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http://www.islandershockeyblog.com/2013-articles/january/islanders-update-11513.htmlVisnovsky to Return?
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. ]]>firstname.lastname@example.org (Roberto Scalia)January Wed, 16 Jan 2013 06:15:38 +0000Islanders Are Back… So Is The Lubo Drama
http://www.islandershockeyblog.com/2013-articles/january/islanders-are-back-so-is-the-lubo-drama.htmlSome 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 ]]>email@example.com (Roberto Scalia)January Mon, 14 Jan 2013 16:21:41 +0000