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.

January 22, 2014

Another Game, Another two goal Comeback for Isles - This Time vs. Rangers

If there's one really positive thing we can say about the way this Isles team is playing right now, it's that they never panic when they get down early in games.

Once again, the Isles found themselves in a very familiar position, and once again much to the chagrin of Sean it happened early on in the first period. But after less than stellar defensive plays by Matt Donovan, Calvin de Haan and John Tavares allowed Chris Kreider get control of the puck and find a wide open Rick Nash, there was no doubt he was scoring and the Isles were going to be chasing from behind early once again.

January 21, 2014

Isles Battle Back to Split Home-and-Home with Flyers

I think we've all finally figured out the Isles strategy for winning games. They cannot have a lead going into the third period.

Once again, the team found themselves trailing after two, with the Flyers holding a 3-1 advantage. While it's tough to say two goal leads are commanding even in today's NHL, this was a game where the Isles did not look too crisp. As a matter of fact, both teams looked a bit sluggish, and the Isles caught a lot of breaks just because of miscues by the Flyers in the offensive zone.

January 17, 2014

Nielsen, Isles Slide Past Lightning in Shootout

The Islanders found themselves in a tight game with the Tampa Bay Lightning for pretty much the duration of the contest, and were able to overcome an early powerplay goal by Isles killer Martin St. Louis to defeat the improved Lightning in overtime as they continue to try and put together a long successful streak that will propel them back into playoff contention.

January 15, 2014

Isles Streak Ends as Turnovers Plentiful; Strome Sent to Bridgeport

The Isles came back down to Earth on Tuesday night as their hot stretch came to an end in Florida, as they dropped a 4-2 decision to a team that has given them some trouble in recent years. And for the Isles, it was a collapse in a big way.

January 11, 2014

Isles Remain Hot in OT Victory over Avs

When you're hot, things always seem to go your way. And for the New York Islanders, the past week couldn't have gone any better. It started with a huge win over the Dallas Stars on Monday, and ended with an overtime win last night against the Colorado Avalanche. In between the Isles found out they had multiple players named to Olympic teams, including John Tavares getting the nod for the Canadians in Sochi after a five point night and hat trick against the Stars (even though he didn't need all of that to be named, anyway).

January 3, 2014

Isles, Okposo Each Make Statements in OT Win Over Hawks

After another impressive come from behind win on Tuesday against the Boston Bruins, the Islanders were coming back home to face the other team from the Stanley Cup Finals, the Chicago Blackhawks. Unfortunately for the Isles, they were on an 0-4-4 run at home, so it's been anything but an advantage.

December 30, 2013

Isles Rally from Three Goal Deficit to Stun Wild 5-4

Given the fact that the Islanders were playing the Minnesota Wild, you just knew that Nino Niederreiter would do his best to make his presence felt. It seemed predictable, and I even indicated as much on the radio show on Sunday morning. While he didn't live up to my pregame prediction of two goals, he had a goal and an assist as he looked to pace the Wild against his former, struggling team and when he gave the Wild the 3-0 lead many - including myself - thought that was all they needed.

December 24, 2013

Nabokov, Isles Blank Red Wings

On Monday night the New York Islanders were on the other side of a poor effort for a change which is surprising given the team they played. The Detroit Red Wings are not known for poor efforts, but as they try and figure things out through injuries, their spiral continued with the Isles 3-0 win.