Archive | January 2015

New York Islanders Mid-Season Report Cards

By Mike Basile

The Islanders are off to a hot start this season. They’re in first place in the Metropolitan Division headed into the all star break. Here’s my mid-season grades for the team.

Forwards
John Tavares (21 G, 24 A, 45 pts)- The captain has been on and off all season, but when you need a goal he is always there for you, he is second in the NHL with 5 game winning goals. He is starting to heat up again with 6 points in his last three games. One big concern for me is he takes some bad penalties. Your captain can not be doing that. Grade: B+

Kyle Okposo (14 G, 30 A, 44 points)- Okposo is also coming on of late he has 5 goals and 7 points in his last three games. He is starting to find his game again and that chemistry we all know he has with John Tavares. With these two heating up this team gets even more dangerous. Grade: B+

Ryan Strome ( 8 G, 25 A, 33 points)- When Ryan Strome is on the ice, good things happen, and his +16 shows that. It seems like whatever line he moves to has a ton of success. His on ice vision is great and it doesn’t hurt that he has a wicked shot as well. Grade: A-

Brock Nelson (15 G, 15 A, 30 points)- Brock Nelson makes a living in front of the net, and it shows on the powerplay as he has 9 of his 15 goals when on a man advantage. He is very strong on the puck and is still maturing. He can very quickly turn in to one of the most dangerous players in the NHL. Grade: B+

Frans Nielsen (9 G, 16 A, 25 points)- Frans Nielsen has one of the toughest jobs of all players, as almost every shift you will see him out against the other team’s top players. He is very skilled defensively and his 25 points are really helping the secondary scoring for this team. Grade: B

Josh Bailey (8 G, 13 A, 21 points)- Bailey looks to be a fit on that top line with John Tavares and Kyle Okposo. He has 6 points in his last three games and his 21 points this season came in only 34 appearances. It seems like Josh Bailey is finding himself. Grade: B

Nikolay Kulemin (11 G, 9 A, 20 points)- Kulemin has been a great addition to the New York Islanders team. He is great on the penalty kill and has three shorthanded goals. Very good third line player who is also heating up to add to the secondary scoring. Grade: B

Anders Lee (13 G, 5 A, 18 points)- Anders is a player you love to have on your team, he is gritty, works hard and loves to score those dirty goals in front of the net. He also has five game winning goals this season which is 2nd in the NHL. Grade: B+

Mikhail Grabovski (6 G, 8 A, 14 points)- Grabovski has been one of the biggest disappointments on the team this season. Failing to hit the net on good scoring opportunities and making bad decisions with the puck leaves him with only 14 points. He will need to step up if he wants to stay in the lineup. Grade: C-

Casey Cizikas (4 G, 6 A, 10 points)- Cizikas is quietly having a pretty good season. He isn’t a player who is going to go out and get points every night and even gets looked over on the 4th line because of Martin and Clutterbuck leading the league in hits. He does his job on the penalty kill and is one of the team’s best faceoff men. Grade: B-

Cal Clutterbuck (4 G, 5 A, 9 points)- Cal is second in the league in hits and according to Don Cherry is a part of the “best fourth line in NHL history.” I’d like to see him contribute more offensively because I feel like he has the skill to put up a 30 point season. Grade: C+

Matt Martin (6 G, 2 A, 8 points)- Martin leads the league in hits…… again. He is one of the best enforcers in the NHL and knows how to spark the team when they need some momentum. Grade: B-

Michael Grabner (4 G, 2 A, 6 points)- Grabner has six points in 12 games this season. He has come on pretty strong after missing most of the season with an injury. His best asset is his penalty kill, but with the speed he has, he is always dangerous. It would be unfair to grade him through only 12 games.

Defense
Johnny Boychuk (4 G, 18 A, 22 points)- Boychuk has been another great addition to the team. Johnny has one of the hardest shots in the league and is very dangerous on the power play. Did I mention he is also a +15? Grade: B+

Nick Leddy (7 G, 14 A, 21 points)- Boychuk’s defensive partner has also been a great add to the squad. With 7 goals this season he is a big help to the forwards. Him and Boychuk are a combined +25 this season, which is new for isles defensemen. Grade: B+

Thomas Hickey (2 G, 13 A, 15 points)- Thomas Hickey’s size is really starting to show. When him and Visnovsky are on the ice, they can’t win puck battles in the corner and allow the other team to works in their defensive zone. He is helping out offensively, but has to be stronger on the puck. Grade: C–

Lubomir Visnovsky (3 G, 8 A, 11 points)- Much like Hickey, his size also shows defensively. His 11 points in 29 games is good for a defensemen, but his first responsibility is defense and sometimes us fans question that. Grade: C

Travis Hamonic (3 G, 8 A, 11 points)- Hamonic goes up against top line forwards every night and is still an impressive +4. I would like for him to stay out of the box, but can’t complain much with his play. Grade: B

Calvin De Hann (1 G, 10 A, 11 points)- Calvin also pairs up with Hamonic to play against top tier forwards. This is a very tough task for the young d-man, but he holds his own and plays very steady defense. Grade: B-

Brian Strait (1 G 3 A 4 points)- The scapegoat of the islanders defense. Every time something goes wrong it is very easy for fans and the media to claim that it’s Strait’s fault. He is not great, but Capuano plays him way too much and that hurts him a lot. Grade: D+

Goalies
Jaroslav Halak (24-9-0)- Jaro has a 2.41 goals against average and a 91.0% save percentage. Halak has been shaky in his past couple of games, but this break may be what the doctor ordered. He has been a rock in goal for the isles this season overall. His 4 shutouts are also very impressive. Grade: A-

Jaroslav Halak and John Tavares have been a huge part of the Islanders success this season. (Via Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Jaroslav Halak and John Tavares have been a huge part of the Islanders success this season. (Via Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Chad Johnson (6-5-0)- Johnson has a 3.38 goals against average and an 87.0% save percentage. Do I have to say anything? I understand he is the backup, but this is unacceptable. The team has lost faith in him and jaro cannot play every day. He needs to pick it up next start. Grade: F

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Islanders-Rangers Preview

By Jack Allen

Hockey is alive in New York. It has been quite a long time since the Islanders visited Madison Square Garden (MSG) and ticket prices were this high. Ever since 1993, the Islanders haven’t been this relevant and have not won a playoff series. The Rangers have won a Stanley Cup and have been there twice (1994 & 2014). The Rangers have stayed relevant to this day. The Islanders on the other hand, hasn’t been this good in over 20 years. The NYI/NYR rivalry is back. The 1st place Islanders visit MSG tonight with a chip on their shoulder to prove they’re the best team in NY. I can’t remember personally in my life ever hearing more hype for an Islander game in the regular season at this point. Halak vs Lundqvist and Nash vs Tavares, will be fun to watch. Tune in tonight at 7:00 EST. Finally my prediction: 3-2 Islanders in OT.

The Isles and Rangers will duke it out tonight at 7pm (Via AP)

The Isles and Rangers will duke it out tonight at 7pm (Via AP)


Jack Allen is a writer for dabuzzza.com. He is a fan of the New York Mets, New York Islanders, New York Knicks, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Mariners, Queens Park Rangers, and West Virginia Mountaineer football and basketball. His favorite athletes are David Wright, John Tavares, Geno Smith, Allen Iverson and Charlie Austin. He is a very passionate and determined fan. You can follow him on twitter @JackAllen99.

New York Jets Questions to Answer

By Jack Allen

In the beginning of the “Rex Ryan era” in New York the Jets were always in the mix for a playoff spot and a possible Super Bowl run, but now a lot has changed. The 4-12 Jets fired their head coach and general manager Rex Ryan and John Idzik. Woody Johnson simply said, “We’re in the winning business, and were not winning.” John Idzik was the main person everyone wanted gone. He failed to inherit enough free agents in the offseason for the defense when he had 20 million dollars in cap space. Yes thats right, 20 MILLION! Still though, after a surprising 8-8 season in 2013, the hopes were high for the Jets. But, a tough schedule eventually led to their downfall. Now here come the questions of much uncertainty. After starting quarterback Geno Smith led them to a very disappointing season the Jets don’t know who their QB may be. Michael Vick? Geno Smith? Maybe the two studs from Florida State and Oregon. Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota will certainly be taken by NY with the 6th pick in the draft (if they are still available). The likelihood of this is slim, and so if they really want to draft either quarterback, they will have to trade up picks. The Jets must pick up some players to fill their secondary, which was horrible this season. And lastly a head coach and general manager. In my opinion, firing Rex Ryan was a fatal mistake. Rex was well respected and loved by everyone in the Jets locker room. It’s not his fault due to the roster given to him this year being extremely weak and not good enough to win. With a good defensive core he got them to the AFC Championship game, TWICE. If you give him a team, he’ll perform. With Rex gone, its going to be hard for some of the veterans on this team to get used to a new leader for them. One thing is for certain: the Rex Ryan era is officially over in New York.

 

 

UPDATE: Rex Ryan has signed a five year, $27.5M deal with the Buffalo Bills, according to sources

Rex Ryan was fired by the Jets (Via Getty)

Rex Ryan was fired by the Jets (Via Getty)


Jack Allen is a writer for dabuzzza.com. He is a fan of the New York Mets, New York Islanders, New York Knicks, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Mariners, Queens Park Rangers, and West Virginia Mountaineer football and basketball. His favorite athletes are David Wright, John Tavares, Geno Smith, Allen Iverson and Charlie Austin. He is a very passionate and determined fan. You can follow him on twitter @JackAllen99.

Studs and Duds: NFL Regular Season

By Brett Malamud

The regular season has come and gone, and teams begin to look forward to the playoffs. However, we’ll take a step back. There were many highs and lows this season, and that leads us to this season’s final edition of Studs and Duds:

Stud: Dallas Cowboys records

The Cowboys made Jerry Jones one happy man this season. Running back DeMarco Murray broke Emmitt Smith’s franchise rushing yards record. Then Dez Bryant broke Terrell Owens’ single-season receiving touchdown record.

Dud: Ray Rice/Adrian Peterson/Roger Goodell

Domestic violence in the NFL quickly made national headlines after Roger Goodell brought a two game suspension down on the now-former Ravens running back Ray Rice for an altercation with his fiancée. Then TMZ released the video footage which showed Rice delivering a violent punch to the face of his fiancée. Goodell faced numerous protests calling for his resignation. While Goodell handled himself well in national press conferences, the situation was far from over. The NFL was being criticized by various women’s rights organizations, anti domestic violence organizations, and even current NFL players. Goodell suspended more players that were reportedly involved in domestic violence cases, including Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. Rice was released by the Ravens the day he was suspended and although he was reinstated by the NFL, he is still a free agent and is looking for a job. Peterson was suspended for the entire season and it remains to be seen as to whether he will be back with the Vikings next season or not.

Stud: Seahawks Media Antics

I’m not sure which I enjoyed more, Marshawn Lynch replying “yeah” to every question, replying “nope” to every question, or replying “thank you very much for asking, I appreciate the question.” I’d probably go with the latter. From the short answers to the cardboard cutouts, the Seahawks antics were hilarious this year.

Mashawn Lynch had little to say to the media this season (Via AP)

Mashawn Lynch had little to say to the media this season (Via AP)

Dud: New York Jets

Oh the Jets. Gang Green headed into this season confident as always. After taking a win at home against the Raiders, the New York tabloids declared that the Jets were much improved from last season, in which they went 8-8. The additions of Eric Decker and Chris Johnson meant that this team was for real. But then the Jets went on a eight game losing streak, virtually ending their season. While they somehow pulled out a win against the Steelers at home in week 10, They lost three more games after that to push their record to 2-11, with just three weeks remaining. In the game dubbed “The Mariota Bowl,” named for Oregon quarterback and top 2015 NFL Draft prospect Marcus Mariota. The loser of this game was expected to have the top pick in the draft with the opportunity to draft the franchise quarterback. The Jets won the game, bringing Jets fans hopes and dreams of a franchise quarterback to a crashing halt. The Jets proceeded to win two of their final three games, dropping them to the sixth pick in the draft.

Stud: Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants

Beckham Jr. came on the spotlight in the middle of the season after Victor Cruz went down with a season ending injury. The rookie took the league by storm with his one handed grab against Dallas Cowboys on November 23. Beckham Jr. is sure to be a great weapon for years to come.


Dud: Jadeveon Clowney

Clowney was down and out from the start. In the preseason, he experienced concussion like symptoms and missed preseason weeks three and four. Week one came and Clowney went down with a knee injury. It was later revealed that he had a torn meniscus. After a brief comeback, Clowney was sidelinded for the rest of his rookie season and had knee surgery.

Stud: “R-E-L-A-X”

The Packers started their season 1-2 and the media began to give quarterback Aaron Rodgers a hard time. The end result was a memorable quote from Rodgers: “Five letters here just for everybody out there in Packer-land: R-E-L-A-X. Relax. We’re going to be OK.” The Packers went on to win 11 of their final 13 games, clinching a first round bye in the playoffs.

Brett Malamud is a Computer Science Major at Binghamton University. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Todd Bertuzzi. You can follow him on twitter at @brettnyy