Founded in 1972, The New York islanders have not seen much playoff action since the 80’s. Islanders fans reminisce fondly of a time when the team was a menacing force to be reckon with. Between 1980 and 1984, the Islanders won 19 successive playoff series and four successive Stanley Cups (1980-83), cementing an unequaled status for the team in professional sports. However, the New York Islanders have seen various unsuccessful team rebuilds, money issues, poor management, and low spectator attendance in its more recent years. The Islanders have not seen a playoff series win since the 92-93 NHL season but seem to be making a long overdue push for the playoffs this year.
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March has clearly been a good month for the Islanders, as they seem to be really pushing hard for a playoff spot. Enthusiasts who want to place wagers may find this team a good choice in sport betting. Currently, the Islanders sit on the 8th place tied with their metropolitan area rivals the Devils (both with 39 points) after beating the Winnipeg Jets. Only 11 more games remain for the Islanders in the regular season, which if they prove to be as successful as their games in March, could garner the Islanders a playoff position. With Frans Nielsen’s go-ahead goals and Kevin Poulin's 23 saves, the NY Islanders were able to secure a critical 5-2 win against the Jets on Tuesday, Apr 2, 2013.
The team also secured a win against the Devils last April 1, with Nielsen scoring two goals. However, the Islanders seemed to get a little too comfortable with the early first period lead. The second period saw the Isles retreat and simply hold-on until the period was over. Unfortunately for the Islanders, the Devils adjusted towards their sleepy demeanor and managed to score a goal after minutes of constant pressure in the Islanders zone. The third period was an average effort, but nowhere near as chaotic as the second period. The Islanders were able to bury a third goal into the net with the first powerplay opportunity. Following their third goal, they simply held on and protected their lead until the end of the game. The Islanders got some other powerplay opportunities but were not able to maximize their advantage.
Keys to Playoff Success
Stronger Offensive Powerplay
Ultimately, while the crucial four-point game against the Devils was a win, it also revealed some improvements the team needs to make. The Islanders powerplay needs to be more effective and cannot act like it did against Pittsburgh. Given the Islanders current standing, every opportunity needs to be met with a confident and efficient offensive as it can mean the difference between a 9th and 8th position. Hopefully, their most recent win is a previews towards the rest of the month’s games.
What the Islanders need to focus on primarily is their defense. In two of the last seven games, they have been giving out leads, which is an issue that needs to be dealt with as soon as possible if they hope to enter the playoffs. It's a good thing that backup goalie Kevin Poulin played a fantastic game against Winnipeg while Evegeni Nabakov took his much-needed break. The team needs to push themselves desperately, especially on home ice. The team needs to focus on their mindset, as confidence seems to be a factor.
Another key element would be the young up-and comer Tavares. With his 4 goals and 7 assists this season, the Canadian born player believes the Islanders can make it to the playoffs this season. The player has a great way of predicting plays and is constantly changing his game, which makes him a lethal adversary.no comments
As I wrote yesterday the Kontinental Hockey League was expected to suspend Lubomir Visnovsky if he didn’t report to the New York Islanders’ training camp on Monday. As expected Visnovsky didn’t show up, instead he was seen on the bus with his KHL team on their way to Prague for their game tonight. A game that he will not be able to play in.
Following his absence to the deadline the Islanders had set for him to report to camp, the KHL was forced to suspend him from playing another game in their league. The suspension will last until a resolution is found with the NHL and the Islanders. A solution that may have been found a lot sooner than may have been previously thought.
Earlier tweeted Visnovsky’s agent tweeted that his client “looks forward to reporting to the New York Islanders after tending to “personal reasons” which have kept him from reporting.” Also earlier today, Arthur Stape, tweeted that these “personal reasons” may take up to 2-3 weeks to resolve, but after which the expectation is that Visnovsky will indeed report.
Can this story have a happy ending after all?
Islanders Suspend Two
The New York Islanders announced the suspension of forwards Josh Bailey and Jesse Joensuu due to their injuries suffered while playing overseas. The suspension is a surprise to no one, and will be lifted once the two get over their respective knee and groin issues. All this means is that the Islanders don’t have to pay the two forwards until they pass their physicals.
Islanders Stack Up On Defense
Through the last two days the Islanders have made two additions to their roster, claiming defensemen Joe Finley and Thomas Hickey on waivers.
Other than being defensemen, and both being first round picks, the similarities pretty much come to a screeching halt there. Joe Finley, drafted as the 27th overall pick by the Washington Capitals in the 2005 NHL Draft, is 6’8” and over 250 lbs. He’s a big body, he’s very physical, and has very capable skating and passing ability for a player his size. Early indications are that he’ll be utilized as the physical presence needed in Bridgeport to help protect the prospects developing there, and as a backup to Matt Carkner in case of injury.
Thomas Hickey on the other hand is pretty much the opposite; he’s 5’11” and 190 lbs. for one thing. He was drafted 4th overall by the Los Angeles Kings in the 2007 NHL Draft. His talent analysis states his strong suits as his skating, confidence on and off the ice, and leadership (he was an alternate captain for the Manchester Monarchs). Some suggest that Bridgeport Sound Tigers head coach Scott Pellerin, who was an assistant coach for the Monarchs prior to being hired by the Sound Tigers, may have had a strong say in the claim being made by the organization. He also possesses great on-ice vision, very good ability at moving the puck out of his own zone, and strong potential to become a future power-play quarterback. Biggest downside, he’s had to deal with a few injury problems here and there that have shortened a few seasons. However he’s 100% healthy now and he’s currently viewed as a low risk, high reward claim by the organization.
First Line RW Named
Throughout the summer, and the lockout, there has been speculation on who would accompany John Tavares and Matt Moulson on the Islanders’ first line come opening day. Would it be the new guy Brad Boyes, the old friend Kyle Okposo, or another playmaker like Josh Bailey? Well Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano decided to end the speculation by officially naming Kyle Okposo the first line right winger to start the season.
Considering the circumstances of the short training camp and everything , this is to be expected. While I’m sure that there were some thoughts to throwing Brad Boyes in that mix, Josh Bailey was automatically out due to injury, this is the smartest choice. There isn’t enough time for Tavares and Moulson to get used to their new teammate with only 5 days of practices until game time, so going with the safe bet of Okposo, with whom they’ve played on two previous occasions, should be a surprise to no one.
However, expect Boyes to be the number one contender for the top line spot if Okposo doesn’t match expectations. With only 48 games in the season to decide the playoffs there’s no room for scoring droughts in your top line. It’s either produce or be demoted for the Islander forwards this season.
Some may remember that early on in the 2012 NHL Draft the Islanders announced a trade with the Anaheim Ducks for Lubomir Visnovsky in exchange for a second round pick. Following the trade, Visnovsky tried to take legal action to get the trade nullified, stating the case that he had a NTC in his contract, signed during his time with the Los Angeles Kings, and that with the Ducks GM not asking his permission to trade him to the Islanders his contractual rights had been violated. The court responded by saying that seeing as he’d been traded more than once since signing the NTC, and having done so without being requested permission from previous GMs, the clause was no longer in place.
Visnovsky’s agent, Neil Sheehy, at the time of the filing for arbitration was quoted as saying “If he loses he goes to the Islanders happy, and if he wins he goes back to the Ducks.” Well that no longer seems to be the case. With the lockout being over, the mass exodus of NHL players from European leagues had begun, and 99% of the players came back without headlines….enter the KHL.
Early on it seemed like there would be no problems with the exodus, all the players with NHL contracts playing in European leagues would come back, training camps would begin, and the 48-game season would commence as scheduled. Then reports started leaking that the KHL was offering a lot, and I mean A LOT, of money to NHL players playing in their leagues to stay there. Most players said “no thanks, I’ll be on my way”, but 2 did not. Lubomir Visnovsky and Ilya Kovalchuk stirred up some controversy as it seemed early on that they wanted to stay home.
Through his agent, Visnovsky stated that “his preference is to stay in Bratislava, but if the KHL says he can’t stay there, he’ll come and play for the Islanders”. Now the KHL has stated that they intend to honor the agreement with the NHL, which states that a player with an NHL contract can’t play in the KHL and vice-versa. However now they need to enforce that statement. Today marks the deadline for Visnovsky to report to the Islander training camp, and where’s the defenseman? Well he’s on the road…with his KHL team to their next game in Prague.
Kovalchuk stated that he only wanted to stay to play in the KHL all-star game, and is expected to report to the New Jersey Devils training camp on Wednesday. I’d expect Visnovsky to show up around the same time. Sooner or later the KHL’s hands will be forced to suspend Visnovsky from playing in their league, and Visnovsky will have no choice but to report to the Islanders or retire.
Update: Twitter reports have surfaced saying that the Islanders are expected to suspend Visnovsky today, and the KHL is expected to follow. If the KHL does suspend him, then it won't be long until he reports
With the second lockout in less then a decade practically here, the Islanders decided to make sure to get as much playing time as possible for as many players as possible. The biggest names on the list are Travis Hamonic, Nino Niederreiter, Casey Cizikas, Calvn de Haan, Matt Donovan, Kirill Kabanov, Brock Nelson, Aaron Ness, David Ullstrom, Kevin Poulin, and Anders Nilsson. All of the above had a chance to fight for an NHL role in training camp, but instead will find themselves battling for playing time in the AHL.
Whenever it is that the CBA situation is resolved, and the lockout comes to a close, expect Hamonic, Cizikas, and Donovan to be among the first to get the call-up.
The rest of the 24 that were sent down include Ty Wishart, Sean Backman, Matt Watkins, Nathan McIver, Colin McDonald, Marc Cantin, Jason Clark, Brandon DeFazio, Mike Halmo, Jon Landry, John Persson, Blair Riley, and Johan Sundstrom.
In other news, 2011 and 2012 first round picks, Ryan Strome and Griffin Reinhart were both sent to their respective CHL clubs. Not quite how the Islanders saw the Strome situation resolving I'd imagine.
On the day of the NHL draft the Islanders showed they meant business right away as they started the day off by trading their 2013 second round pick to the Ducks in return for arguably their best defenseman in Lubomir Visnovsky, who racked up points in 2010-11 by scoring 18 goals and 50 assists for a total of 68 points in 81 games. Last season wasn’t nearly as productive for “Lubo” who was nagged by injuries early on in the year, and could only manage 27 points in 68 games.
The Ducks were probably expecting last season to be the beginning of the end for Visnovsky’s career, however the Islanders are expecting otherwise as, along with Captain Mark Streit, the Islanders will possess quite the potent power play defensive line. Add John Tavares, Matt Moulson, and power play specialist Brad Boyes to the mix and power play coach Doug Weight is probably very anxious to get to work with this group.
I’m personally expecting the defensive lines to look something like this when the season commences:
Visnovsky – Hamonic
MacDonald – Streit
Carkner – Donovan/Ness/de Haan
While I’m not a huge fan of breaking up the tandem of Hamonic and MacDonald, there isn’t much choice in the matter as a tandem of Streit and Visnovsky would not leave much leeway for error in the Isles defensive zone. Hamonic would add the defensive potency Visnovsky lacks to his game, as well as pick up some tricks of the offensive trade from his experienced linemate. MacDonald and Streit have worked well together before, when A-Mac was just getting started in the NHL and Streit was his mentor, and there shouldn’t be much of a problem with the two working together again. Carkner will have the role of protector for the rookie who will almost certainly be getting the permanent call-up as the 6th defenseman on the roster. Whether it is Donovan, most likely of the candidates, Ness, or de Haan, opponents will more than likely be thinking twice of putting a big hit on the rookie with Carkner lurking close by. Carkner will also add some protection to the goalies, particularly DiPietro, who seemed to get run into a few times too often last season.no comments
Earlier today, PA Parenteau’s agent, Allan Walsh, tweeted that his client “will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st. This doesn’t necessarily mean that PA won’t be wearing blue and orange next season, however the chances are getting slimmer.
Parenteau’s unlikely return isn’t exactly breaking news to some as earlier this summer an article was published in which Snow declared that he had made a more then fair offer to PA but had it declined. Parenteau’s reason was believed to be that he thought that he could get more money and a longer term on July 1st, however if he doesn’t get the type of deal he’s looking for he will more than likely put pen to paper on Snow’s offer.
One of the teams that are deemed likely to land PA if he doesn’t re-sign are the Montreal Canadiens, looking to bring the Hull, Quebec native closer to home. The offers will also start flooding in once, top free agent, Zach Parise’s faith is decided as GMs will look to Parenteau to fill the remaining hole they have in their top 6.
If the Islanders aren’t able to re-sign Parenteau, they will be forced to find another RW to place on the first line along with Matt Moulson and John Tavares. The player will either come from free agency, trade, or inside the system as several candidates are available in each option.
Through free agency the biggest names are, Zach Parise, Alexander Semin, Jaromir Jagr, Shane Doan, and Dustin Penner. Out of the five the likeliest one to land would probably be either Semin or Doan as the rest are either likely to re-sign with their clubs before Sunday or will be looking to sign with teams that are closer to being legitimate Stanley Cup Contenders.
Via trade the biggest names are obviously Rick Nash and Bobby Ryan. Nash has a NTC (no-trade clause) on his contract and is very unlikely to drop the clause for a team like the Islanders. Ryan however may be interesting, he simply wants out of Anaheim so if the Islanders are willing to maybe slightly overpay for the very talented winger there might be a chance that Long Island is his next stop. However, Garth Snow has never been one to overpay for a player, especially if it interferes with his beloved rebuild so fans should keep their expectations low when it comes to the trade route.
The “inside the system” route is one of the less interesting yet likelier routes as the names are mostly down to Kyle Okposo, as a power forward he would give the line an intensity and physicality its lacking, and also the only player on the team to have also played on the first line before and produced quite well. The other player, and this is mostly just my opinion, is Josh Bailey. Bailey showed late last season that he will produce best a playmaking winger, much like PA, and is the best choice if Capuano chooses to try to fill the hole with another Parenteau type of player. There’s very little doubt in my mind that Bailey would be successful on that line and is the best the Islanders have when it comes to emulating Parenteau’s play and influence on the first line.In other news, the Islanders made their qualifying offers to their restricted free agents today. Offers were made to Matt Martin, Justin Dibenedetto, Mark Katic, Rhett Rakhshani, Mikko Koskinen, Tomas Marcinko, Ty Wishart, and Sean Backman. Tyler McNeely, Tony Romano, Yuri Alexandrov, and Yannick Reindeau were the four players that were released. no comments
On draft day, the New York Islanders were the first ones to make an impact as almost immediately following the drafting of Nail Yakupov as the first overall pick, it was announced that the Islanders had traded their 2013 second round pick to the Anaheim Ducks for veteran defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky.
The following day, an article started making the rounds in which Visnovsky, in an interview with a European newspaper, stated "I get offers from Russia and I think about them.” Fans were, as to be expected, shocked at these comments and everyone wondered if this was going to be a sort of Evgeni Nabokov repeat, where the player is, in Visnovsky’s case, traded for but doesn’t report to the team.
However, earlier today Arthur Staple of Newsday took it upon himself to personally call the Slovakian defenseman and find out the full story. Visnovsky stated that the famed interview had actually taken place before the trade itself, and he’d been asked about whether he’d play in the KHL or Slovakia in case of yet another lockout. He confirmed to all fans that he would be present at training camp, and stated that “this is my first choice, to play for the Islanders.”
The 35 year old, 36 in August, has a cap hit of $5.6 million, but only a $3 million salary in the last year of his contract. Visnovsky will give a definite boost to the Islanders power play, take some of the pressure off of Islander captain Mark Streit, and also helps the Islanders fill one of the defensive holes as it seems obvious that Mark Eaton, Milan Jurcina, and Steve Staios (now a front office employee of the Toronto Maple Leafs) will not be back next season.
The Islanders will likely fill the other two spots left on the blue line with one free agent signing, and the promotion of one of Matt Donovan, Aaron Ness, and/or Calvin de Haan with Donovan and Ness the likeliest candidates. After said promotion and signing the Islanders defense should look something like this:
A major improvement from last year’s:
Eaton Staios/Jurcinano comments