Call Ups

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Isles-Rangers, Montoya Extended, Donovan Signed

Posted by on 31 Mar 2011 | Tagged as: Call Ups, Gameday, General, Hot Headlines, Signings

It’s been a slow few weeks here at Islesblogger, but not because there hasn’t been anything going on in Islanders Country lately. No, instead – this blogger was in Sunny South Florida, escaping the crazy fall weather here in NY that has featured, rain, rain with snow, snow with lightning and of course – the accompanying cold.

While in Florida, I missed a few games – First in our ugly loss to the Atlanta Thrashers and then in our loss against a team we cannot ever seem to beat in the Philadelphia Flyers. My sincerest appologies there – but, I did catch two baseball games down in Ft Myers, Twins-Orioles and Twins-Yankees. First time ever watching spring training live, it was fun!

Tonight, the Islanders are looking to exact revenge on many levels against their cross town rival New York Rangers. Al Montoya gets the start again against his formal club, looking to make up for being pulled in their last meeting two weeks ago. The Islanders could potentially steal two VERY important points against the Rangers, who have fallen to eight place in the East after their 1-0 loss to the Sabres last night.

The Isles have been mathematically eliminated for a few games now, so they have nothing to lose – figuratively of course. Unless you count pride that is….

The Islanders also played last night, in a 3-2 loss to New Jersey at the Prudential center – a game in which they struggled for long stretches, came close – but couldn’t find the will to win.

Michael Grabner will miss his second straight game as he is expecting the birth of his son. Al Montoya will be sporting his best – a one year, one way extension with the New York Islanders.

In other news, Islanders defensive prospect and 2008 Draft Choice Matt Donovan has been signed to his rookie deal. He joins the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on an ATO, like Ness was also done a few weeks ago. The Sound Tigers find themselves in need of defensive help lately, with Gervais and Jurcina both hurt – Reese and Katic are up with the big club.

In other news, perhaps you missed my interview with the Islanders website, which was also featured on the NHL website – or so says a few emails and texts I received!

Oh yea – injuries! We lost Andrew MacDonald for the rest of this season with a hip injury, Mark Streit was not cleared to play and wont play in the upcoming worlds, Bruno Gervais and Milan Jurcina are banged up (as I said earlier), and Doug Weight if you couldn’t guess is done for the year and may retire.

While there may not be too many exciting things left in what’s left of the Islanders season – at least this awesome rivalry will keep us entertained.

Be sure to follow along as I tweet live during the game on Twitter and check back later on for in-game and post game analysis.

Tavares Making Strides, Colliton Shines in Win over Avs

Posted by on 09 Jan 2011 | Tagged as: Call Ups, Gameday, Recap

How about the Islanders as of late?

Aside from injuries that continue to mount (Eaton – done for the year, Nielsen – groin, and DiPietro – mystery strain) the Islanders are playing pretty good hockey, (8-2-1 over the last 11). The power play has been clicking at a new rate (seven power play goals over three games) and the youngsters brought up from Bridgeport have been stepping in and filling roles left vacant by their injured veteran teammates. Not too shabby, although – for once I just wish the team could escape the injury bug for a complete season. Perhaps the time is right for some sort of intervention, be it spiritual or otherwise.

How about our boy John Tavares?!?

JT has been giving teams fits down low, both behind the goal line and between the circles. He has been initiating contact, digging for loose pucks and just an overall strength we’ve not seen from him since his awesome performances in the World’s. He has scored two goals in the last few games that have been a great indication that he has the confidence he was lacking earlier this season. He LOVES to stick handle through traffic and make a move in an area that many in the league have a problem doing. He’s scored just over a foot away from the netminders he’s scored on – pretty impressive stuff.

What about this Jeremy Colliton?

Colliton was recalled from Bridgeport to replace the injured Frans Nielsen. Think it worked out? Colliton scored twice on the power play last night, impressive in his own right because we rarely see bodies go to the front of the net the way he did. I wonder if Capuano would want to keep him up with the team instead of dressing Trevor Gillies the next few games. It’s worth a shot.

Another player worth noting, Kevin Poulin. He was stellar in his loss against the Oilers earlier in the week – stopping every shot he faced, but he came up huge again last night. He was sound positionally, controlled his rebounds a lot better than he did his first go round – he did not look out of place despite the tender age of twenty years old. He even earned his first NHL win in his first NHL start thanks to Tavares’ heroics in OT.

It’s great to see the team rebound the way they have after their 14 game losing streak, they have done just about everything in their power to improve their game – despite trading away James Wisniewski and Dwayne Roloson.

If the Islanders win at the very least two more games over the next batch – would you say it’s safe to say that the streak did not hurt as bad? I don’t expect this team to squeak into the playoffs, but I like the way they have been playing and hope it continues.

Isles Get Juiced, Score 3 in 99 and Earn a Gritty Win

Posted by on 17 Dec 2010 | Tagged as: Call Ups, Recap

Over the last few weeks, it’s been rather hard to muster the energy to constructively write about our Islanders. It’s rather tiresome reading all the negative junk on the internet, the media and of course the message boards consisting of FANS of this team. I choose not to ignore it, (I actually read everything) but turn a blind eye in a sense because I don’t necessarily agree with common fan opinion.

Between injuries, the young and often inexperienced roster and of course – the controversial bargain basement roster price narrowly making the league mandated salary cap floor – don’t make being a fan of the Islanders easy when they aren’t playing well.

Fans had lambasted Garth Snow for now addressing fans, so he does a live chat on Islanders TV only for those same fans to now turn around and blast the questions he answered.

Fans are calling for Charles Wang to step up and address fans during these trying times as well. But allow me to say this – for everyone claiming that Charles Wang is TOO involved, you now want him to make a statement? He’s made numerous statements on this very subject, he asked us to be patient while we watched Garth Snow to stick to his plan a plan that has seen us draft well and grab talent from the waiver and free agent wire.

Good things come to those who wait – we just have to stay patient.

Speaking of patient…or should I say patients – what’s this story about a nurse calling out the Islanders while they were visiting a hospital? Wrong time and wrong place. I am a season ticket holder as well and I wouldn’t dare have the audacity to speak like that to players in any situation. Shame on you, especially in a hospital when players are doing something respectable.

Same goes for Opie, it’s one thing that you have money – it’s another to literally throw your tickets out the window. There are plenty of young kids who would still give up anything to attend a hockey game, even one where perhaps the Islanders lose. Poor judgement, but hey that’s what your show is built around right?

Now that my rant is over, let’s look at the game last night against the Anaheim Ducks.

For starters, I missed the game last night as I had LASIK done and literally couldn’t open my eyes – I slept through the night and only watched the highlights this morning.

Defense. The defense looked outstanding with youngins’ Andrew MacDonald and Travis Hamonic leading the charge and shutting down the Ducks top line. Each player played over 20 minutes last night respectively. We also saw the return of Milan Jurcina who’s missed quite a bit of time with a hamstring injury as well as Radek Martinek who was hit by a shot in the hand last week. It certainly had an effect on the outcome of the game having the veteran presence back there.

Scoring. The Islanders scored three goals, something they have actually been doing quite regularly – however they scored three in the first period and three in 99 seconds. We saw another power play goal, this time scored by PA Parenteau off a slick feed by Tavares behind the net. Next up, Comeau was found alone out in front less than a minute later and the Moulson scored thanks to a nice turnover caused by offensive zone pressure. DiPietro would eventually secure the win for the Islanders making 30 saves and giving up two goals, one to former Islander Jason Blake.

The Islanders played their positions well, they finished their checks and most importantly held onto the lead through two periods – something they have not done well at all this season.

The young players are coming along nicely, although John Tavares continues to struggle without a veteran or scoring winger on his side – I am sure Garth Snow is looking for the right piece without having to give up too much in return. He’s spend quite a bit of time restoring his cupboard – why be in a rush to ship those pieces out.

As fans we have to remember that our one job is patience. I don’t like spending my hard earned (and as of late) harder to hold onto money more than the next person – but I am still here to support my team through thick and thin.

Calling for the firing of a GM that has worked his butt off to restore the damage done from years past, and for an owner to sell is just plain silly right now. It can ALWAYS be worse, look no further than the Islanders recent history to be reminded how much so….

Sutton Traded to Ottawa, Kohn Recalled

Posted by on 02 Mar 2010 | Tagged as: Call Ups, Roster Moves, Trades

The first Islanders chip has fallen. More on this to follow!

Per an Islanders release:

The New York Islanders have traded defenseman Andy Sutton to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for a second round draft pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

The pick was originally acquired by Ottawa along with Milan Michalek and Jonathan Cheechoo from San Jose in exchange for forward Dany Heatley and Ottawa’s fifth-round draft choice in 2010 on Sept. 12, 2009.

Sutton was signed by the Islanders on August 10, 2007 as a free agent and has played on Long Island over the past three seasons. Over the course, Sutton has played in 135 games for the Islanders, scoring seven goals and 23 assists. This year, Sutton totaled four goals and eight assists for 12 points in 54 games with the Islanders.

The Islanders have recalled defenseman Dustin Kohn from the team’s American Hockey league affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Rick DiPietro’s Return to Action!

Posted by on 08 Jan 2010 | Tagged as: Call Ups, Gameday, General

Rick DiPietroHey remember that guy that we would yell at for wandering out of the net, time after time after time? He wears number 39, he is quite athletic and loves to steal games for the Islanders?

We’re talkin’ bout Rick DiPietro folks, and he gets the start tonight in Dallas against the Stars.

Check out my latest post over at The Bleacher Report for more on this glorious day:

In a journey that started in a galaxy not far from our own, but in a time that seemed light years away, the Islanders franchise netminder—Rick DiPietro has finally reached the end of his road to recovery and is set as the starter tonight in Dallas.

If you have not been following along, in early December DiPietro was assigned to the Islanders AHL affiliate Bridgeport Soundtigers for a conditioning stint. DiPietro was to play in an unspecified amount of games, but would not play a complete game during his brief stay in Connecticut. Instead, DiPietro would start in one—and only play two periods, he cited “tightness” as a concern after the game and was sidelined once again.

The team erred on the side of caution and shuffled DiPietro to several Doctor’s for help. Claiming the problem was corrected, DiPietro was again cleared for practice and under cloak and dagger type secrecy, was shuttled to the Soundtigers once again for a conditioning stint. This go around in the AHL, DiPietro would play in two complete games and suffer losses in both making his conditioning record 1-2-0 with a 3.31 GAA and .883 save percentage. Read the full article HERE

Bruins at Islanders: Pregame Thoughts

Posted by on 12 Dec 2009 | Tagged as: Call Ups, Gameday, General

Just wanted to spend a few minutes ahead of tonight’s tilt with the Boston Bruins to get some thoughts down about what’s in store for the team and what has happened the last few games.

If you caught my USTREAM video thoughts, my biggest concerns for the team are Scoring, Toughness and Defense. Not that they are in any particular order, but toughness is a big issue for me.

Mark Streit For one, the one on one battles for the puck just never seem to go well for the team. It’s not that all the forwards are small-ish or cannot get the job done, it’s just that every other team seems to be larger and stronger. Chalk it up to a young team in a rebuild I guess. Fortunately for the Islanders, they have Jesse Joensuu at their beck and call down in Bridgeport. I loved what I saw out of Joensuu last season during his time with the Islanders because I felt he was a true power forward that the Islanders have sorely missed (not a knock on Okposo mind you).

When I saw Joensuu play down in Bridgeport’s win last weekend at Harbor Yard, I knew it would only be a matter of time before we saw him again. Joensuu had three points on the night (1 goal and 2 assists) and just seemed to be involved in every single play. Maybe I wasn’t the only one who noticed these positives about his game, because he was recalled earlier this week by the Islanders and will be on a line with Shremp and Comeau per reports from practice.

Last week, Chris Botta pointed out on his blog some reports about Josh Bailey and how the Islanders appeared to be “turning him into a third-liner”. For reasons that seem to be genuine, Bailey has been moved to left wing next to Thompson and Park. Scott Gordon claims this is to help Bailey round out his game and ensure he can win battles along the wall, hopefully it is something temporary and doesn’t do too much damage to the young players confidence.

The Islanders have lost the last few games, but have shown the same glimpses that the team understands what they are supposed to do to succeed. Their forecheck has been outstanding at times and teams go through fits establishing opposing pressure at times – that is until there are defensive lapses. The Islanders defensive corps are thin, and makes you really value injured players like Radek Martinek and Andy Sutton for what they add to the team. It also drives home the point that if any moves are made here after the Holiday’s – it MUST be a defenseman. Scoring will also help, but unless the Islanders are willing to sacrifice some of their youth or prospects – the return won’t be a game changer. Either way, there are glaring holes in the roster right now, especially when your last first round pick, taken first overall – has your last five goals scored.

I will be heading out to the Coliseum shortly, when I arrive and set up I will be doing a LIVE USTREAM broadcast which should be fun! Be sure to check back around game time for the links and embedded video!

Tampa Limps Into Town, Isles Recall Five

Posted by on 04 Apr 2009 | Tagged as: Call Ups, Gameday, Injuries

Well here we are, three home games and six games overall remaining in the race for Tavares last stretch of the season. Tampa, having only six points on the Islanders before last night, lost in overtime to the Devils and gained a point in the standings – giving us a seven point cushion. It is certainly imperative that we do not win tonight as the Lightning have a pretty tough schedule to finish out their season. I am sorry to say that (about gaining very few points from here on out) and I know I will continue to catch hell for it, I just feel it’s more important than a feel good win at this juncture. The other team to watch (and root for) is the Colorado Avalanche who have not won many games in the year 2009. Colorado has 64 points, they are more of a threat to the Isles than Tampa and also have a tough schedule for their remaining games – it will be a tight three-way race for the 30th overall position in the NHL this season.

The Lightning have come to town without their scoring prowess and captain in Vincent Lecavalier, the Islanders are another team with a ridiculous amount of many injuries and have recalled five from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers for tonight’s game. In the latest string of injuries, Mark Streit and Kyle Okposo each suffered groin injuries, Dean MacAmmond is out with what is described as “an illness” and Andy Hilbert suffered a rib injury against Montreal on Thursday. Taking their places – Mitch Fritz, Mike Iggulden, Jesse Joensuu and Joel Rechlicz and defenseman Jamie Fraser. Here is the official Islanders press release that came into my inbox about 40 minutes ago:

The New York Islanders have recalled forwards Mitch Fritz, Mike Iggulden, Jesse Joensuu and Joel Rechlicz and defenseman Jamie Fraser from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League on an emergency basis. All five will be in the Islanders’ lineup tonight when they take the ice against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Fraser will make his NHL debut, marking the 12th Islander to appear in his first career game this season. The 23-year-old Sarnia native has played in 63 games with Bridgeport this season, recording seven goals and 13 assists for 20 points and 28 penalty minutes. He also ranks fourth on the team with a +12 plus/minus rating. Fraser was signed by the Islanders as an undrafted free agent on December 30, 2006.

Fritz, Joensuu and Rechlicz all made their NHL debuts earlier this season. Iggulden had appeared in one game prior to 2008-09, but made his debut as an Islander on March 7th against New Jersey.

Fritz has played in 16 games with the Islanders, recording 33 penalty minutes. In 36 contests with Bridgeport, he has two assists and 58 penalty minutes. He made his NHL debut on October 30th at Philadelphia.

Iggulden has appeared in nine games with the Islanders, recording one goal and four assists for five points. He currently leads Bridgeport with 60 points (23 goals, 37 assists) in 69 contests this season.

Joensuu has played in four games with the Islanders, scoring his first NHL goal in his first game on March 2nd versus Colorado. In 68 games with Bridgeport, he has 19 goals and 17 assists for 36 points and a team-leading +21 rating.

Rechlicz made his NHL debut on March 5th versus the New York Rangers and recorded an assist for his first point. He has appeared in 12 games with the Islanders, recording 44 penalty minutes. He has also played in four games with Bridgeport recording 12 penalty minutes in addition to playing in 45 games with the Utah Grizzlies of the ECHL recording one assist and 110 penalty minutes.

Some stats per Newsday’s Greg Logan on the debute of Jamie Fraser: “After a recount and the addition of Fraser, the accurate numbers are 12 players making their NHL debuts and 16 rookies who have played [this season.]”

Twelve players making their NHL DEBUT and 16 rookies total suiting up for the Islanders? When Garth Snow proclaimed over the summer that this was the chance to see what prospects the team had in their system, I really doubt he had this in mind. Injuries aside, do you feel that this years Islanders team could have done something different if their actual team was able to grow and learn under the tutelage of Scott Gordon?

I don’t think it would have made much of a difference, it could have meant that we would have seen more veteran players shipped out in order to make room for prospects down the stretch. Sure, the team would have been able to gel a bit and learn the system and build chemistry, but I did not see them getting farther than the 8th seed and a early playoff exit. At least now that the injury situation has “happened”, the team will bear the fruits of an extremely deep and important draft – perhaps one of the most important in franchise history.

This is a saga that will be extremely interesting to see how it plays out and tonight’s episode is certainly a key juncture in what happens at the upcoming draft lottery.

Live Tracker

Here is the live tracker for tonight’s game, I will be bouncing around the Coliseum as always. Be sure to follow me on Twitter for updates or the occasional photo.

Islanders Recall Four Against Rangers

Posted by on 05 Mar 2009 | Tagged as: Call Ups, Gameday, Injuries, Roster Moves, Sound Tigers

Out with the old – in with the, well – Sound Tigers?

Having traded veteran Bill Guerin yesterday during the trade deadline, coupled with the fact that Brendan Witt is still serving his suspension, Nate Thompson not ready, Trent Hunter not ready and Thomas Pock also not ready – the Islanders have recalled four players from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Forward Jesse Joensuu who scored in his first NHL game on Monday gets another go, while forward Joel Rechlicz gets his first call up of the season. Defensemen Joe Callahan who has been impressive while up with the big club and Andrew MacDonald another impressive young d-man also get the call. So while the Islanders did not make too many trades yesterday – it sure might feel that way with so many new faces in the locker room tonight.

Here is the official press release:

The New York Islanders have recalled forwards Jesse Joensuu and Joel Rechlicz and defensemen Joe Callahan and Andrew MacDonald from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League on an emergency basis.

Joensuu (YOH-ehn-soo) made his NHL debut on Monday night against Colorado and scored his first career NHL goal on his first shot. In 56 games with Bridgeport this season, he has recorded 17 goals and 14 assists to rank fifth on the team with 31 points. Joensuu was drafted by the Islanders in the second round (60th overall) of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.

Rechlicz (REHK-lihj) has split time between Bridgeport (AHL) and Utah (ECHL) this season. He has seven penalty minutes in three games with Bridgeport and one assist to go along with 110 penalty minutes in 45 games with Utah. Rechlicz was signed by the Islanders as a free agent on May 6, 2008.

Callahan has one assist and a +2 rating in 13 games with the Islanders this season. In 42 games with Bridgeport, he has scored three goals and added six assists for nine points. Callahan was signed by the Islanders as a free agent on July 8, 2008.

MacDonald made his NHL debut on February 28th against Buffalo and has a +2 rating in two games. In 52 games with Bridgeport this season, he has six goals and 13 assists to lead all Sound Tigers’ defensemen with 19 points. He also represented the Sound Tigers in the AHL All-Star game as a member of Team Canada this season. MacDonald was drafted by the Islanders in the sixth round (160th overall) of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.

Islanders in Tampa, Deal With Pirates and Canons

Posted by on 07 Feb 2009 | Tagged as: Call Ups, Gameday, General, Injuries, Post Game

Captain Jack SparrowNo, that is not a misprint. It seems that the Islanders have encountered one of the best festivals in sunny Tampa this weekend. It’s called the Gasparilla festival and it involves pirates, pirate ships, pirate wenches, beer, liquor and all things associated with such. Think of it of a Las Vegas or New Orleans environment – but on the water in a beach town setting.

If you think it is all fun and games, clear it is not if you are a visiting NHL club looking for some rest before a game. If you happened to catch Corey Witt’s blog from earlier today – the team was woken up by canons firing and boat horns blaring. He also talks about an elevator ride with a pirate and two of his lasses. Hopefully they boys do not drink before a game, it’s bad enough they get injured without being hung over or intoxicated. Unlike our Islanders team and media guys – I got to sleep in and only woke up because I was hot, being it’s about 50 degrees here today and my heat was set a bit too high.

Moving on to the hockey side of this post – a quick recap of the past few games.

Islanders vs Lighting: Win at Home 3-1

The last time that Tampa and the Islanders played was on Tuesday – think of tonight’s game as a delayed home and home. The Islanders did well against the Bolts, scoring three goals in just over three minutes and chasing rookie netminder Kari Ramo. We would see goals by Mark Streit, Trent Hunter and a player who had not scored in over two seasons – Radek Martinek. Martinek’s goal was just as strange feeling as when Brendan Witt scores his annual goal – a feat he has yet to accomplish this season, but has come awfully close. For the third straight game, Yann Danis would carry a shutout into the third period only to lose it late in the game, it’s not really the biggest deal because he has been playing very well – but it would be nice to see him get the no-no. The Islanders would win the game 3-1, but would lose their go-to defenseman in Mark Streit – whom at that point was one of only three Islanders to play in every game the entire season. Streit injured his shoulder during the second period in a collision and Tomas Pock was lost for four weeks after injuring his hand. While Okposo did not score and we saw his goal streak snapped, he did pick up and assist and extended his point streak to five games (5g, 1a). The kids continue to shine.

I wanted to give this next bit a paragraph all to itself because I felt it was really important. In the first period Tim Jackman went hard to the net and collided with Ramo whom fell over as if he was shot. Of all people to stand up and challenge Jackman – Vincent Lecavalier tried to fire his team up by dropping the gloves. The fight wasn’t really much to speak about, but it left me feeling conflicted – apparently Jacko as well. I didn’t get the chance to speak to him after the game, but it was clear he showed respect (and restraint) by not really pummeling him as he is capable of. It’s one thing when it’s two enforcers duking it out, it become something else entirely when it’s you are fighting one of the leagues superstars. Do you really risk injuring the player or do you just wrestle and throw a few punches as they wound up doing.

You can see the fight as always on Hockey Fights, but here is the youtube clip:

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Islanders vs Panthers: Loss on Road 3-2

The trip out to the sunshine state usually involves the fathers making the trip with their sons, this year is no different it’s just unfortunate that they opened their little road trip on a loss. The Islanders would elect to start Joey MacDonald whom returned from a groin injury suffered on January 13th and also feature two call up defenseman in Jack Hillen and Joe Callahan. They would look to extend their win streak to a season high five games and a point streak to six games.

The Panthers are another team that the Islanders have faced recently, the Cats were in town on 1/31 and the Islanders walked all over them in a 3-1 win. The game on Thursday started a little later than we are used to, even though it was only a half hour later – I still didn’t manage to stay up for the entire contest. From what I did see, I saw the Islanders struggle against a team that looks much better when David Booth is in the lineup. I am sure Nate Thompson feels the same way – Thompson took a big open ice hit from Booth and immediately left the ice in pain. We would later find out that he injured his shoulder and would miss some time. The Panthers took an early lead, going up two goals before the end of the first period on goals by their defensemen – Jay Bouwmeester and Karlis Skrastins (Scratch and Sniff).

The Islanders would get on the board in the second period on a power play goal by Josh Bailey. Bailey had gone 11 games without a goal, but would get his second of the season on a nice feed from Nielsen and fire it past Florida goaltender Tomas Vokoun low glove side. The one goal deficit would be short lived however, as ex-Isle Richard Zednik would beat Martinek along the boards and dance to the middle of the ice and OVER a sprawled out Brendan Witt, while mid air he was able to deposit the puck through MacDonald’s pads to give the Cats their second two goal lead of the game. The goal was highlight worthy, and those plays are kind of hard to be mad at – see for yourself:

YouTube Preview Image

Armed with another power play, the Islanders would strike again – this time Trent Hunter would find himself all alone in front of Vokoun and again make it a one goal game. On the face off that lead to the goal, Josh Bailey would lose the draw but out of desperation dive forward and chip the puck out to Hunter who would deposit it backhand past Vokoun. Hunters goal gives him points in four straight games (3g, 1a) and also Bailey his second point of the night. It was Bailey’s third time this season with a two-point game and he now has 2 goals and 13 assists for 15 points in 37 games.

I missed a majority of the third period because I fell asleep, but I saw the Islanders make a last ditch effort to get the equalizer with MacDonald pulled. It was exciting to wake up and see some good hockey – but they were unable to score. It snapped their win streak – but I was ok with the effort I saw after the first period and happy with the play of the young players again.

Tonight’s Tampa Re-Match

Tonight should prove to be a fun contest to watch as you know the Lightning will come out with intensity looking for revenge against the Isles for their performance last week. The Bolts are not too far removed from the tight Eastern Conference playoff picture should they string together a group of wins – they need tonight’s two points a lot more then the Islanders do.

Greg Logan
reports in his blog today that Sean Bergenheim will replace the injured Nate Thompson – which sort of confuses me a bit. It was said in all the games that Bergy was scratched he was out with an injured “side” – to me it just seems per Logan’s blog that he was more of a healthy scratch. Whatever the case, Bergenheim, does possess more of a scoring touch than Thompson but is not a centerman – so there will need to be some line juggling. MacDonald didn’t play too bad on Thursday – but coming off an injury will the team decide to give him a rest and go with Danis tonight?

I am still really conflicted with this team – which sounds confusing. As a fan, I have accepted the fact that this team really won’t amount to anything come playoff time – I know they won’t even be close. They also had a horrible stretch of hockey that only saw them win maybe two or three games through December and much of January. It was nice to see a nice little stretch of wins – especially at home because it gives us a look at the kids progressing nicely and how they will help in the future. This is where I get conflicted, I want them to finish dead last in the league with the fewest points as I want them to have the best shot at either Tavares or Hedman. If this team finishes with the fewest amount of points, the lowest we can pick is number two – because we cannot move down any more than one position should we wind up not picking first due to the lottery. There will still be great players available in the top six picks, but this team needs someone who will sell tickets and give hope to a fan base dealing with politicians who are balking and stalling on a decision regarding a new arena and rumors that the team will be sold and/or moved.

It’s a rough time to be a fan of the Islanders for sure, but it’s sadly an exciting time in a way.

Injuries Continue as Panthers Prowl

Posted by on 31 Dec 2008 | Tagged as: Call Ups, Gameday, Injuries, News

Thank goodness it’s the very last day of 2008 – it’s not been all bad mind you, I just want to move past all these injuries.

In what is now a daily trend, the Islanders have announced several injuries and players recalled from Bridgeport to serve as replacement for said players. Here is what we know, thanks to Islanders Point Blank:

Rick DiPietroTrevor Smith has been recalled to replace Mike Sillinger who finds himself back in a familiar place – Injured Reserve with a hip injury. No word if this is an injury to his surgically repaired hip or to his “good hip”. It’s a shame too, because he has been pretty good for the Islanders in between missing time with that groin strain and all.

Trent Hunter is reportedly sore, nothing major after that scary hit at the Garden on Monday. If Hunts cannot go – Botta says to expect Sim to take his place.

Sean Bergenheim will likely dress for Mitch Fritz, Bergy is the better choice providing he can find a way to remain out of the sin bin.

The question at this point is why is Yann Danis recalled once again so soon after he was sent back down? Will he serve as backup for a returning DiPietro or will he backup MacDonald. The tricky part about this situation is how Joey Mac took a shot up high off the neck during yesterday’s practice. This is something to watch for sure. The last time I checked everyone thought that DiPietro would be today’s starting goalie – who knows at this point. I know I don’t profess to know or understand anything anymore.

No live blog again today, my apologies – if the mood strikes me I may do something from my phone while in my seats. Follow along with the live tracker at the bottom of the post for all those stuck at work!

Enjoy the game!

Vote for Islesblogger!

Today is the very last day to vote in the Yes Islanders 2008 Best Blog awards!

I know I did not really push this too much, I honestly don’t expect to win – but Yes Islanders is a great community and deserves an extra plug here and there. Head on over there (click the banner below) and sign up to vote – it’s free and easy!

Live Tracker

Injury Updates, Ben Walter Recalled

Posted by on 16 Dec 2008 | Tagged as: Call Ups, Gameday, Injuries, News

Well, in what is becoming a regular update, we have lots of new injuries and injury updates to talk about.

New Injuries

Josh Bailey is day to day with an ankle sprain. Hopefully it’s not of the dreaded “high ankle” variety that keeps players out long stretches. Last I checked the team did not know if he would play tonight. UPDATE Chris Botta reports from the morning skate that Josh Bailey is all systems go for tonight! This up and down stuff is crazy!

Nate Thompson (or should we call him “yo-yo”) is down again, this time with a fractured ankle that will keep him sidelined 3-4 weeks.

Injury Updates

Rick DiPietro is skating in full equipment, practicing with the team and is said to be going on the mini road trip this weekend. He should get some game time in the coming week.

Mike Comrie is coming along, it is said he should be back in about a week.

Kyle Okposo is doing well, no timetable just yet, although he is very close.

Mike Sillinger is still suffering from discomfort in his groin and is currently day to day.

Greg Logan has broken some callup news:

Center Ben Walter has been called up from Bridgeport by the Islanders to replace Nate Thompson in the lineup against Washington tonight at the Coliseum. Thompson reportedly is out 2-4 weeks with a fractured ankle suffered Saturday at Columbus.

In 16 games with the Sound Tigers, Walter has five goals and nine assists for 14 points. He’s likely slated for fourth-line duty but has played for coach Scott Gordon in the past and understands the system.

And yet another twist, Mike Fornabaio claims that Jeremy Colliton was recalled as well:

Ben Walter and Jeremy Colliton were missing for the good reason, called up; word is, though, that at least one of the two is himself sick. Now, does somebody else go, too? Good question. You are informed as I am informed.

Comeau Up, Tamby Down, Thompson Tonight!

Posted by on 06 Dec 2008 | Tagged as: Call Ups, Gameday, News

Jeff TambelliniJust got back from the morning skate at the Coliseum, Tom Liodice and I filmed an interview with Josh Bailey for Islanders TV which should be up soon. That WAS the news of the day – but I have some breaking news type stuff.

Blake Comeau has been recalled from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and Jeff Tambellini has been sent down. This is all per Mike Fornabaio of course!

Details behind Tambellini being sent down aren’t there just yet, but we have to assume it is the rumored conditioning stint that enables the club to make this move (Tambo is on a one way contract and would be subject to waivers). Blake Comeau has been on fire the past several games and is currently at a point a game (4-15-19 points in 19 games) so it’s great to see him get his “second” shot with the Islanders.

The other story today is that Nate Thompson was out on the ice and will be playing tonight against the Atlanta Thrashers. Between Thompson and Jackman, this is the element of toughness the Islanders need as they are both pests who can put the puck in the net. As always, Jon Sim will add his antagonistic element to the mix, as well as Bergenheim.

One more bit of information, Mike Comrie was skating with the team today – he looked like he was laboring a bit out there – so he is getting closer but in no way ready to return just yet. Other sightings (in street clothes) Bruno Gervais and Frans Nielsen – each of those players look “ok”.

Updated!!!

The Islanders just announced the Tambellini-Comeau swap:

The New York Islanders have announced that left wing Jeff Tambellini has agreed to a conditioning assignment with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League and right wing Blake Comeau has been recalled from Bridgeport. Comeau will be in the Islanders’ lineup tonight when they host the Atlanta Thrashers at the Nassau Coliseum.

In 23 games with the Islanders this season, Tambellini has recorded two assists for two points. In 102 career NHL games, he has scored four goals with 15 assists for 19 points. Tambellini was acquired on March 8, 2006 from the Los Angeles Kings in a trade.

Comeau has played in 19 games for Bridgeport this season and has scored four goals with 15 assists for 19 points. This will be his third season appearing in games with the Islanders. In 54 career NHL games, all with the Islanders, Comeau has scored eight goals with seven assists for 15 points. Comeau was drafted by the Islanders in the second round (47th overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

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