In any case – the Islanders were victorious North of the Border in Montreal last night, but it was a tale of three teams. I’m almost certain that you read the title and said – “Eh? THREE teams Mike?”.
In any case – the Islanders were victorious North of the Border in Montreal last night, but it was a tale of three teams. I’m almost certain that you read the title and said – “Eh? THREE teams Mike?”.
So we’re just just past the quarter pole of the season and we’ve seen such inconsistency that it’s maddening. Oh to be a fly on the wall of the locker room.
We’ve seen this team come out flying and score goals in the first minute of play and dominate for a full 60, but we’ve also seen the same team come out and look lost and allow goals in the first :27 seconds or less of periods. I’ve seen blame placed upon everything from the owner, to the coach, preparedness, the captain, lack of talent, lack of defense, size – everything.
What are the answers?
That’s a great question. One that I find myself asking as I watch these games from the comfort of my living room with a scowl on my face and sore throat from yelling at the TV.
Up front we have Tavares, Moulson and Boyes. While this line has put up points and John has entered beast mode at times, he cannot do it alone. I watch this guy bust his hump game in and game out and teams pay lots of attention to him. Why? Because the talent around him while good, can’t keep pressure off of him most nights. Sure, they can compete with that first line, but he needs someone who can open up space and be as big of a threat as him so he can penetrate the defense without too much trouble and not have four guys hanging all over him.
At the same time, because he draws that many players to him those around him need to get into better position. Something that doesn’t always happen. Moulson gets to the net, creates traffic and is handy with his stick depositing shots – but only when they get through. Boyes shows flashes of being a smart playmaker, but he gets pushed off the puck and causes turnovers at times. I’d really hoped for more out of him and I’m not sure he belongs on JT’s wing.
As we move down the depth chart – we have Grabner who’s speed and defensive play cause fits but he often can’t finish. Nielsen with his defensive play, while he’s a smart player he doesn’t seem to have much as far as offense this season. Bailey has looked better this year, but we haven’t seen enough of him. Ullstrom and Cizikas have been a pleasant surprise. I’d like to see Ullstrom up on JT’s wing for a game or two actually.
Okposo. I’ve never been as disappointed in a player as I have been with Kyle. He seems lazier this year, perhaps because he opted to not play during the lockout and it’s a matter of conditioning? Two games in a row he’s taken penalties that have killed momentum and have been in the offensive zone. You just cannot do that. He’s haphazardly back checked and tried too hard to make pretty plays with the puck. He needs to use his head and slow his game down a touch. He’s been all over the place in the lineup, and last night he looked OK until he decided to be a bonehead.
Aucoin and McDonald – two serviceable guys who deserve spot duty in the NHL, but would be better served down with Bridgeport. Aucoin I’d actually go and say he’s good enough to stick, but I think it’s because of our depth issue.
Reasoner – well, we know what we have there and why the team is shopping him. He actually played ok last night in Ottawa, but as much as this team needs a veteran, he doesn’t fit and hasn’t fit since was signed. Experiment over.
If he’s waived or traded, it’s time for Niederreiter to be called up.
This has been a tough year – as noted by our waiver wire addiction.
Hickey has looked good, I like not noticing a player much until he makes that solid play and he hasn’t looked out of place. Finley, well – we could do better but he serves a purpose when he’s around. Carkner has added toughness and been an ok defenseman and I’m actually a little upset he’s been injured. They need his fire.
Visnovsky has been as advertised. I just wish he was a few years younger because he adds an element that this team needs – a secondary power play QB. He seems to like the team, thankfully – and plays every night. Not to say he hasn’t made mistakes though.
Our Captain, Streit – he’s struggled but has given glimpses of the player he was in his first season on the team. I’ve not changed my mind in that he was a bad choice for captain. He would never do as Giroux did for the Flyers and call out his teammates. He should’ve after the 7-0 shutout though. I would have. Sometimes you need to get pissed as a leader and veteran. Just look at what assistant coach Doug Weight did with his “paint peeling” speech last week. We need THAT fire and excitement.
Strait is hurt and that’s a shame. He’s been solid and deserves that contract. A fractured ankle will likely see him gone the rest of the season. I suppose we’ll see the man-o-glass Martinek replace him this week at some point.
MacDonald – oh what happened to you? You’ve gone from a steady workhorse to someone who’s positional play has gotten away from what it was. You’re playing too many minutes friend.
Hamonic – thank goodness for you. You’re the best we have on the rear guard corps, but like your partner you are playing too many minutes. This just screams lack of depth and poor coaching.
It’s clear to me that Capuano trusts who he trusts and is hesitant to change much up. Sounds exactly the way Scott Gordon was and we know how that ended.
Nabokov has been outstanding for a player creeping up there in age. He’s been overplayed though and hung out to dry more often than not with his defense.
DiPietro – I’ll get lambasted for saying this, but he’s been ok. Not great, not good – but just ok. Sure last night he flubbed that glove save and it put the game out of reach, but when you don’t allow your goalie to see the puck you can’t expect him to automatically make a save, I don’t care who it is in net.
I’ve been writing about this team since 2006, been a fan my entire life and have seen a lot of crazy things go on with the organization.
What I cannot wrap my mind around is the lack of effort by Charles Wang to put a genuine NHL product on the ice. Garth Snow is always forced to assemble a majority of his team with tape and bubble gum and that’s no way to form a contender, let alone a professional hockey team. His hands are tied for the most part – I don’t agree with the thoughts that he’s a bad GM and I’m curious to see how good he can be if he was ACTUALLY free to do what he wants.
Sure there are a ton of issues going on behind the scenes with the pending move to Brooklyn, but enough is enough.
The Islanders are wrecking these years with John Tavares. Plain and simple.
While the farm is stocked with a ton of good prospects – we seem to be stuck in this repetitive cycle of poor management. It’s painful to watch as a fan, I’m sure it’s no better as a player.
We should be going hard as we move towards Brooklyn. The fans in on Long Island deserve to make the old barn rock at least one more time.
I’m tired of feeling as if we’re constantly lied to as a fan base – and I know a lot of other fans out there feel the same way.
I look forward to better days and we’ve been teased with what it’ll be like once we get there.
Tell me you’re feelings or ideas in the comment section. I’m open for debate.
Well hello there Isles fans, it’s been quite sometime since I updated my little blog here. I feel like I have said this before, but life changes – it could be a subtle change or a big one that cause you to either forget about your passion or just not have time to work on it. My life has changed a lot in the last year and change! Well, there is that – and that pesky 113 day NHL Lockout.
As we move forward here, I am really excited to churn out my take on everything New York Islanders. I’ve been given such a great opportunity that not many folks have received, so let’s make the best of this!
Let’s start out with the lockout.
We knew it was coming, each side had their reasons and I really don’t want to go into the semantics of the whole thing. It was horrible to endure as a fan, and that’s as far as I can take that. I refused to write about any of it, although I did read about it and listen to NHL on Sirius/XM daily – go figure.
I don’t see the need to go back 8 months to recap who we’ve drafted back in June, or who we traded for or signed. You all know that by now. I will provide my take on the most recent transactions though.
The Lubomir Visnovsky debacle rages on. Arthur Staple said earlier that the player had “some personal issues to deal with” and would eventually report to camp. This comes after weeks (if not month’s really) of the player trying to find his way out of his contract by any means. What kind of element will he add to the tight-knit locker room? Hard to say – but clearly Nabokov changed his tune once he was here.
The Islanders announced the signing of long time Islander (and short-time Blue Jacket) Radek Martinek to a one year deal. You can never have too many defenseman I say, and clearly Garth Snow feels the same way.
Speaking of defensemen – the Islanders also recently waived d-man Ty Wishart (who has since cleared and returned to Bridgeport) and claimed two players in Joe Finley (Buffalo Sabres) and Thomas Hickey (LA Kings), most likely for depth. The Islanders had a really nice article on Jon Landry that is worth a read. If you think the trials and tribulations of a hockey player are all golden like that of John Tavares – think again. Landry has traveled down a really long road, and it’s nice to see a young man stick to what he loves throughout it all!
The Islanders have also opened up a ton to fans – regarding scrimmages, practice and even concessions. For all the latest visit NewYorkIslanders.com for the latest!
On Saturday January 19th, the Islanders have their season opener against the New Jersey Devils. Also that night, a new website will go live, exclusive for Islanders fans! A site called IslandersPowerPlayDeals goes live exclusively for Islanders fans, offering preferred pricing on Long Island’s best local travel, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centers and various other retailers. You can learn more details on the Islanders official announcement.
Three games in six days agains the same opponent – it has a playoff feel doesn’t it?
The Islanders are in New Jersey tonight to take on the Devils for round two of their three game stint.
The Islanders are 2-1 against the Devils so far this season – with three games remaining in the season series. Last weekend, the Islanders blanked the Devils 1-0 thanks to their strong defensive play and the great play of their rookie goaltender Anders Nilsson who stopped all 24 shots he faced.
The Islanders cannot give up ANY points in their quest for a post season appearance. They have struggled to put together win streaks longer than a two or three games much of the season.
Scoring has often disappeared, as the only line doing much damage is their first line, however Josh Bailey’s move to wing has paid dividends as of late. Bailey has scored four goals over the last four games, while Kyle Okposo has played well with his new linemates and scored the only goal – the games winner last weekend against New Jersey.
With 16 games remaining, the Islanders are 7 points back of the 8th and final playoff spot. While not mathematically eliminated, they need to win the next string of games with strong, confident and consistent hockey of they don’t want those hopes completely dashed.
It’s a stretch, but crazier things have happened. Just look at the parity in the league – these six points against the Devils are HUGE.
So we find ourselves at the craziest day in the NHL, well next to July when UFA’s are available to be signed.
This year, I’m home – celebrating what will likely be an uneventful day for the New York Islanders. Last year however, I was working – stuck in the Bronx and forced to stream TSN via their Tradecentre app. This year I have a new solution, and despite being home I thought it would be easy – but I don’t have the NHL Network.
So, my solution for 2012:
I purchased a $10 dollar application called AirParrot for Mac OSX. This enables mirroring your desktop to your Apple TV. I located a link, (which I really don’t want to post in fear it would hurt the stream quality) that is showing the TSN feed. Is it perfect? No, but at least I can watch.
Now, I realize that NHL.com has the stream, but they won’t be live streaming until Noon EST. This should hold me over for a few hours.
We all know that the Islanders play as of late has been wildly inconsistent, due in part to a few key injuries and a rampant flu bug running through then locker room.
The Islanders find themselves 8 points back of the 8th and final playoff spot.
Then Islanders have a whole list of pending UFA’s:
Brian Rolston (Placed on waivers 2/25/12)
If you look over the list above, two players in particular would garner the most interest – Parenteau and Nabokov. Parenteau is second on the Islanders in points, with 15 goals and 43 assists for a total of 58 points. Garth Snow has come out on record, a few times, saying he really doesn’t want to deal PA and would like to sign him to an extension. PA’s agent has also come out on record as saying PA would rather focus on the contract after the season is over – so does Snow risk losing PA for nothing or does he listen to offers today? It’s clear that Parenteau has excelled off of Tavares’ wing, but regardless the Islanders have still struggled offensively outside of that first line anyway. It’s quite a conundrum and would leave a big hole to fill should he get moved.
Moving to Evgeni Nabokov; he’s got a no trade clause and would have to approve any move but again, Garth Snow and Nabokov’s agent have been on record the last few weeks as saying an extension is being worked on and that there are no trades being discussed. That said, we all know that things could change in an instant – especially with the goalie market being somewhat saturated. I really like what Nabokov has brought this season and turned around his little situation in not reporting after being claimed off waivers last year. He’s helped hide the Islanders defensive issues and helped them claw back to where they are currently.
The rest of the players available all have one thing in common, experience. They could help teams add depth for a stretch run, or in the playoffs – but they have all been relatively HORRID for the Islanders. Outside of Mark Eaton and maybe Montoya, I wouldn’t be sad to see anyone go.
The dilemma here for Garth Snow, he’s neither a buyer or a seller. If he sells off any available assets, the season is officially over and any SLIM chance of making the playoffs is essentially dashed. If he moves no personnel, and brings no help in – we can expect the same type of play the rest of the season and essentially come up short for the playoffs, as expected.
Should Garth Snow have a shopping list today, he needs primary and secondary scoring, AND needs first, second and third pair defensive help. For once, the goaltending situation isn’t as big of an issue as it has been in the past – but that’s IF Nabokov is retained and Montoya regains his form from earlier this season.
I guess only time will tell – and we have over five hours left until the 3 PM eastern trade deadline.
My gut says that we won’t see many trades for the Islanders today, if any at all.
There’s been lots of contract extension talk regarding some of the pending UFA’s on the Islanders the last few weeks. Most notably, Frans Nielsen and PA Parenteau.
You can take the Great Dane off your list, as Garth Snow has inked Nielsen to a four year $11-Million dollar contract extension earlier tonight.
No official news per the team, but it was just talked about on MSG during the Islanders telecast and TSN’s Bob McKenzie had several tweets on this:
Nielsen has been a key defensive forward for the New York Islanders, and he also has that deadly go-to move during the shootout.
I’ll have more shortly.
I’ve been slacking way too much around here, given my duties with the TV show…
I am working on a few stories leading up to the All Star Game, the teams play over the last few weeks, the ever looming trade deadline and what to expect out of the Islanders the remainder of the season.
That said, I came across this great clip from a series on The Score called Face Paint. This time they interview Al Montoya and ask him about his current mask design. I am sure there are clippings on this story on the internet somewhere from preseason or earlier in the year, but it’s always great to have the players full explanation.
Pretty cool, have a look:
Three years ago in Montreal, you couldn’t tell any of us there in attendance on the Draft Risers that whomever selected John Tavares in the first round wouldn’t be getting anything less than a dynamic player and future all star. Luckily enough for those around the Islanders, Garth Snow wisely selected him with his coveted number one pick.
Flash forward to the present, Tavares has grown leaps and bounds. He’s more confident, he’s a stronger skater and for the most part, has proven he can shoulder the weight of his team.
Look no further than last season, when Tavares would get muscled off the puck, or taken down while skating and compare him to today just to see the difference. It’s night and day how far he’s come, credit that to his character.
Sure, there were knocks on his skating and defensive skills – but he’s improved in those areas tenfold.
John Tavares is who the Islanders needed to rebuild around, he is an integral part of the nature of the team. It’s a good thing he signed that contract extension over the summer, as he will be with the Islanders for a while.
Here are some notes per the Islanders release:
The National Hockey League announced today that Islanders center John Tavares has been selected to participate in the 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend.
Tavares, 21, leads all Islanders in scoring with 39 points (14 goals, 25 assists) through 40 games this season. The first overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft also led the Islanders in points during each of his first two seasons, but 2012 marks his first All-Star selection.
Only 20 players in the NHL have more points this season than Tavares, who has recorded 10 multi-point games, including two four-point efforts and one hat trick. The Oakville, ON native, leads all Islanders forwards in ice-time, averaging 19:39 a game.
Tavares joins some other recent Islanders who’ve gotten a taste of the All-Star weekend: Mark Streit, Rick DiPietro, and Michael Grabner.
It’s great to see Tavares noticed and rewarded for his great work here on Long Island. It’ll be interesting to not how well he’ll do skating alongside some of the greatest players in the game, and if the Garth Snow takes note of whatever chemistry he may have with them.
Either that, or get a dose of reality in what a shot in the arm by way of “upgrading” his roster could do for this team.
Only time will tell.
This has been a tough season.
Not just for the New York Islanders, but – for those of us who follow the team and more importantly, TRY to blog about them. All too many times, I’ve started a post – felt like I have been repeating myself or just don’t have anything positive to add and either quit or delete it completely.
I don’t get paid to write – this is something that I did because I enjoyed watching (and playing) hockey and I liked writing even more.
When you’re a fan and a blogger (a Flogger? No – that’s something completely different…) this task becomes even more difficult the worse the team does, or the more frustrating things around the team make you.
I’m going to make a huge admission here on my blog; I do not enjoy watching this team as much as I have. It’s to the point (for several reasons) – I discontinued my Season Tickets over the summer. I can honestly say, I have not missed them.
I watch the games on TV and I yell at the team as if I am at the arena, or even better – I change the channel. That’s exactly what I did when the Islanders got shutout for the seventh time this season on Monday. Sure, the Rangers are a better team – but that’s besides the point.
What makes the losing even worse? This commercial:
The Islanders have not done a heckuvalot to improve. The team has struggled to score at even strength, at times even seem unable to hit the broadside of a barn. This season isn’t all to different from the last up to this point, being a point or two off of their record from that crazy November skid and the goal differential is almost identical. How is that improvement? How is that COMMITMENT? This is what you do for Islanders fans on their 40th year of existance?
I know this sounds like one gigantic vent – and it is, maybe because I rarely use my blog to lament on the stuff surrounding this team but I cannot hold my breath any more. Something needs to give, waiving a Blake Comeau is not the answer. That said, at this junction there is nothing about this season that is salvageable – it’s another year chalked up to the rebuild. Get this years number one and call it a day.
But no, we have the huge question mark of where the team will play or even if the team will stay on Long Island forever looming over our head. Too many questions, too many variables.
Ok, rant over.
In any case, the Islanders are taking on the Calgary Flames tonight at the Coliseum. It’s a meaningless game in that it’s a Western Conference team – but it’s a chance to earn two points and break out of their funk.
Nabakov is in net, and according to Arthur Staple of Newsday – there are some possible line changes tonight.
If the team comes out and has a strong first period anything can happen. If they allow a goal in the first few minutes, they’ll likely chase the remainder of the entire game – and we know how that ends.
Fans hoping for a little retribution or retaliation on Mark Fistric for his concussion inducing hit on Nino Niederreiter – will have to wait. The Stars, likely by design – have made him a healthy scratch for tonight’s contest. It’s also important to note, he also just returned from a three game suspension for his hit on Nino.
That should all be of no worry tonight for the Islanders, as John Tavares, Josh Bailey and Kyle Okposo are all finding their stride and potting goals for their team. Josh Bailey has been playing like a man possessed as of late – 1 goal and 2 assists in the last five, but that’s not completely indicative of his play. He’s been much more confident on both sides of the puck, and been an absolute beast on the penalty kill. Then you have Okposo, who’s starting to play like he did prior to his injury, being physical and initiating contact.
There are some new faces in the lineup for the Islanders tonight as well, Calvin de Haan has been called up to take the place of concussed D-man Steve Staios to make his NHL Debut – and Kevin Poulin earned the start tonight in his replacement of Evgeni Nabakov. It feels like just yesterday that I was interviewing de Haan and Poulin on draft day!
The Islanders simply need to play their game – smart plays, passes, confidence and poise all the while continue that element of toughness with the puck. As I write this, the Islanders have allowed Dallas to score as the Power Play expired – not the start they were looking for, but they need to continue to pressure Dallas.
I’ll have a full recap after the game, but until then, be sure to follow me on Twitter @islesblogger!
The Islanders have turned their snide around these last four games – earning 7 of 8 points, on the road no less.
Tavares still cannot finish, but he’s certainly been able to start – earning three assists in their win over Dallas on Saturday night, and two the previous game in Chicago. Tavares now has 21 points, 8 goals and 13 assists and is tied with PA Parenteau for the team lead. Matt Moulson had a heck-uva game in Dallas, scoring four goals, the first time any player has scored four in a game this season – and wound up with the NHL’s First Star for the week. Moulson is in third place on the Islanders now in scoring, with 13 goals and 6 assists for 19 points. After that, it’s a pretty big drop off.
While there are some things to be worked on, the Islanders have shown some resiliency the last several games – going deep in the game and coming back when the opposition finds a way back into the game.
Injuries are beginning to mount as the season moves along, with Niederreiter out with a concussion, DiPietro out with a groin injury, Grabner a groin injury, MacDonald a leg injury, Eaton a knee injury, Nabokov with a groin injury, the list goes on. To replace some of the walking wounded, Kevin Poulin backs up Montoya in net and Tim Wallace up to replace Grabner. Wallace looked great during preseason and has fair stats down in Bridgeport – 9 goals and 11 assists for 20 points, top scorer for the Sound Tigers. Also up with the big club, Micheal Haley.
Tampa is on the second game of their four game road trip, and also coming off a loss to Ottawa. It should be a chippy game all around, as the Islanders need these two points to continue their strong play and to make a point that the pushing around that started in Dallas, is going to stop.
Things haven’t been easy for the Islanders this season, but they seem to have found the effort to weather the storm and find ways to win.
Nobody could have seen this start coming for the Islanders, who finished strong last season and looked to carry the momentum into the start of this season, but it’s not the way things have worked out.
The team has struggled to score goals, when they have scored they have struggled to hold onto leads and at times, just struggled in general. The Islanders are a young, talented team on paper, supplemented by some key veterans as well. So why have things been so tough?
Some are quick to cast all that aside and blame management, others even quicker to discount the talent on the team because “they’re the Islanders” – my hope is that the team, like last season, uses the negativity to fuel their fire and drive to prove everyone wrong.
Islanders head coach Jack Capuano is in his first full season as an NHL coach – so it’s really hard to place 100% blame there. Charles Wang has come out, as well as GM Garth Snow stating confidence in Capuano. Trust and confidence goes a long way in the NHL, where we have already seen three coaching changes in this young season.
John Tavares is riding an 11 game scoring slump and the pundits are coming out in full force. If you follow me on Twitter I was quick to point out that nobody seems to bring up the recent slumps of Stamkos and Ovechkin – two players surrounded by world class talent. But hey, Tavares is an Islander, right?
Chicago comes into the game tonight in fourth place in the Western Conference at 14-8-3, and off a recent loss. The Islanders have had a few days rest since their great game in Buffalo, they need to be smart defensively tonight against the Blackhawks scary offensive attack.
No announcement has been made on the starting goalie for the Isles, but Capuano often rides the hot hand and that’s been Al Montoya as of late. He had a superb game in Buffalo, making highlight reel save after save.
Andrew MacDonald is out tonight, with Dylan Reese called up to take his spot – a solid replacement and someone who had hoped to make the opening night roster.
The keys to a win tonight are simple: good puck movement, a continued strong forecheck, a good first pass and entry into the offensive zone. Utilize speed to help the transition and get behind the Chicago defense. Last, but not least – stay out of the penalty box.
If the Islanders bring what they have the last few games, earning their third straight road win is a good possibility.