Tag Archive | New York Islanders

Islanders Postseason Poll: Keep ‘Em Or Can ‘Em

By Brett Malamud

Yes, we are just 24 hours since the Islanders ended their season. But, by popular demand, let’s take a look at our (very early) edition of Keep ‘Em Or Can ‘Em. Feel free to vote on each poll, as it’ll allow other fans to see what you think.

Offense

John Tavares is the key piece. Not going anywhere. KEEP HIM Kyle Okposo is riding shotgun to JT. Not going anywhere either. KEEP HIM Josh Bailey has come to be on the first line. I’d like to see the Islanders snag a first line winger, dropping Bailey to control the second line. KEEP HIM
Brock Nelson scored 20 goals this season and should get a nice deal this summer as an RFA. KEEP HIM Frans Nielsen heads into the final year of his contract. He’s 31 years old and for less than $3 million a year he’s a no brainer. KEEP HIM Ryan Strome had a fantastic season, finishing with 50 points, third on the team behind Tavares and Okposo. He’s staying. KEEP HIM
Nikolay Kulemin is better than many thought he would be. He played all 82 games and is on the roster though 2018-19. KEEP HIM Mikhail Grabovski had his injuries, and that hurt his stock. He’s staying though, also signed through 2018-19. KEEP HIM Colin McDonald  is at the end of the line. The last guy into the lineup night in and night out. If you can get him real cheap, do it. Otherwise, don’t. CAN HIM
Anders Lee is going to get a nice contract as an RFA. If you’re the Isles, you have to retain him. KEEP HIM Michael Grabner is the odd man out for the Isles. Can’t see him staying. CAN HIM Cal Clutterbuck has been all that the isles had hoped for: a gritty power forward. He’s signed for two more seasons. KEEP HIM
Tyler Kennedy was a good add at the trade deadline. Keep him only if you can get him for a low price tag. KEEP HIM Matt Martin is the enforcer. He’s staying. KEEP HIM Casey Cizikas is another gritty young defenseman, and has one year left on his deal. KEEP HIM
Eric Boulton is 38 and a UFA. I don’t see him coming back. CAN HIM

Defense/Goalie

Johnny Boychuk is the future. Without him, the defense is nothing. KEEP HIM The same could be said for Nick Leddy He’s staying too. KEEP HIM Calvin De Haan Has been good, but not great. I’d keep him for now, but he’s a good trade chip if need be. KEEP HIM
Travis Hamonic is locked up through 2020-21. Not much debate here. KEEP HIM Thomas Hickey is a restricted free agent. I’d wait on him to see the price, but am not impressed by his -12 stat line. CAN HIM Lubomir Visnovsky is 38 years old and is an unrestricted free agent. Let him go and bring the kids up from Bridgeport. CAN HIM
Brian Strait is still signed for another year, but he didn’t have a good season. I’ll give him credit for stepping up during the playoffs a bit, but his roster spot can be better used on someone else. CAN HIM Jaroslav Halak is the goalie that the Isles needed. No debate here. KEEP HIM Michal Neuvirth was a good acquisition at the trade deadline. If they can sign him this Summer as a UFA, they’ll solve the goalie situation. KEEP HIM

Coaches/Management

Jack Capuano gets the boot from me. This team needs a veteran coach to lead them to the promised land. CAN HIM Doug Weight led the power play group that went 0-for-14 in the first round of the playoffs. If Capuano is gone, so is Weight. CAN HIM Garth Snow turned heads when he acquired the two headed monster that is Boychuk/Leddy. Although the majority of people say he needs to leave, I’m going to keep him based on the last 365 days. KEEP HIM

**It’d be unfair to judge the likes of Mayfield and Reinhart since we saw such little time

Finally, I’d like to know everyone’s opinion on Barclays Center. How have your plans changed?


Brett Malamud is an English Rhetoric 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

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There is a Bright Side: Reflections of a Frustrated Islanders Fan

By Brett Malamud

Now is the time where I step back from the media side of things, and write this as a fan talking to other Islanders fans.

Tonight we watched as the Islanders season came to an end. You can point at power play numbers, goalie mistakes, low offense, defensive turnovers. It doesn’t matter anymore. The season is over. Move on. There is a bright side, and another day. I will say that at the end of this season, the future is now. Now is the time. Nobody expected 101 points out of this team. Nobody. Look forward to the playoffs in the coming years. These kids are going to flourish. Tavares, Okposo, Strome, Lee, Cizikas, Martin, Nelson. Leddy, Hamonic, Donovan, Mayfield, Reinhart, Pulock. A couple tweaks in the offseason and they’ll be ready. This season, everyone compared the Isles to the cup teams of the 80’s and we’ll see that continue as the years go on. The magic that happened this season is irreplaceable. The Coliseum’s time has come to an end, but the Isles have not. They’ve only just begun.

As for Nassau Coliseum, there’s only one way that it could’ve properly gone out, and it didn’t go that way. That would’ve been with a cup over John Tavares’ head. But the way it did go out on Sunday does represent everything that the Coliseum had: Noise, Grit, Determination. It was only fitting for the Barn to go out on a win. It’ll be sad to see the Coliseum go, and even though we don’t know if the team will ever return, I’ll always take away that one moment. Just like everyone else. For me, it’s the Sean Bates penalty shot in the 2002 playoffs. I was eight years old, and my family had season tickets at the time. I went to the game with my mom, and our best friends Doug and Jared Bursky. I have never heard a louder Nassau Coliseum than in that moment. Even still, I get goosebumps every single time I see that highlight. Every single time. Nothing will change that.

NVMC

As for the Capitals, I look back tonight on that same kid 13 years ago. A frustrated, crying, eight-year-old Islander fan watching the Maple Leafs win game seven and advance. I can’t help but remember losing that series at a time like now, in such a physical series. Washington won the series and that’s all that matters. Now as an Islander fan, I can only say one thing to the Capitals…

Go out and finish the job. Bury the Rangers.


Brett Malamud is an English Rhetoric 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

Isles Making Lasting Memories for Fans in the Playoffs

By Brett Malamud

Silence. That can be heard early Monday afternoon in the little barn in Uniondale. But turn back the clock a mere 24 hours, and you have arguably the loudest atmosphere that any team will experience in the playoffs this season. The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum will be closing its doors at the end of the year, and New York Islanders fans are giving the building the ultimate send off.

Fans were challenged on Saturday afternoon, as the Washington Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin gave his expectations for Sunday’s game three matchup.

Ovechkin was greeted with chants of “CAN YOU HEAR US?” The chant echoed throughout game three. From the opening faceoff, fans gave the Capitals the ultimate distraction, and fueled the adrenaline of the hometown Islanders. A second period deflection by Kyle Okposo gave the Islanders the lead, igniting the crowd even more. Defenseman Johnny Boychuk finished the second period with a game-changing diving stop on Ovechkin and headed to the locker room to the sound of a loud “John-ny Boy-chuk!” chant.

Nicklas Backstrom ripped the hearts out of many of the 16,170 fans when he went top shelf and found the back of the net with just 6:06 to play. Was this the beginning of another late-game Isles collapse? I’m sure that two weeks ago, many Islanders fans would have anticipated that. But this day was different. After the goal, another thunderous “Let’s go Islanders” chant broke out and the crowd stayed in it. The fans wouldn’t go unheard, and refused to go home unhappy. Regulation ended and fans buckled up for the long overtime period…or at least that’s what they thought.

Fifteen seconds. That’s all it took. Nick Leddy fired the puck, Nikolay Kulemin deflected it on net, and Islanders captain John Tavares picked up the rebound and sliced the puck just over the pad of goaltender Braden Holtby, sending Islanders country into a mass frenzy. The Capitals left the ice to a resounding “YES! YES! YES!” chant, and were now down two games to one, to a team that hasn’t won a playoff series in 20 years.

The game also signaled that more hockey is to be played at the Coliseum, as the Islanders are guaranteed to play at least two more games in the Barn, with more on the way if they can close out Washington twice more and advance to the next round.

The Islanders before the final regular season game at Nassau Coliseum on April 12, 2015

The Islanders before the final regular season game at Nassau Coliseum on April 12, 2015

This season, the Islanders have honored their past, bringing back legends from the cup years, and honoring them individually. Last weekend, the Islanders shocked many when they did not bring back all of them for the last regular season game, but opted for “decades night” a week earlier, bringing back two players from each decade. No offense to the players honored, but people who paid big money for tickets didn’t come to see Eric Cairns, Steve Webb and Shawn Bates. They came to see Nystrom, Bossy, Gillies, Potvin, Smith, Trottier, Bourne, Resch, Lafontaine, Westfall, Harris, Morrow, Tonelli, Goring, Sutter, Turgeon, Volek, Palffy, Berard, and Jonsson all in one room on the final night of the season. They came to see the guys who turned the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum into Fort Neverlose and into the Barn, and many were left in disappointment. But we move on. The only truly fitting ending to the coliseum now would be John Tavares skating to center ice, shaking commissioner Gary Bettman’s hand, and lifting that 35-pound trophy sky high. That would honor the past, and what the building has meant to all Islanders fans. It’s place where many memories were made, and a place where many have spent most of their childhoods. It’s Home.

Game four is set for 7 pm on Tuesday night.


Brett Malamud is an English Rhetoric 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

Team of the Future? Islanders Are A Contender For Years To Come

By Brett Malamud

Gone are the days of Fishsticks, golf in April, and Mad Mike. After GM Garth Snow’s recent string of moves, the Islanders have set themselves up to make some noise in the Eastern Conference for the next handful of years.

With Thursday’s news that the Islanders locked up Johnny Boychuk to a seven-year, $42 million deal that comes just two weeks after the team signed Nick Leddy to a seven-year, $38.5 million deal, Snow cemented the top defensive line for the years to come. Snow also has a hefty pool of prospects that are poised for big careers. I’d go so far as to say that the next decade’s defensive pairings could be set if GM Garth Snow wants it. It could look something along the lines of this:

Johnny Boychuk – Nick Leddy

Travis Hamonic – Ryan Pulock

Griffin Reinhart – Calvin De Haan

Matt Donovan

Not to mention that they’d still have the likes of Adam Pelech and Scott Mayfield waiting in the minors for the call. Of course, the Islanders could look to flip one or two of these players, in the hopes of a greater return (whether it be an established player or another draft pick). Whatever the case, this team is extremely deep, thanks to Snow’s key trades and draft picks.

NHL: New York Islanders at Boston Bruins

Looking in goal, Jaroslav Halak set the Islanders franchise record for the most wins in a single season. Snow flipped the struggling Chad Johnson for an upgraded backup goalie in Michael Neuvirth, giving the team someone they could rely on down the stretch.

Turning up front, Snow has built up the offense that led the team to last place in the NHL just a few seasons ago. That starts on the first line with homegrown forwards John Tavares, Kyle Okposo and Josh Bailey. Anders Lee, Ryan Strome, and Brock Nelson come together to form the “kid line” of even more homegrown talent. The acquisition of Tyler Kennedy should help the penalty kill and should bring additional depth as this team goes forward into the playoffs this season. The signings of Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin proved to work out in the first season. The Islanders have found themselves with one of the deadliest offenses in the NHL. But don’t think that this is a fluke. No. The Islanders have more talent on the way in the likes of Joshua Ho-Sang, who is tearing it up in juniors. The 19 year old forward has 12 goals and 42 assists for a total of 64 points in just 44 games this season for the Niagara IceDogs of the OHL. But it’s Islanders prospect Michael Dal Colle that is making headlines in Canada, tallying 38 goals and 49 assists for 87 points in just 51 games this season for the Oshawa Generals in the OHL. The two are sure to be in the NHL soon enough, and will look to continue their success. There’s no way to predict the future, but the team is deep on offense and has its focal points locked up to long term deals.

Gone are the days of the team of the future. The future has finally arrived for the Islanders and now is the time to compete for the Stanley Cup in the years to come.


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

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

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.

2014-15 NHL Predictions

By Brett Malamud
At last, the predictions are here! For the Metropolitan Division Preview, click here. For the Atlantic Division Preview, click here. For the Central Division Preview, click here. For the Pacific Division Preview, click here. Have a great NHL season everybody!
EAST

METROPOLITAN

1. Pittsburgh Penguins*
2. New York Rangers*
3. New York Islanders*
4. Washington Captals*
5. Columbus Blue Jackets*
6. New Jersey Devils
7. Philadelphia Flyers
8. Carolina Hurricanes

 

ATLANTIC
1. Boston Bruins*
2. Tampa Bay Lightning*
3. Montreal Canadiens*
4. Detroit Red Wings
5. Toronto Maple Leafs
6. Ottawa Senators
7. Florida Panthers
8. Buffalo Sabres

 

WILD CARD
1. Washington Capitals
2. Columbus Blue Jackets

 

The Penguins are still the team to beat in the Metropolitan. They’ll coast to the division title. The Rangers and the Islanders follow, setting up a playoff series between the two that is sure to have New Yorkers on the edge of their seats. Alex Ovechkin has 43 goals and leads the caps in as the first wild card team. The Blue Jackets take the other wild card spot.

 

The Atlantic Division standings this season remain very similar to last season’s. Tukka Rask leads the Boston Bruins to their second straight division title. Tampa Bay takes the league by storm, showcased by Jonathan Drouin and Steven Stamkos. Montreal belongs here at three, a spot they’re familiar with. The Red Wings get ousted after facing strong teams in four out of their last six games to finish the season. Phil Kessel has a good season, but the Maple Leafs do not. Florida Panthers rookie Aaron Ekblad gets sent down to juniors nine games into the season. The rebuild is in full swing for the Ottawa Senators and the Buffalo Sabres put themselves in position for Connor McDavid.

 

WEST
CENTRAL
1. Chicago Blackhawks*
2. St. Louis Blues*
3. Dallas Stars*
4. Colorado Avalanche*
5. Minnesota Wild*
6. Nashville Predators
7. Winnipeg Jets

 

PACIFIC
1. Anaheim Ducks*
2. Los Angeles Kings*
3. San Jose Sharks*
4. Vancouver Canucks
5. Arizona Coyotes
6. Edmonton Oilers
7. Calgary Flames

 

WILD CARD
1. Colorado Avalanche
2. Minnesota Wild

 

The Chicago Blackhawks win the division on the last day of the season after taking down the Blues twice in the last week of the season. The Blues settle for the second spot in the Central. The Stars leapfrog the Avalanche for the third spot, and Colorado gets knocked into the Wild Card spot. Minnesota takes the second Wild Card spot. Nashville has another big disappointment, and barely misses taking the spot from Minnesota. The Jets sets themselves up for the second pick in the draft before the lottery.

 

Anaheim takes the division after the Kings fall out the top spot when they lose four out of five games on their road trip in late March. The Sharks trade Joe Thornton on deadline day and get Patrick Marleau out earlier in the season. Tomas Hertl struggles a bit in his second NHL season, but the Sharks reach the playoffs. The Canucks just miss out on the playoffs after a stellar season from Ryan Miller. Arizona, Edmonton, and Calgary struggle and finish near the bottom of the league.

 

PLAYOFFS
 
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
Boston Bruins over Pittsburgh Penguins
WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
Chicago Blackhawks over Los Angeles Kings
STANLEY CUP FINALS
Chicago Blackhawks over Boston Bruins

 

Jonathan Toews will lead his team to a Stanley Cup win this season. (Via SM Sports)

Jonathan Toews will lead his team to a Stanley Cup win this season. (Via SM Sports)


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