There were two pleasant surprises from last nights game, Seeing Martin Biron back in net and win and the outstanding effort by rookie Matt Martin, who recorded his first career NHL points in last nights win. "early on I had some butterflies," confessed Martin. " As soon as you get in the rhythm of the game it's just the same game, just a little quicker."
Martin got 14:41 worth of playing time last night , saw power play time and was "elevated" to the first unit by coach Scott Gordon. His biggest asset last night was his ability to make plays, including his feed to Mark Striet to tie the game at three, and his ability to get in front of the net. That was actually the first thing Scott Gordon noticed when he went to see Bridgeport play two weeks ago. "Here he is with two assists and getting the opportunity in his first NHL game to be the power play it says allot," Gordon commented after the game. "There's to much value to have that net presence for any player."
For Biron his start tonight may have been his last in an Islanders uniform. He spent the weekend fine tuning his skills down in Bridgeport for a conditional stint with minor league club. "The last week in Bridgeport was exactly what I needed," Biron revealed after the game. "I went there I had two full days of practice in one net and you take all the shots and you get yourself ready." That's something Biron has not had in awhile, Marty has been viewing games mostly from the press box since the return of Rick Dipietro and has been sharing a net with Dipietro and Roloson during practice. The trip to the AHL was something Biron felt was good for him to get back in game shape. "The American league is not that far off from the NHL," Biron said when asked about his stint in Bridgeport. "The speed of the game is almost there."
For both, Tuesday night's win was something that has boosted their confidence as well as the teams. "Its huge for him, he hasn't played an NHL game in a while," Martin said while talking about Biron. "He came in tonight and played pretty good game. I'm sure it's good for his confidence to get a win in here tonight." As for his own confidence he is not lacking any. "I felt really confident in my game and felt I could be an NHLer and play at this level.no comments
It took the Islanders eight games to finally play the desperate hockey they needed to win. They put Martin Biron in net and brought up Matt Martin and Jessie Joensuu to try and jump start the offensively struggling team.
The first started out uneventful and slow for the Islanders, who only recorded 3 shots on goal in the fist. Biron, who faced nine shots in the first, showed some rust periodically, including on one shot which nearly went in after Biron got a piece of the shot. It managed to fly just over the top of the net.
The second would mark the true awakening of the Isles. "he second period on was good except for the turn over's," Scott Gordon said after the game. The Islanders had several opportunities to score, including one by Andy Sutton which just went high above the net. However the Islanders would get on the board 5:10 into the second by a goal from Freddy Meyer. That would Meyer's second goal of the season giving the Islanders the 1-0 lead. Nashville would come right back just 5 minutes later after Biron made an initial save as he fell to the ice. As one of his defenseman went to clear it away, they swept it right to Cal O'Reilly who tied it up at one. Three minutes later the Islanders gave the puck up during a line change, giving Joel Ward a break away. Ward would beat Biron to give Nashville the 2-1 lead and Andy Sutton slammed his stick in frustration. The Islanders would get a break during the closing minutes of the second, Shea Weber got called for cross checking. The Islanders were able to capitalize on the late power play when Bruno Gervais scored his second goal of the season with help of rookie call up Matt Martin, who got his first NHL point.
The third did not start off well for the Islanders, Blake Comeau got called for cross checking just 1:51 into the third and at 4:12 the Predators had regained the lead off of a power play goal by Steve Sullivan. A deflated Islanders home crowd saw the minutes tick away and as the one minute warning sounded many had started to get their coats on and gather their things to head home. Then at the 19:14 mark the Islander caught their biggest break yet, Nashville's Martin Erat took a boarding penalty to give the Isles the man advantage. The Islanders made them pay, with just eleven seconds remaining on the clock, Mark Striet blasted one from the blue line and past Rinne to tie the game. "It was a very exciting part of the game," Marty Biron explained after the game. "It feels like you just scored an overtime game winner in the playoffs."
The overtime period brought nothing, so they went to the shootout. Frans Nielson would use his patent signature move to beat Rinne. Rinne and Biron would stop the next two shooters giving with the Islanders still up by one. Biron had a chance to end it with a save on Martin Erat, but failed on to poke the puck away and left an open net to score on. John Tavares would get that goal right back and Biron would make the following save to end the game. "In the shootout you get antsy and do things you realize you shouldn't have done," Biron explained with a smile on his face. "But JT [John Tavares] scored a big goal after that and defiantly that second time I wasn't gunna try anything crazy out there and it worked a little better."
The Islanders snap their losing streak at seven and are still just five points out of a playoff spot. They have a game tonight against a tough Penguins team who beat them 5-4 in their last meeting and the have two more home games before stepping away for the Olympic break. The win last night could give the Islanders the confidence to go into the break on high note. About last night's win, Marty Biron said, "this was something that could switch the momentum on our side."no comments
Last night's 3-1 loss to the hurricanes, their seventh straight loss, was over shadowed by the re ignition of the Lighthouse Drama. Owner Charles Wang gave a brief state of the Islanders/Lighthouse address to Howie Rose during the first intermission. Wang, who still hopes it can get done in Nassau, told the MSG plus broadcaster, "We haven't heard. I have an application into the town. Tell me yes or tell me no. If it's no, tell me what you want. It's very simple."
Unfortunately in the mist of an exciting season we are now forced to welcome back the Lighthouse saga. Town Spokesman, Mike Deery fired back in an article in Newsday saying, "For the Lighthouse folks or Mr. Wang to say he hasn't heard from us is right because we're waiting for answers from him." He went on to say, "the ball's in his court. They have an outstanding balance with the consultant, and there are unanswered questions that the Lighthouse group is aware of."
Yes I think we are all aware about the billing dispute between the town's consultant, FP Clark, and the Lighthouse Group. However what we did not know was that the new County Executive has reached out to Charles Wang. According to Islanders Point Blank Charles Wang received word from Ed Mangano, but has not returned his call. A report that contradicts what Wang said in his interview during last night's game.
The cats out the bag now, the war is back on, and Islanders fans and Lighthouse supporters should hunker down for what is expected to be one of the more vicious parts of this long battle. Expect to see more back in fourth in the press from the Town and the Lighthouse. Even though the LDG has put in place a policy of media black out, they will eventually be forced to respond to a comment by the Town of Hempstead.
So here we stand, the same place we were in October. While many criticized the media black out, I applaud it. Since October we have managed to take the emphasis off the Lighthouse and onto Hockey, the way it's suppose to be. So of course when the Islanders are playing their worst hockey of the season this Lighthouse nonsense has come back, doesn't it just figure. There is a saying that goes; theres one side of a story and there is the other side and then there is the truth. We'll we've heard both sides, now we need just need the truth.
STUPID COMMENT OF THE DAY
This comment comes from Islanders Point Blank made by estonhockey: In some ways I hope Wang never gets his MINI City. If he does, he will be the Islanders owner for another 15 years. My goodness can you imagine. Ive never seen a sports owner who embraces losing like Charles Wang. Wang thinks being in last place is doing “great..everyting is on schedule”. Maybe it has to do with growing up in China, maybe in China sports is not very big, or they place a different emphasis on WINNING. But to me, Wang is happy as Isles owner cause he has players who he thinks are his friends….not to sound “mean” but the guy is simply not your typical American sports fan who gets upset at losing.no comments
Oh boy, the Islanders lost their third straight game against the Hurricanes. Again missing an opportunity to jump to sixth place in the east. Boy the Islanders decide to lose at the worst times. Just as the NY hockey media was trying to decide whether they want to jump on the Islanders band wagon. WFAN even sent a reporter down to North Carolina to call in reports to the 20/20 sports update. So frustrating, but today we will take a more upbeat approach jumping around from intermediating topic to interesting topic.
The John Tavares we don't know
It was a pleasant surprise to see the new face of the Islanders, John Tavares, grace to front cover of today's Newsdaysports section. The full page feature took a look at the life off the rink that the fans do not get to see. From his time spent living at the Weight's household, his development into a star and his relationship with teammate and mentor Doug Weight. The interesting and sometimes funny article gives a personal look at John.
We now see the numerous roles John has, hockey star, teammate, video game lover, big brother and peace keeper. Fans can now see that the serious, all business John Tavares is equally balanced by a fun loving, teenage John Tavares. Like a regualar member of the Weight family, John is like the older brother or that crazy uncle we all have. Not to mention he's a competitor in NHL 10, no matter how old you are. Just another prime example of how hockey players may just be the most down to earth people.
If pigs fly
The New York Post is reporting an "eastern" team is in the hunt for Ilya Kovalchuk and mentions the Islanders somewhere in the article. Columnist Larry Brooks was the first to report that Islanders GM Garth Snow made an inquiry into Kovalchuk.
Tough Guy, Trevor Gillies arrived o join the Islanders in Philadelphia after signing an NHL contract yesterday with the team. The 6'3, 220 pound, Gillies racked up 123 penalty minutes (ranked 13th in the AHL) and has a goal in 18 games. Sound Tigers beat reporter, Michael Fornabaio, had this to say about Gillies; tough as advertised. Not many of those PIMs by accident. Turns 31 Saturday; knows his way around. Good teammate, well-respected around the league. The soon to 31 year old is sure to add toughness, especially since the Isles will face a very gritty Philadelphia Flyers team on Saturday.
The other day I mentioned two possible trade options for the Islanders in the wake of losing Jack Hillen. Here is Hockey Bay Blog's thoughts on a possible trade with the Isles for David Hale;
I think a trade would be very possible as Hale has been edged out of the Lightning lineup recently. He has been sent down to the Norfolk Admirals for a 2 week conditioning assignment as he has been a healthy scratch lately on the Lightning as other defencemen have been playing better. In addition, if Paul Ranger returns to the line up soon (has been away on personal leave), the Lightning will be looking to move some of their surplus defencemen. As for what they would want for in return, well as long as you gift wrap it nicely, the Lightning management wouldn't know the difference between a bag of pucks and a good deal, either way, they'd just waive the player eventually.
As for a deal with Edmonton here is Low On Oil to explain; I haven't heard the Islanders mentioned in any potential Oilers trades yet. The Oilers are in sell mode with names like Moreau, Staios, Visnvosky, Souray, Cogliano, Nilsson, and Horcoff frequently named.Now, Horcoff's contract makes him completely unmovable. Moreau and Staios probably have negative trade value given their age, contracts, and performance.Souray's children live in Los Angeles with his ex-wife and he has a no-trade clause until July 1st, so it's more likely that he would head to Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose, or Dallas if he's traded before this year's trade deadline (march 3).The Islanders have an extra goalie with Dipietro back and there were some previous rumors that the Oilers might be interested in Biron. However, the Oilers won't likely pick up a goaltender this season any more. Both Deslauriers and Dubnyk are pretty mediocre, but they are getting evaluated while the Oilers head to a top 3 draft pick.
Bobby Hughs criminal case
Last and certainly least, Bridgeport Sound Tiger, Robert "Bobby" Hughes turned down a plea deal in his criminal sex act case in Albany. The deal would have had him plead guilty to committing a third-degree criminal sex act in October 2008. He declined however because he feels that no crime occurred. Hughes was arrested in November in Bridgeport following a game at the Arena at Harbor Yards and could face up 25 years in prison if convicted.