October 19, 2014

Isles Lose First Game, Fall 3-1 to Pens

The Islanders started off playing well, keeping things simple and steady while getting save after save from Jaroslav Halak against a Penguins team that seemed a bit apprehensive.

October 18, 2014

Grabovski Out Indefinitely

Infamously, we do not know why one of our star players is out, but all we know for sure is that he is hurt.

 Photo Credit: Getty Images

Going back to the days of Scott Gordon, the Islanders have been very hush-hush in regards to injuries. They never really tell us what is going on, leaving us to wonder what the injury is, the severity of said injury, and the timetable for a players return. To anyone who watched the game against San Jose on Thursday night, the early indication would have been that Mikhail Grabovski had suffered a concussion. He took a hit high, fell to the ice and in the process smacked his head again, and then lied there motionless for what felt like an eternity. I was sitting in section 208, roughly 20 rows up from the injury, and to say it was gruesome would be an understatement. To be honest, it was frightening.

Thankfully, he was able to skate off the ice, and we soon found out that he had not suffered a concussion, but was suffering from an "upper body injury". No kidding. Yesterday, it was Newsday's Art Staple who broke the news about Grabovski not making the trip to Pittsburgh for tonight's matchup against the rival Penguins:

I'm going to go out on a limb here and make my own prediction for what is ailing Mikhail Grabovski, who had three points in his first three full games with the Islanders: Bruised Sternum, out 2-4 weeks. This will prove to be a tough loss for the Islanders, who have been to their best start in 12 years. Missing Michael Grabner has proven to be a blow to our penalty kill. Losing Mikhail Grabovski, who has produced early on and has provided depth as scoring, will only make things more difficult for a team who is trying to silence their critics, and who also calls upon Colin McDonald and Eric Boulton off the bench, as it seems that Anders Lee will not be called up just yet. Let's just hope that Josh Bailey's production so far can sustain, at least for as long as Grabno is out of the lineup.

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October 15, 2014

Isles Defeat Rangers 6-3 in First Meeting of Rivals

The Islanders were nowhere near the best team on the ice on Tuesday night when they played the New York Rangers at MSG, but they were the better team in the only period where that mattered. It helped of course that the Islanders got great goaltending out of Jaroslav Halak that kept them in the game, allowing them to tie late in the second and score four in the 3rd to give the Isles the 6-3 victory.

October 12, 2014

Isles hold off Tlusty, Canes to Win Final Coliseum Opener

The Islanders opened the home schedule of their final season at the Nassau Coliseum in the only possible way you could have scripted it, with a 4-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes in an atmosphere that certainly had a playoff vibe.

October 11, 2014

Nelson and Boychuk Shine in Season Opener

After making two huge trades last weekend, the level of anticipation for the 2014-15 season reached heights that no one can remember in recent years to the point where every passing day seemed like it was taking more than 24 hours. On Friday, we finally had our first look at the new look Islanders and they made a nice statement in their 5-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes.

September 27, 2014

Isles Second go Against Devils at Barclays Results in a Win

The second game for the Isles at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn went much better than the first one. However, this was not hard to accomplish given that last preseason the Isles lost 3-0 to the New Jersey Devils and didn't give their fans much to get excited about. Friday night was a little different as the Isles came out flying and put the first two goals on the board on the way to their 3-2 shootout win over their rivals from New Jersey.

September 24, 2014

Isles Fall to Canes in Coliseum Preseason Game

The Islanders dropped their only preseason game at Nassau Coliseum on Wednesday night, losing 4-2 to the Carolina Hurricanes thanks to some strong special teams play by their division rivals.

July 3, 2014

Isles Busy on First Two Days of UFA: Add Grabovski, Kulemin, Johnson

Although the first day of free agency didn't go the way as many had planned, by the end of day two the Islanders entire body of work looked much better and made many who were gloomy at least smile a bit as the Isles showed some life.

July 1, 2014

Free Agent Frenzy - Potential Isles Targets

It's that time of year again, where hockey fans all across the country pray that their teams are the ones landing the top names out on the open marking to better position themselves to make the playoffs - or in some rare cases, maybe even become a contender for The Cup.

The Islanders got off to their start rather early, trading for the rights to free agent goalie Jaroslav Halak in early May and signing him a few weeks later to a 4-year, $18 million deal.

March 5, 2014

Isles beat Jets after Sending MacDonald to Flyers

The Isles had one more game to play before the trade deadline, but they were already in the mindset of it being life after March 5th, with Andrew MacDonald (traded) and Thomas Vanek (waiting to be traded) both out of the line-up.

With a lean roster, the Isles had a chance to see what they had in guys who haven't had extended looks with the big club as of yet. It resulted in a 3-2 overtime victory in Winnipeg.

The Isles had some solid contributions from Ryan Strome and Anders Lee. Lee scored his third goal since being called up after the Olympic break ended last week.

Anders Nilsson got the start, to the chagrin of many fans out there who were left scratching their heads as to why he's get the nod after a less that stellar effort in the 3rd period of Sunday's tilt vs. Florida. For me, it's easy to understand.

The NHL is going through a musical goalie campaign, evidenced by Tuesday's trades. The Islanders are at a crossroads in net. They know what Evgeni Nabokov can provide and it's still back-up worthy for the NHL. But what about Kevin Poulin or Nilsson? We've seen a good sample out of Poulin to realize he isn't much of an answer. So that leaves Nilsson.

The Isles won't have much room for error going forward with their goalies. With so many names of younger guys flying around, they need to understand what they have in these two sooner rather than later. If you sign a starter, do you need to sign guys for Bridgeport? The Isles could add anywhere from one to three new goaltenders to the organization this summer and now is the time for them to decide.

Having said all of that, I thought Nilsson played pretty well. Some of the angles are a bit off, but you can see that he has his moments - both good and bad.

Despite looking strong early on, the Isles allowed the Jets to slowly get back into the game as they allowed plenty of scoring chances. Lots of scrambling in front of Nilsson only yielded two goals, however, and gave the Isles the chance to win on Michael Grabner's overtime breakaway.

Grabner has been playing better of late too, at least on the offensive end. All season long he seemed to have the defensive side of his game up to snuff and now it's nice to see the confidence increasing with each goal scored - including the ones from the Olympics.

But enough about this game. We'll get to the more important stuff...

A-Mac's Isles tenure ended on Tuesday. Photo by C. Hessel
Andrew MacDonald to Flyers: Yes, as alluded to earlier the Isles already moved one of their trading chips, shipping MacDonald to the Philadelphia Flyers for a 3rd round pick this summer, a 2nd round pick in 2015, and forward Matt Mangene - who isn't much of a prospect, and never really was.

I like the fact that the 2nd round pick is in the 2015 draft, which by all accounts will be very deep and full of talented players in the first few rounds. The 2015 picks will have value and the Isles can package them to try and get more immediate help for next season, that is if they choose to do so.

It's frustrating to be going through yet another year of this however, and I'll go out on the limb and say I'll be upset if some of these assets are not used to make the team better in the more near term. With holes throughout, and now a glaring one next to John Tavares, this team seriously needs to figure out what their plan is going forward because having disappointing seasons and accumulating picks year after year isn't much of a plan.

So the Isles have one more player to move in Vanek. Everyone else will likely stay for now. I wouldn't expect the goaltending holes to be plugged on Wednesday either. That will be something the team addresses more in the offseason when they can see their options.

We'll see what Wednesday provides. I'll have some thoughts on the deadline as a whole after we hit 3 PM and see the dust settle.

- Chris

January 28, 2014

Isles Fall Flat as Bruins Pounce on Miscues in 6-3 Win

The Isles small rut continued as they dropped their third straight game, falling in a back-and-forth game that the Bruins ended up having the last laugh in. They had lots of trouble, particularly when it came to trying to contain the line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith. Marchand lead the way with four points.