagged as: Hot Headlines, News, Signings

It’s been a great month for Islanders fans. It really has.

All things considered, this time of year is usually a tad depressing. The summer weather gradually shifts to cooler temperatures, the wardrobe tends to get heavier and more cumbersome, leaves begin to change colors and then fall to the ground. That being said, the cooler temps mean hockey season is right around the corner.

The Islanders started their training camp last weekend. Several Islanders reported to camp with contracts bearing that still-wet ink look. In case you’ve not heard by now, 2009 First Overall draft pick – John Tavares signed a six-year $33 Million Dollar contract extension. This put to rest many of the rumors (we will call them rumours as they originated to our north…) that Tavares would bolt as-soon-as he reached free agency. Next on Garth Snow’s to-do list was a new contract for Josh Bailey, whom did not sign his qualifying offer earlier this summer. Bailey agreed to terms on a 11th hour deal, a two year contract worth $2.1 Million Dollars.

This means that a majority of the teams core young guys: Okposo, Grabner, Moulson, and now Tavares are locked up for the next five years, at reasonable prices too. Next on the list, as we have all speculated – Frans Nielsen. I expect him to earn a raise as his contract has been a bargain for the last several years.

Today, the Islanders held a press conference – confirming what many of us have speculated on for the last while. Mark Streit was named the franchise’s 13th Captain in team history, and the first Swiss born player in the NHL to be named captain.

From the Islanders Press Release:

The New York Islanders announced today the appointment of defenseman Mark Streit as the 13th captain in the organization’s 40-year history.

Streit, 33, enters his fourth season with the Islanders in 2011-12. He missed the entire 2010-11 campaign with a shoulder injury, but in his first two seasons with the club, Streit led all Islanders in ice-time. He also led the team in scoring during the 2008-09 season, while ranking third in that category in 2009-10.

The Bern, SUI, native becomes the first team captain in National Hockey League history from Switzerland.

“It’s truly an honor to be named the captain of such a historic franchise with a rich history,” Streit said. “To follow in the foot-steps of so many legendary leaders that represented the Islanders is a role I am excited to fill. It is a privilege to be considered one of the leaders of this team and I’m committed to taking this team to the next level.”

The Islanders’ 12th captain, Doug Weight, relinquished the position after two years of service when he retired on May 26, 2011. Streit has served as an assistant captain at various points throughout his three-year Islanders career.

“Throughout his three seasons with the Islanders, Mark has been a steadying presence in our dressing room,” said General Manager Garth Snow. “He is constantly pushing himself to be the very best and demands the same from his teammates. Mark is a leader both on and off the ice and we are pleased to name him the 13th team captain in Islanders history.”

The Montreal Canadiens selected Streit in the ninth round (262nd overall) of the 2004 National Hockey League Entry Draft. In 361 career NHL games, he’s scored 52 goals and 162 assists for 214 points. Streit has also played in 12 Stanley Cup Playoff games, recording one goal and three assists.

In international play, Streit has served as captain for Team Switzerland at numerous World Championships and Winter Olympic games. In total, he’s played in 74 World Championship games, 15 Winter Olympic games and 11 World Junior Championship games.

Mark Streit has been one of the most surprising players on this young Islanders squad. Signed as a free agent after spending time in the Montreal Canadiens organization, Streit dominated on the Island. Watching his steady progression has been a great experience. His presence on the back end can be compared, at least in my eyes – to that of Kenny Jonnson. Big hits, timely goals and extremely sound positionally.

It absolutely killed the Islanders when Streit fell to injury last year in training camp, he’s that big of a player for them. Hopefully he’s put the injury behind him and really shines this season.

Lokomotiv Suffers Enormous Loss, A Good Vasicek Memory

Posted by on 07 Sep 2011 | Tagged as: General, News

News out of Russia this morning brings more heartbreak to the NHL during a time of remembrance for players lost here in North America.

A chartered plane for the KHL’s Lokomotiv hockey team has crashed, allegedly killing a majority of the clubs roster.

Per the AP story:

TUNOSHNA, Russia (AP)—A Russian jet carrying a top ice hockey team crashed into a river bank Wednesday while taking off in western Russia, killing at least 43 people and leaving two others critically injured, officials said.

The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry said the Yak-42 plane crashed in sunny weather immediately after leaving an airport near the city of Yaroslavl, on the Volga River about 150 miles (240 kilometers) northeast of Moscow.

It said the plane was carrying the Lokomotiv ice hockey team from Yaroslavl to Minsk, the capital of Belarus, where it was to play Thursday against Dinamo Minsk in the opening game of the season of the Kontinental Hockey League. The ministry was carrying 45 people, including 37 passengers and eight crew, and two people survived the crash.

There were quite a few NHL names among them: Defensemen Karel Rachunek, Ruslan Salei and Karlis Skrastins, as well as forwards Pavol Demitra and Josef Vasicek  all spent a good deal of time in the NHL and were listed on the most current roster on the KHL website. Forward Alexander Vasyunov played in 18 games with the New Jersey Devils this past season.

Josef Vasicek played for the Islanders for 81 games in 2007, scoring 16 goals and 19 assists for 35 points. He signed with Lokomotiv in 2008 where he’s played since. Note: It is unknown at this time of Vasicek was on board the downed jetliner at this time. He is on the roster however.

Here is a video made by Two Man Advantage during the Islanders 2007 training camp, as a good tribute to Vasicek’s character.

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Vasicek wasn’t the only player, or ex-player with ties to the Islanders organization. Lokomotiv’s head coach Brad McCrimmon was an Assistant Coach on the team from 97-99.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved in this tragedy, the Hockey World mourns the loss of some of our brothers.