Wednesday, February 29, 2012

There's Still Optimism To Look For In The Islanders

     Having been on vacation all of last week, watching the trade deadline come and go (Isles fans should thank Boston fans when you see them) and watching the Islanders lose a heart breaker to the Caps last night, the feeling around the web was one of a lot of questioning and doubt. Why Neilson  took the faceoff and not Reasoner; why is Reasoner still on this team if not used in the right situation, like last night; Bailey trying to do too much; Capuano's decision making etc. When you sum it all up it's called growing pains and that's what the Islanders are going through right now, even the coach. Everyone will learn from this mistake(s) and hopefully move on. I'm sure Islanders fans have seen enough of this year that most are happy for spring training but I wouldn't put away your Islanders gear just yet. There is a combo that people should look at for the remainder of the year which may be a good sign in 2012-13: Josh Bailey and David Ullstrom.
     I'm not sure if people have seen the stats on these two, but when Ullstrom and Bailey are on the ice together, it makes you wonder what could have been if Ullstrom were here all year long playing with Bailey. In the 15 games both Ullstrom and Bailey have played together the Islanders are 6-5-4. Ullstrom has 2 goals, 2 assists for 4 points, while Bailey has 3 goals 4 assists for 7 points. That's almost a point every two games for Bailey, imagine a full season? Now by no means am I proclaiming the Islanders have solved the secondary scoring, but fans need to see if this duo can continue this nice pace for the remainder of the season and with Frans Neilsen playing center for a little while, it may have been that Bailey just lacked the talent around him to support the third line all of this year. Having said that, I would not be against sending Cizikas down to Bridgeport and having Nino Neiderrieter on the third line with Ullstrom and Bailey for the remainder of this year, just to witness. I also wouldn't mind seeing Bailey on the second power play unit and maybe contributing more from that end. The playoffs may be a stretch, but for me, 85-88 points is still a reachable goal if Bailey and Ullstrom can find and bring some needed support to the first two lines.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Eaton Demanded Trade

I would have to find a you tube link, but it came from Dennis Potvin during the Senators/Islanders game that I overheard. He basically said that Eaton has demanded a trade from the Islanders. Unfortunately that's all I have, but I do know that some of the Canadian media had put Eaton as a trade possibility. It also makes sense with Ty Wishart up on Long Island. If Eaton were to be traded (probably for a draft pick) and Travis Hamonic returns from injury, Aaron Ness would be the only one sent down and Wishart could be here for the remainder of the season. Thoughts?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Isles Big Week

     So since my last post, the Islanders have gone 3-3. The good side to that is having the Islanders six points out of  a playoff spot with plenty of time left in this season. In my opinion, the Islanders should have been buyers three weeks ago. Instead, they have made call-up after call-up hoping for a spark or just filling in for an injured player. The Islanders are down to one week to determine if they'll be buyers or sellers, but it will probably take a 3-0 or an 2-0-1 record to really make a case for Garth Snow to add payroll.
     What position should the Isles improve on? Who will be given up to get that player? Well that really depends on the this week, the next two days to be exact. With games against Ottawa and Buffalo coming up, the Islanders need to win both to make Snows decision an easier one. Give up a draft pick or two and get whoever is needed to make that push for the playoffs. Keep Parenteau, Nabokov and the rest of the vets and really put it together in March, then deal with contracts later. I don't care if the Islanders play the Rangers in the first round, actually, I would welcome that. There is nothing like a little television exposure and playing in New York City for a couple of days would be perfect to get some bigger, nationwide exposure for these young Islanders.
     The harder questions will arise if the Islanders lose the next two games. Yes, they could be sellers, but who really goes? Parenteau is now the number one favorite forward amongst other GM's  in the League, what kind of a price tag could he fetch? Nabokov certainly would be of interest to other teams, even Mark Eaton could be had for a decent 5th rounder (sarcasm).  With payroll being as low as it is, I would imagine that Snow would want a player in return, at least for Parenteau, maybe Nabokov. All these rumors, questions and conspiracy theories will be answered soon enough, especially if the Islanders could take the next two games. For now, they're in the playoff hunt. It's been a while since most Isles fans could be able to say that. It starts against Ottawa tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

The Hockey News' Boylen: Four GMs given an unnecessarily hard time

The Hockey News' Boylen: Four GMs given an unnecessarily hard time

Snow has built through the draft, but it remains to be seen what comes from drafting them. We'll probably get a better glimpse starting in this years playoff push in Bridgeport and on the Isles team next year. As far as diamonds in the rough, some of those diamonds are now part of a young core that is going to be here for a while and prosper on the Island.

Don't forget to follow me @Netminder39

Nielsen Signs Four More

From New York

The New York Islanders announced today that Frans Nielsen has agreed to terms on a four-year contract extension. Nielsen’s new deal extends through the 2015-16 season.
“We’re thrilled that Frans has committed to the Islanders for the next four years,” Islanders General Manager Garth Snow said.  “He has been a key part of our young core for the past six seasons and become one of the better two-way forwards in the league.”
That takes care of any and all Nielsen rumors. Nice to see him signed and on board. The Islanders now have Parenteau and the older veterans to work with, but signing Nielsen helps with stabilizing the organization.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Aaron Ness Called Up

Aaron Ness Called Up

This should be an interesting sight to see. I'm not doubting Ness and his speed nor vision, but his size will certainly be a concern. However, he has a booming shot, which may prove useful. We'll find out tomorrow against Philly.

Nielsen Could Be Odd Man Out, Nabokov to Detroit?

From the Ottawa Sun:

Isles GM Garth Snow has been busy working the phones. He’s fielding offers for G Evgeni Nabokov, along with RW P.A. Parenteau and C Frans Nielsen. Sources say the Isles have held talks with Parenteau and Nielsen, but it’s likely they both won’t be kept. Expect the club to sign Parenteau and move Nielsen.

From ESPN on Nabokov to Detroit.
BURNSIDE: You are right about the Red Wings’ goaltending depth issues. Conklin has played in only 10 games this season and has an .886 save percentage. Even though Howard’s injury doesn’t sound that serious long-term, do you think this hastens the urgency to find a more suitable backup for the Red Wings? It was GM Ken Holland, after all, who tried to nab Nabokov a year ago when the former San Jose mainstay cut short his experience in the Kontinental Hockey League. The New York Islanders grabbed him, however, and Nabokov has been OK with a pretty mediocre Islanders squad. But he’s not the long-term answer there. (Kevin Poulin appears to be the heir apparent with Al Montoya still looking to get a shot at the No. 1 job, too.) So, Nabokov to Detroit does seem a logical move and perhaps even more so with Friday's news.
Also around the Internet, Staios, and Eaton are available, but those were gimmes. I've said this before, If the Islanders are still in contention, no one will be traded. But to play along for a moment, this will be a very interesting trade deadline for the Islanders. Would they really trade Neilsen? Personally I see both Parenteau and Neilsen resigned, but if a trade were to occur, I would hope for a player in return and not another pick. The only exceptions would be of the older free agents, including Nabokov.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Rumor: Isles Should Go After Wolski

I see a potential problem for the New York Rangers, something that the Islanders faced in the beginning of this season: Possibly losing a player to the waiver wire. Garth Snow could not trade Blake Comeau for a bag of pucks, no less a draft pick. So they had to put him on waivers, only for him to be picked up by the Calgary Flames, thus losing a third line forward. Granted, Comeau did nothing for the Islanders this year, but neither has anyone else on the third line.

Enter Wojtek Wolski, a player who has not seen a lot of time on a stacked Rangers team due to a groin injury and quite frankly has not developed a role with that team. His contract is big for a 25 year old (4 million per), so the Rangers hope is that he'll clear waivers and spend the rest of the season on the Connecticut Whale AHL team. If the Islanders want to make a push for a playoff spot, then they should pick him off waivers. A few reasons why:

1. Wolski can score. He's put up decent numbers in the NHL and like a few other players the Isles have on this team, he may just need a change of scenery and some real playing time. Plus with a young team, he may be more inspired to pick up his game. The Islanders could use more help in the scoring department then relying on just the first line and power play unit.

2. His salary. Yes it's 4 million, but if the Isles are out of the playoffs by the end of February, Garth Snow has more flexibility in payroll and could possibly move a few more players at the deadline.

3. He'll replace at least Tim Wallace in the lineup, who also has not scored a goal this year. I know most would love to see him replace Rolston, but that's up to the coach.

4. If Wolski does not perform well, the Islanders can release him in the off season. If he does find success on the Island, he would be at least 4 million to resign (probably for 1 year, see Grabner, Parenteau) so the Isles could reach the cap floor easier without getting Scott Gomez in the offseason and/or struggling/failing to make an attempt to get Dustin Penner.

5. It's the waiver wire, why wouldn't the Islanders. We've seen this before haven't we (Grabner)?

6. It would be nice to see the Islanders brass at least make some kind of an attempt to improve the roster this year to show fans that management is trying to improve the team during the season, not just in the summer.

So I'm gonna go out on a limb and say the Islanders will take a stab at Wojtek Wolski if/when he goes on the waiver wire by the Rangers.

Isles To Play In Brooklyn; Tavares Gets Star Of The Month

From New York

The National Hockey League announced today that New York Islanders center John Tavares was named the First Star of the Month for January, 2012.

Tavares, 21, led the league in scoring last month with nine goals and 13 assists for 22 points. He recorded a point in 12-of-13 Islanders games and had a hand in 62.9% of the team’s goals (22 points on 35 goals). Tavares’ month also included four game-winning goals to help his club to a 7-5-1 record.

This is just a taste of things to come Islanders fans. It's only going to get better because Tavares is going to get better. The Islanders are now going to be in the spotlight more often from here on out, and eventually, the free agents will come.

Also from New York

The New York Islanders will play the first-ever NHL game at Barclays Center on Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 when they take on the New Jersey Devils at 7:30 p.m. The preseason game will mark the first hockey event at Barclays Center, the new major sports and entertainment venue, which will officially open on September 28 with the first of multiple JAY-Z concerts.  The game will also mark the first NHL game to be played in Brooklyn.

“We’re extremely excited to play the first NHL game in the new, state-of-the-art Barclays Center,” Islanders General Manager Garth Snow said.  “We already have some of the most passionate fans in the league supporting our young team, and we are looking forward to expanding our base into Brooklyn.”

“We feel Brooklyn is an untapped hockey market that offers the Islanders with an exciting opportunity to grow its fan base,” Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark said. “Barclays Center will also afford current Islander fans with great accessibility, as the Long Island Rail Road and nine subway lines will come directly to the arena at the Atlantic Terminal transit hub.”

 I'm personally going to go to this game, just to check out the new arena, however, I'm not going to get too excited about the Islanders playing regular season games there. I found this great article by Stu Hackel  that basically shuts the door on the Islanders ever moving to Brooklyn when the Islanders lease is up in 2015. The Islanders are only looking to expand the fan base, and they have Tavares to showcase. 

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