Archived Posts from this Category
Archived Posts from this Category
Once again, the Islanders showed that they should be a pretty good team next season in a spirited 6-2 win over their rival New York Rangers last night at Nassau Coliseum.
Despite mounting injuries and a defensive group made up of mostly Bridgeport Sound Tigers – the Islanders defense held the Rangers at one goal for the better part of two and a half periods. What’s more, missing two important penalty killers (Grabner out his second game due to the birth of his first child and Nielsen suffering a head injury in the second period) – the Islanders PK was outstanding. I’m sure Rangers head coach John Tortorella will have PLENTY of tape to go over, having gone 0/7 with the man advantage, including TWO five on three opportunities.
I mentioned that the Islanders were sporting some defensive injuries, but they also suffered TWO more last night – Ty Wishart suffered a shoulder injury and Jack Hillen suffered an upper body injury as well. It got so bad, the Islanders were forced to play Okposo on defense for a shift.
Let’s take a look at just how spectacular the Islanders defense was last night:
One of the rare veterans in the lineup last night, Radek Martinek had a great game. He was credited with three hits, three take aways, had a goal, an assist and finished with a +1 with 22:49 minutes of ice time. When Martinek uses his shot from the point, great things happen. His goal, a blast from the blueline off a slick Parenteau pass, beat Lundqvist over his glove. He would add an assist, with a similar play, this time deflected by Joensuu in front.
I asked Martinek after the game if the coaching staff wants him to use that great shot of his more – he told me they [the coaches] have wanted him to shoot more all season, he knows he has a good shot and good things happen when he does – he just doesn’t often think shot first.
I wasn’t the only one to notice what happens when Martinek uses that shot – Head Coach Jack Capuano talked about it during his press conference when he said “When Marty uses his shot like tonight, he gives us a chance to win hockey games”.
Young Travis Hamonic continues his strong play and what has become a Cinderella season for him – never expecting to remain with the Islanders for the full season. Last night Hamonic had a team high 24:52 minutes of ice time, tallied an assist on the game tying goal, three hits, two blocked shots and get this – a +4 on the night.
Jack Hillen is another player that has come back from a rough start – he was good offensively last night, jumping in the rush and making smart passes, stood up for his team in his fight with Dubinsky, earned an assist with his cross ice feed to Martinek’s tipped shot by Joensuu, had 22:13 minutes of ice time (that was limited by his late injury), and finished with a +2 on the night. Hillen also lead the team in hits last night with four.
Quietly however, Dylan Reese made the most of his 16:33 minutes of play, unless you count his fight with Fedotenko late in the game of course. Reese would finish the game with THREE assists, and a +3 rating. He’s one of those steady players that you often don’t really notice on the back end, which is never a bad thing.
Mark Katic finished the night -1 and with 19 minutes of ice time, and Ty Wishart was playing well – until a shoulder injury would finish him for the night, having only played 12 minutes.
The forwards were equally impressive, Tavares had two assists and was +4, Comeau finished with a goal and was +3, Joensuu FINALLY used his size in front of the net on his deflection and was +1 with 11:37 minutes of ice time, Moulson had a goal (his 31st) and an assist and would finish +3, Parenteau would also notch a goal (his 19th) and assist (has now reached 50 points) and would wind up +4 on the night. The most surprising goal of the night? Trevor Gillies netting his second of the season and second career goal on a nice deflection of a Reese point shot.
Al Montoya played another solid game, making 25 saves on 27 shots. He was great positionally, gave the Rangers very little to shoot at and controlled his rebounds well. Considering the defense that was in front of him, the Islanders really supported Montoya last night – and gave him his first win over the club that drafted him.
The fight card was chock-full of action last night:
Hillen fought Dubinsky
Avery got clobbered and bloodied by Haley
Prust fought an injured Konopka
Fedotenko fought Reese
But that wasn’t all, there were plenty of hits, pushing, shoving and just outright old school hockey throughout the game. It’s great to see this team stand up for each other, especially when Nielsen was hit from behind by Gaborik in the second period.
In a game with nothing to lose, the Islanders played great and really took it to their rival. They also made it that much harder for the Rangers, who are barely staying in the playoff picture.
They can do even more damage against the Hurricanes this weekend – should be interesting.
In closing, I doubt the league will – but I hope they look into the hit on Nielsen. But we know how that goes.
Just in case those in Islanders country expected otherwise, or just haven’t noticed that Trent Hunter has been missing a while – the Islanders confirmed today that Hunter will sit out the remainder of the season with a torn MCL.
Katie Strang had the scoop today (subscription required) – saying Hunter would undergo surgery at some point this afternoon.
Hunter apparently tried to rehab the knee and push the surgery for the offseason but couldn’t, as his knee only got worse.
The 30-year old Islanders forward, played in only 17 games this season – scoring a goal and three assists.
Earlier this season I had posted an entry on the Islanders man games lost to injury. That number (back in December) was 162. Since then, the number has DOUBLED and is now sitting at 336.
As I was writing this, the Islanders apparently had EVEN MORE bad luck – Kevin Poulin was helped off the ice after what appeared to be an injury to his knee during warmups. Mikko Koskinen will likely get his get his first NHL start unless Poulin is no worse the wear – we shall see.
The puck is set to drop against Toronto shortly.
News hit the wires a little while ago that Islanders Goaltender Rick DiPietro will be out 4-6 weeks with facial fractures suffered in his fight with the Penguins Goaltender Brent Johnson.
When DiPietro decided to fight the other night, I knew the moment he took the one lone punch that something was wrong. The whole situation played out eerily similar to how Bruno Gervais fight went earlier in the season.
To make matters worse, DiPietro’s knee is ALSO swollen.
I shake my head at this situation because it was just totally unnecessary and has completely handicapped the team (which, well I won’t go there).
Lawson is out with a knee injury.
Nabokov is playing with the bubbles in his bath.
Well we have that veteran guy, Roloson. Nope, that’s right he’s in Tampa.
Koskinen is down in Bridgeport – but chances are he won’t see the NHL this season. We cannot rush BOTH of our goaltender prospects.
Garth Snow is going to get awfully creative here in the next day or so.
I’ll post some more in a while – this is all iPhone typing here.
Never a dull moment around here, is there?
Update: Apparently the Islanders have signed CHL netminder Joel Martin to a two way NHL contract. Could potentially serve as backup to Kevin Poulin.
Step right up folks, men, women and children of all ages – give the wheel a spin. Everyone is a winner!
Round and round she goes, where it stops nobody knows – injuries for everyone!
Ok, ok – before we begin, I have many questions. Does losing and injury go hand in hand? Do injuries happen more to teams in that downward and never ending spiral towards the league basement? Do the Islanders require some sort of spiritual intervention to help rid them of the dark and evil forces that have taken over their teams health?!?
I admit, I may have gone a tad far with the last question – but inquiring minds want to know.
We are two years removed from a season that saw the Islanders lose a league record man games lost to injury (and one that earned us the right to draft Tavares first overall) – and it appears they are looking to shatter that poor statistic this season before we even hit the midway mark. Just a little while ago, Newsday’s Katie Strang tweeted that defenseman Mike Mottau who nearly lost an eye in Atlanta last month (and was just recently cleared to play) will miss the remainder of the season with a hip injury that requires surgery. She claims that the injury was lingering and actually happened prior to the eye injury.
If that’s not enough, the oft-injured Rick DiPietro has been placed on injured reserve with swelling on his right knee. The jury is still out on this curious move, as the swelling has been called minor and his being held out as “precautionary”. One always fears it could be more than meets the eye, but it could also be simply for book keeping purposes.
Let’s recap shall we?
Player – Games Missed
Mark Streit – 30
Kyle Okposo – 30
Milan Jurcina – 18
Andrew MacDonald – 15
Doug Weight – 12
Trent Hunter – 11
Rob Schremp – 11
Mike Mottau – 10
Jack Hillen – 7
Bruno Gervais – 4
Mark Eaton – 3
Michael Grabner – 3
John Tavares – 3
Radek Martinek – 2
Josh Bailey – 2
Rick DiPietro – 1
Total: 162 games lost to injury
The longer players such as Okposo, Streit, Mottau, Weight and now DiPietro stay out – the more this total increases by FIVE every single game the Islanders play. The totals do not include games scratched – for those wondering as it’s not a game lost to injury.
But you know, the games lost to injury have NOTHING to do with a long losing streak or a lack of scoring, right? It may not be the SOLE cause – but it’s a large one.
Well, when it rains it really pours – or so they say anyway.
The Islanders announced some more unsettling news today regarding Kyle Okposo, and it’s not good. It seems Okposo will miss an unknown amount of time with a shoulder injury that requires surgery and will be out indefinitely. You can read some more on Katie Strang’s Blog.
This is now two impact players down and out with major shoulder injuries in the span of four days. Okposo had been injured last week during training camp and has been held out as a precaution. He was re-evaluated today and the findings were apparently not very good. Hopefully the rash of shoulder injuries ends here. I had shoulder surgery on my right shoulder and may actually need the same surgery on my left because of hockey, so I know it’s no fun trying to function, let alone play hockey with a bum wing.
Hopefully Kyle will be back as quick as possible, but in any event – this opens up a forward spot for someone looking to make an impact out of training camp.
In other news today, the Islanders have signed defenseman Mike Mottau to a two year contract.
Per the Islanders Website:
The New York Islanders announced today that they have agreed to terms on a two year contract with defenseman Mike Mottau.
Mottau, 32, spent the last three seasons with the New Jersey Devils. Last season, the Quincy, MA, native scored a career high 18 points (two goals, 16 assists) and a +4 plus-minus rating in 79 games with New Jersey.
“Mike is a solid puck-moving defenseman who will bring more experience to our blueline,” said General Manager Garth Snow.
Mottau, a 6-0, 197 lbs. left-handed shooting defenseman, was drafted by the New York Rangers in the seventh round, 182nd overall, of the 1997 NHL Entry Draft. After a four-year collegiate career at Boston College, he turned professional in the 2000-01 season, playing in his first 18 NHL games with the Rangers. In 258 career NHL games with the Rangers, Calgary Flames and Devils, Mottau has seven goals and 46 assists for 53 points with a +10 plus-minus rating and 137 penalty minutes. Mottau has also skated in 17 Stanley Cup Playoff games, all with New Jersey, in which he’s recorded four points (two goals, two assists).
Islanders fans may remember Mottau, not just as a New Jersey Devil defenseman – but also as the d-man suspended two seasons ago for a vicious elbow on Frans Nilesen that made Nielsen miss significant time with a knee injury. Let;s hope those two put that behind them….
Obviously the addition of Mottau is a stop gap measure for the loss of Mark Streit – I wonder how Mottau and Wisniewski would look together on the blueline.
This is a tough, tough loss for the Islanders – who were going to be riding a solid defensive pairing on the power play in Streit and newly acquired James Wisniewski.
According to Newsday’s Strang, the Islanders will be looking to bring in someone on a tryout basis the remainder of camp – but I wouldn’t be surprised to see some sort of roster move here to bring in extra help on the back end.
It never works out for Islanders winger Jeff Tambellini. It just doesn’t.
Having missed large stretches of this season as the odd man out, Tambellini knows all to well what it feels like to be in the press box eating popcorn and watching his teammates high above the Coliseum ice. With a rash of injuries the last week and a half, Tambellini found himself called upon once again for spot duty last night as the Islanders took on the New Jersey Devils in a 4-2 victory. But, the road stopped there for Tambellini, as he will be scratched again tonight this time with a groin injury suffered in last nights game.
On emergency recall tonight, another one of Bridgeport’s muscle men in Matt Martin. Martin has two assists in the four games he has played so far this season for the Islanders. He brings a physical game that the Islanders really lack and has shown he has the smarts and hands to be effective around the net as well.
His arrival is just in time for our foes to the north in the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Just posted a little something over at the Bleacher Report about Rick DiPietro’s return to the AHL tonight as the Bridgeport Sound Tigers take on the Springfield Falcons. I will be at the game tonight, trying to live blog and tweet DP’s progress during the game, so be sure to check it out.
Here is the post over at the Bleacher Report:
Cue the pomp and circumstance folks, there is an All-Star goaltender making his triumphant return to hockey and it starts tonight for Rick DiPietro.
DiPietro has missed all but five games in the 2008-2009 season and all of the current season due to numerous hip and knee injuries. His landmark contract aside, many feel DiPietro was rushed back into playing too quickly after a series of unrelated injuries and was unsurprisingly re-injured. Islanders management has really stepped up the protection of their franchise goaltender and given him ample time to heal and get the rehabilitation he needs to stay healthy. Tonight’s game for DiPietro will not be in Tampa Bay against the Lightning, where the Islanders are set to play—instead it will be in Bridgeport, Connecticut for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League as they face the Springfield Falcons.
DiPietro’s last appearance for Bridgeport came under similar conditions on a conditioning stint in 2003-2004 where he played two games and suffered two losses.
For those worried that throwing him into a game situation after missing 11 months of hockey is too much too soon, rest assured—he will play at most a half of game tonight and depending on how he has responded to practices and the game, will likely play out several road games for the Sound Tigers.
Sound Tigers beat writer Michael Fornabaio also reports that DiPietro will not wear the number 39 as he has for his NHL career, instead will wear the number 29 as he did throughout his playing time on the Sound Tigers.
Rick DiPietro’s eventual return to the New York Islanders also gives them some trade options, Martin Biron has not play exceptionally well this season, but is on a one year contract and 40 year old Dwayne Roloson has been rock solid for the Islanders and is in the first year of a two year contract. With DiPietro’s tainted injury history, it may prove to be a tough decision for Islanders GM Garth Snow. It’s certainly a good position to be in though, having three NHL goaltenders who are all capable of stealing games.
I will be up in Bridgeport tonight to watch Rick DiPietro’s return to hockey, so I should have some great follow up material tomorrow.
It’s going to be an exciting night, for sure!
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.
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.
Just got word on Trent Hunter and it’s not good. Seems his ankle injury in the first is a fracture and he will miss the remainder of the season. The injury bug is still alive and well.
Hopefully, Joensuu gets an extended look, he is THAT good.
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.
Relax folks, there is no Huntergate – just received word that Islanders forward Trent Hunter is out with a lower leg injury.
You would be amazed at how many people stop by the Blog Box asking for information.