Off Season

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Another Day, Another 3rd Jersey Leak

Posted by on 22 Aug 2011 | Tagged as: General, Hot Headlines, Off Season

Things have been downright slow in Islanders Country, so slow – that news of Ice Girl Tryouts and apparently something else that may, or may not, be edible with an Isles logo will be coming soon seem exciting to the hockey famished freaks, like myself.

Then as always there is the latest and greatest fad for those who follow other teams not named the New York Islanders, mock and bash them for every step they make (or even don’t lately).

Cue the chorus, we have Jersey Gate.

If you’ve been following lately, you’ve seen some leaks posted out on the interwebz claiming what could be the Islanders third jersey for the upcoming season. It’s hard to explain, well no – it’s not. It’s a jersey sans the awesome crest on the chest that we have all come to know and love, it features colors that were a fixture way back when Starter was the NHL’s uniform designer – yeah, we’re talking black folks.

It’s easier to just show you a picture, courtesy of my friend Greg over at Puck Daddy that ran last week – this was round one of Jersey Gate:

Jersey Leak #1

I don’t really have an opinion on the jersey, well strike-that – I likely wouldn’t buy one, I absolutely love the old-school retro nod to the glory days the team is currently wearing. I’ll certainly be purchasing one of those this year, you know – with the 40th Anniversary Patch.

The team did issue a statement last week however, in reference to this leaked design, via their Twitter Feed:

[blackbirdpie url="http://twitter.com/#!/NYIslanders/status/99212184365699072"]

Fast forward to the second alleged leak of a similar jersey design over on Icethetics and we have this image:

Leak #2 via Icethetics

We already knew how I stood on the first design, the second is pretty much the same.

The only thing I can remind everyone about, NOTHING is set in stone until the Islanders themselves release word and/or photos of their third jersey. I’ll also remind everyone that their last third jersey was a variant of what they wear currently.

The Islanders have asked their fans what they wanted in a third jersey – I doubt they’d ignore that given how active they are in the Social Media department.

Have a little faith fans, until then – I point back to their short statement via Twitter earlier in this post.

It’s NHL Entry Draft Time!

Posted by on 23 Jun 2011 | Tagged as: Draft, General, News, Off Season

As the clock ticks down to the start of tomorrow evenings First Round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, I thought it would be best to post up a little update.

For the last three years, I’ve had the absolute pleasure of covering the draft LIVE from the event. Unfortunately, due to reasons beyond my control – I could not attend this years draft in Minnesota.

My lead up to the draft, coverage of prospects as well as draft rumors – missing in action, and I apologize. This is the busiest summer I have had work wise, and my blog has suffered (as it has been) as a result.

Fret not Islanders Country, for I will be live blogging and tweeting from tomorrow nights Draft Party at Nassau Coliseum.

Don’t forget that there is an Isles Draft Party Meetup before the event at Doolins, and I’ve been asked to help out at the Islanders Social Media table. Stop by and say hello to your fellow Fans and Tweeps alike.

Will Garth Snow trade his fifth overall selection? Will he package his later round picks to move up in the the later part of the first round? Will we see other transactions?

One never knows, that’s the beauty of Draft Day and what makes it so exciting!

Later on this evening I’ll be taking a look at who should be available to the Isles at the fifth pick, and continue my tradition of “Islesbloggers Draft Wish” that I have done the last several years.

Stay tuned!

Okposo Signed to Five Year Deal

Posted by on 25 May 2011 | Tagged as: General, Hot Headlines, Off Season, Signings

There is nothing like fantastic news after the first blazing hot day of the summer.

It’s been a slow few weeks in Islanders country, although – not in terms of talks with Nassau County on that whole new Arena business. The Islanders however, have announced today that they have agreed to terms with Kyle Okposo on a five-year contract.

Per the Islanders press release:

The New York Islanders announced today that forward Kyle Okposo has agreed to terms on a five-year contract.

“I’m very excited to commit to the Islanders for the next five years, especially with the news of the new Coliseum,” Okposo said. “This team really showed its potential in the second half of the season last year and I’m excited to be a part of getting the franchise back to the playoffs.”

Okposo, 23, scored five goals with 15 assists in 38 games for the Islanders last season. The St. Paul, MN, native missed the first 44 games of 2010-11 due to a shoulder injury, which he suffered during training camp.
“Kyle has been a critical part of our young core over the past few seasons,” said Islanders General Manager Garth Snow. “He is a high character guy that brings size and a scoring touch to our lineup.”

The Islanders selected Okposo in the first round, seventh overall, of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. He has served as an assistant captain since 2009-10. In 192 career NHL games, all with the Islanders, Okposo has scored 116 points (44 goals, 72 assists).

The 6’0”, 210-pound forward has also played in 35 American Hockey League games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, and he’s represented the United States at two World Championships and two World Junior Championships.

Before beginning his professional career, Okposo spent one season in the United States Hockey League with the Des Moines Buccaneers, followed by two collegiate years at the University of Minnesota.

Now that Okposo is in the fold for the next while, Garth can look to some of the other players who are also restricted free agents and deserve some longevity as well.

Kyle didn’t really show us what he could do to the fullest potential this past season – due to his shoulder injury in camp and I was personally disappointed. He is one of those players who may not always wind up on the score sheet, but is ALWAYS in position defensively and makes those important offensive plays as well. He’s not afraid to hit and has shown he has that razzle dazzle with the puck on his stick.

The Islanders certainly solidified themselves for the long term with this contract, as they did with Michael Grabner’s contract a few weeks back.

Kerry Fraser Recalls An “Off” Day and Al Arbour

Posted by on 07 May 2011 | Tagged as: General, Off Season

It was 1983, the Islanders were on their way to their fourth consecutive Stanley Cup and the then young official Kerry Fraser called what he even admits was a bad game. He recalls the feeling like a young school boy being scolded by Arbour, and gives a fantastic insiders look into what goes on within the officiating community – especially during Playoff time. Fraser’s remarks came from a TSN column on make up calls.

Here are a few tidbits:

In 1983, I worked a game in Chicago Stadium between the New York Islanders dynasty team coached by the legendary, Al Arbour. Discipline was the trademark of those Arbour-coached teams. Al seldom raised his voice. When he did, I knew I screwed up. Ten minutes into this game, I had given the normally disciplined Islanders four penalties. It wasn’t that they were playing poorly; it was just that I was that awful.

The fourth penalty put the Islanders two men short and Al stood in the open door of his players’ bench with his hand on his hips while I waited in the end zone for him to place three players on the ice. His icy glare drew a bead on me as he waived his arm at me and yelled, “Kerry, get over here!”

I had such respect for Al, I skated over upon his command and stood before him like a school kid in front of the principal. Al said, “Kerry, what the hell are you doing out here tonight?” With my eyes focused on my skates beneath me I replied, “I don’t know Al. I’m really struggling and don’t know what’s wrong with me.”

Finally, I raised my eyes to see this coaching icon scratching his head and staring back at me. He pressed his lips together and said, “Well get the hell out there and try harder.” Like a little kid that was scolded by his father I responded, “Okay, Al, I’ll do my best.”

There is certainly a lot more to read and it’s a great to see that Fraser continues to contribute to hockey even in his retirement. As much as he has taken his digs from fans with all those now famous chants, he was always one of the referees I would hope to catch a glimpse of – there was always something about the way he skated and officiated.

Then there was the fact that he was one of the last officials to forgo wearing a helmet, oh and how could I forget – the hair.

In an off season that has seen some crazy stuff during the playoffs – at least there was some talk of the Islanders, and it wasn’t even draft related!

Jack Capuano: Interim No More

Posted by on 12 Apr 2011 | Tagged as: News, Off Season

Word out of Islanders Country this morning officially puts to rest the rumors surrounding coach Jack Capuano – he has now been named Head Coach of the New York Islanders.

Terms and dollars, as per team policy were not announced.

I’ll have some more in a bit after the conference call!

Good for Jack on this, I’m very happy with this move and I’m anticipating some good stuff down the line!

It also appears that assistants Dean Chynoweth and Scott Allen will remain in their positions as well.

Post Scrimmage Notes and Quotes

Posted by on 25 Sep 2010 | Tagged as: Off Season, Post Game, Preseason, Prospects

So, I’m not sure if you know this – but hockey was back today at Nassau Coliseum.

It wasn’t quite what the Orange vs Blue scrimmage was earlier this summer – I think the Islanders learned what worked and what didn’t since then, like having the players wear their full jerseys, WITH numbers (a godsend for us media types located high above the ice….).

In all seriousness though, I felt they did a great job putting the scrimmage together. This time around, it wasn’t just prospects and camp invitees dazzling the crowd of 1500 with nifty passes and toe drags, instead it featured many of the players we will see on a daily basis during the upcoming season, which was a nice taste for a September afternoon. Those missing were those a bit banged up, Captain Doug Weight (shoulder), Kyle Okposo (shoulder), Rob Figren (foot), and Franz Nielsen was also absent and seen walking around the halls during the post game scrums.

The energy was high this afternoon and it was evident from the opening faceoff that the players missed catering to their fans and playing the sport they love.

From the puck drop on, I noted to those around me how strange it was heading Rick DiPietro quaterbacking the players from the goal mouth – I couldn’t honestly remember the last time he was in as good of a mood or as vocal. Not even when I went up to Bridgeport to see DP in his return to action was he as comfortable or vocal (and we know why now…). Continue Reading »

David Toews Leaves NCAA for WHL

Posted by on 20 Aug 2010 | Tagged as: Ex-Isles, General, Off Season, Prospects, Signings

Islanders prospect David Toews, the younger brother of Jonathan Toews – has left the NCAA (University of North Dakota) and joined the Wheat Kings of the WHL for the upcoming season marking the start of his professional hockey career.

Per the Calgary Sun:

Right-winger David Toews has decided to leave the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux after two seasons to join the Wheaties for his 20-year-old season. The Wheat Kings drafted Toews in the sixth round of the 2005 bantam draft.

Toews, who had nine goals and 26 points in 51 games at UND, was a third-round pick of the New York Islanders in the 2008 NHL draft.

In Other News

In other off season player news, several former Islanders have signed on with other clubs as free agents.

Defenseman Freddy Meyer has signed with the Atlanta Thrashers next season in a two-way deal for $500,000.

Meyer spent the last three seasons with the Islanders. He had four goals and 11 assists in a career-high 64 games in 2009-10 and 19 goals, 52 assists and 147 penalty minutes in 266 career NHL games.

Meyer has been a solid player for the Islanders over the last three seasons, although he was lost on waivers for a brief period to the Phoenix Coyotes – he was reclaimed shortly thereafter due to his solid play. He often logged important minutes and earned special teams play, his departure is a due to a vastly improved defensive unit this season with the addition of Eaton, Jurcina and Wisniewski.

Also, Sean Bergenheim was signed to a one year deal by the Tampa Bay Lightning this week. Originally selected 22nd overall by the Islanders, the fan favorite Begenheim had 40 goals and 40 assists over 246 career games with the Islanders.

Bergy, as fans and teammates affectionately called him, just couldn’t put it together at a consistent level. He’s a great skater with offensive ability who plays an exciting energetic
style, he was also great at being a pest – so the Lightning certainly added a nice piece.

But wait, there’s more!

The Islanders also added two players this week – one a former Islander who spent the previous season in the Minnesota Wild’s system.

Andy Hilbert has signed with the Islanders on a one year two-way contract as has forward Rob Hisey.

Per the Islanders release:

Hilbert returns to the Islanders after playing within the Minnesota Wild organization last season. The Howell, MI native skated in four games for the Wild. He spent the majority of the season with Minnesota’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Houston Aeros, totaling 25 points (nine goals and 16 assists) in 33 games. Prior to his stint with the Wild, Hilbert was a member of the Islanders for three seasons, accumulating 27 goals and 44 assists for 71 points in 218 games. Hilbert was originally drafted by the Boston Bruins in the second round (37th overall) of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. Over the course of the four seasons that Hilbert spent in the Bruins organization, he split each season between Boston and their AHL affiliate the Providence Bruins.

Hisey played his first season of professional hockey in North America last year in both the AHL with the Springfield Falcons and the Central Hockey League with the Tulsa Oilers. A native of Oakville, ON, Hisey skated in 37 games for the Falcons last season, scoring 11 goals and 14 assists for 25 points. With Tulsa, Hisey tallied 41 points (19 goals and 22 assists) in 24 games. Hisey played the previous four seasons in Finland, Germany, Austria and Sweden.

I like the Hilbert signing in that he was always solid defensively and shorthanded – he will replace Richard Park in all likelihood if and when he gets regular playing time with the the Islanders.

Rob Hisey I don’t know much about at this point, but from what I have heard he has some offensive potential and possesses Rob Schremp like hands around the net. Garth Snow likely sees this as another player worthy of a look and will likely play with the Sound Tigers this season.

I’d just like to take a second to wish Meyer and Bergenheim luck this up coming season and thank them for the job they did during their time here on Long Island. Best of luck gents.

Joel Rechlicz Cupcakes – Just Kidding

Posted by on 14 Jul 2010 | Tagged as: General, Off Season, Waivers

No, you read that correctly – I said Joel Rechlicz cupcakes….but I am only half joking here.

Yesterday, the New York Islanders placed forward Joel Rechlicz, a player those of us in the Blog Box have grown to know (and in some cases love) the last year, on waivers. Unfortunately, he has found himself the odd man out of the enforcer situation, a position the Islanders appeared they felt they didn’t need the way Rechlicz and Trevor Gillies bounced back and forth between Bridgeport and Long Island.

Gillies, who was signed to a one year extension back in April and Zenon Konopka who signed as a free agent on July 2nd make getting a call for enforcer duty next to impossible for Rechlicz. Great young player, but a victim of circumstance none-the-less. It was announced today that he has cleared waivers, so he will most likely remain in Bridgeport next season and help out the new crop of talent debuting there this season.

The Islanders have announced today, 07/16/10 that Rechlicz’s contract has been terminated and he is now a unrestricted free agent.

Now, what about these cupcakes?

Ok, so earlier you may or may not remember reading something about cupcakes. Maybe that’s the only reason why you’re still reading – I don’t know. However, there is now an official Islanders cupcake vendor. Yes, cupcake enthusiasts rejoice!

Per the Islanders Press Release:

The New York Islanders announced today the addition of a new corporate partner in the unique sponsorship category of cupcakes. The Islanders have signed an agreement to designate Cupcake Gourmet, Inc. as the official cupcake supplier of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and the New York Islanders Hockey Club.

“To be the official cupcake supplier of the Islanders and Nassau Coliseum is huge to me,” Amy Brady, Owner of Cupcake Gourmet, Inc. said. “I fell in love with the team when I moved to Long Island 15 years ago and to be a part of their world feels great.”

Justin Johnson, Senior Vice President of Corporate Partnerships & Marketing for the Islanders said: “We are thrilled to launch this partnership with Amy and Cupcake Gourmet as we continually enhance the everyday menu board for our fans.”

The Huntington, N.Y.-based Cupcake Gourmet company will sell cupcakes designed with the Islanders’ logo and traditional orange, white and blue colors during all 2010-11 home games. The cupcakes will become available at all entertainment events at the Coliseum, beginning August 18 with The Wiggles: Wiggly Circus.

You can read some more over on the Islanders website, however I must disappoint as you won’t be eating a cupcake with Joel Rechlicz’s image on it anytime soon….

Orange VS Blue: Live Blog

Posted by on 10 Jul 2010 | Tagged as: Live Blog, Off Season, Prospects

Boy has it been a while since I have seen some live hockey, well – not really all too long but I never would’ve imagined I would be getting ready to head to the Coliseum on a steamy July evening.

Tonight the Islanders prospects are taking part in a scrimmage amongst themselves – followed by a skills competition. It’s a showcase of talents of sorts and a way to present the future Islanders to their beloved and hockey crazed fans.

I am not entirely sure of the setup, we may be in an area of the arena or we may even be up in the pressbox. The physical location of the Blog Box no longer exists, the format will be a bit different this upcoming season then in years past – so keep tabs tonight both here on my blog and on my Twitter feed for updates one way or another.

I am extremely excited to see Niederreiter, Kabanov and Petrov skate with some of the other Islanders prospects. It should be a great night – so stay tuned.

Islanders Tender Qualifying Offers to Five

Posted by on 28 Jun 2010 | Tagged as: Free Agency, News, Off Season

Today the New York Islanders have extended qualifying offers to five restricted free agents: Matt Moulson, Rob Schremp, Dustin Kohn, Dylan Reese, and Nathan Lawson.

If you are noticing some players missing off of that list, you’re not mistaken – as several players remain, unsigned. If you have not figured it out just yet, they are: Sean Bergenheim and Jeff Tambellini.

It’s no secret that those two players who have not been tendered qualifying offers, have how do you say – struggled, under head coach Scott Gordon, so they may have played their respective last games in Islanders orange and blue.

What is a qualifying offer you ask?

Per the Islanders website:

Qualifying offers are tendered to players who are no longer on their entry-level deals but do not qualify as un-restricted free agents, making them restricted free agents. Teams must extend qualifying offers to restricted free agents to retain their negotiating rights and have the right of first refusal.

As of Thursday, July 1, those players who have received qualifying offers will have until Thursday, July 15 to accept. The deadline for players to elect to go to salary arbitration is Monday, July 5. If a player rejects the qualifying offer, but does not elect to go to salary arbitration, the Islanders will still retain their rights until and agreement is made or they become eligible for unrestricted free-agency.

The NHL club can also elect to take a player to salary arbitration and the deadline for club arbitration is Tuesday, July 6.

Salary arbitration hearing take place starting on Tuesday, July 20 with the final date set for Wednesday, August 4.

While we are talkin’ contract – there are several Islanders who will reach unrestricted free agency July 1st: Martin Biron, Freddy Meyer, Jon Sim, Richard Park, and Tim Jackman. Many of which, may also find themselves in a different uniform come next week.

Stay Tuned folks, this is where the off season gets really fun!

Islanders Release Pre-Season Schedule!

Posted by on 21 Jun 2010 | Tagged as: News, Off Season

Is it October yet?

No, unfortunately it’s not – but we are closer to September which also means we are that much closer to the start of pre-season hockey!!

The Islanders are set to play in five games in the 2010 preseason:

  • Wednesday, September 29th – Split squad game at Credit Union Centre in Saskatoon, SASK against the Calgary Flames. The second game is to be played at the Wachovia Center against the Philadelphia Flyers. Each game starts at 7pm local times.
  • Friday, October 1st – the Islanders take on the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center. Game starts at 7pm.
  • Saturday October 2nd – another set of split squad games, one half of the team will play the New Jersey Devils at the Coliseum and the other half will take on the Montreal Canadiens at the Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City. Each of those games also starts at 7pm

Not the greatest schedule in the world with the split squad games, especially a split squad game in their only home appearance – but what can you do?

The full schedule for the 2010-2011 Islanders season is set to be released tomorrow.

For more information, visit the Islanders Website

Islesblogger Los Angeles Bound!!

Posted by on 21 Jun 2010 | Tagged as: Draft, News, Off Season, Site Announcements

2010 NHL Entry Draft Good morning Islanders fans!

I’ve been meaning to put up an announcement for quite some time now (as well as content) – but for the third year in a row I am headed to the NHL Entry Draft!

As you may already know, this years draft is located in Los Angeles, California – so it’s quite the haul compared to Ottawa and Montreal years prior.

Another difference, I am the lone Blog Boxer headed out, so it should be interesting.

In the coming days I have some exciting lead up content planned for both my site and over at Bleacher Report, where I am the Featured Islanders columnist.

I cannot wait to see who the Islanders pick up in the five slot in this years draft!

Stay tuned to my site, my Twitter feed, Bleacher Report and of course the Islanders website and Twitter feeds for constant NHL Draft updates throughout the draft!!

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