Preseason

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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.

Working Out With Jesse Demers: Part Two

Posted by on 11 Oct 2010 | Tagged as: General, Interviews, Preseason

Last week, I posted the first part of a multi-part post on my workout with Islanders strength and conditioning coach Jesse Demers.

The first half talked about some general stretching, jumping rope and several dynamic leg stretches. In this part, Demers showed me several floor stretches that utilized a yoga mat, swiss ball and even a very complex set of stretches from a push-up position. If you enjoyed the first part, you’ll likely enjoy this one even more.

Continue Reading »

Working Out With Jesse Demers: Part One

Posted by on 06 Oct 2010 | Tagged as: General, Interviews, Preseason

It’s been a long summer, like many of you I kept tabs on the Islanders throughout the offseason through both stories on their website and on their Twitter feed. If you haven’t caught this multipart series on the Islanders strength and conditioning Coach Jesse Demers, you should certainly check it out!

Demers has installed a new program that every player in the Islanders organization takes part in. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like if an amateur hockey player goes through what the pros do, wonder no more as I got to see (and feel) first hand just how tough it can be. This story ties into this summer’s training camp and the Islanders stories on Demers perfectly, as you can picture your favorite players doing many of the exercises and stretches that I was put through.

This is a multi-part post due to the length and descriptive nature, so please don’t forget to check back later in the week for the follow up post!

Islesblogger stretching

Continue Reading »

Islanders Make Cuts, Release Five

Posted by on 03 Oct 2010 | Tagged as: General, Preseason, Roster Moves, Sound Tigers

With training camp all but over, it’s time to trim the fat – an inevitable part of camp that many players likely do not look forward to. In my mind, (well my imagination anyway) – I picture Manny Legace or Dean McAmmond going to their locker after the split squad scrimmages last night and finding a big fat red card. What follows is a stream of obscenities or in other cases maybe even some tears.

In all seriousness, I am sure that’s not how things are handled, but it’s fun poking fun and referencing sports movies. No?

The Islanders today announced that they have cut several players from the roster and assigned them to their AHL affiliate Bridgeport Sound Tigers and have also released several players who were invited to camp on tryout agreements.

Forwards Justin DiBenedetto, Micheal Haley, Rob Hisey, Jesse Joensuu, Mark Katic, Tomas Marcinko, Rhett Rakhshani, David Ullstrom, and Jeremy Yablonski, along with defensemen Dylan Reese, Travis Hamonic and goaltender Mikko Koskinen have all been assigned to the Sound Tigers.

Veterans Dean McAmmond, Jed Ortmeyer, Anders Eriksson, Manny Legace and Krys Kolanos, who all accepted invitations on PTO contracts for Training Camp, all hit the unemployment line and will be looking for employment elsewhere in the league.

This round of cuts, follows a smaller cut earlier in the weekend when the Islanders placed defenseman Dustin Kohn on waivers, and assigned Robin Figren, Kevin Poulin, Anton Klementyev and Tony Romano to the Sound Tigers. Also hitting the unemployment line was Joel Martin, when he was released from his PTO – but he will be attending the Sound Tigers training camp.

It was a busy weekend, but the Islanders are that much closer to setting their final roster of 23 players – and they have until Wednesday to do so. The Islanders have five days of practice until their home opener next weekend the 9th when they take on the Dallas Stars

Okposo Needs Shoulder Surgery, Mottau Signed

Posted by on 28 Sep 2010 | Tagged as: Injuries, News, Preseason, Signings

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.

Isles sign D-Man Mike Mottau

Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America

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.

Islanders Give Jed Ortmeyer Tryout!

Posted by on 27 Sep 2010 | Tagged as: General, News, Preseason, Tryouts

Don Smith/NHLI

The Islanders have added one more name into the mix of players coming into the remainder of training camp for a tryout – Jed Ortmeyer. Ortmeyer, a former New York Rangers forward joins fellow former Ranger P.A. Parenteau, so at least he should have someone he is familiar with at training camp.

Per the Islanders website:

The New York Islanders announced today that Jed Ortmeyer has accepted an invitation to Training Camp on a Professional Tryout (PTO).

Ortmeyer posted NHL career-highs in goals (eight), assists (11) and points (19) in 76 games with the San Jose Sharks last year. The Omaha, NE, native has skated in 306 NHL games with the New York Rangers, Nashville Predators and Sharks. Ortmeyer, a 6-0, 190 lbs. forward, turned pro with the Rangers in 2003-04 after a four-year collegiate career at the University of Michigan

Ortmeyer will be skating alongside a few other players who also accepted tryouts with the Islanders yesterday.

This is just another indication, and proof that GM Garth Snow is constantly looking for options and always has lines in the water. These PTO’s are great because there really isn’t any risk involved. Should a player brought in work out, great – they can be offered a contract and spot on the roster. If they do not work out, no harm no foul – better luck elsewhere.

Islanders Invite Five Players For Tryouts

Posted by on 26 Sep 2010 | Tagged as: Preseason, Tryouts

The Islanders have just announced that they have invited five players to the remainder of training camp on a try-out basis.

Dean McAmmond, Manny Legace, Anders Eriksson, Krys Kolanos and Joel Martin have all accepted invitations to Training Camp on Professional Tryouts (PTO’s).

Continue Reading »

Mark Streit Out Six Months

Posted by on 26 Sep 2010 | Tagged as: General, Injuries, Preseason

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
According to Katie Strang’s Twitter feed, all-star defenseman Mark Streit will be out approximately six months with a torn rotator cuff and torn labrum suffered as a result of a hit during yesterdays intrasquad scrimmage at Nassau Coliseum.

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.

Continue Reading »

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 »

Panoramic Shot of Nassau Coliseum

Posted by on 25 Sep 2010 | Tagged as: General, Preseason

Here’s a panoramic shot of the opening ceremony of today’s Islanders scrimmage at the Coliseum!

Here is a much better panoramic – for those wondering I used Autostitch on the iPhone