Thursday, May 14, 2015

Isles to Begin Working on Extension For Okposo, Neuvirth a Goner?

According to David Pagnotta from The Fourth Period, expect chatter to heat up this summer about the Islanders offering Kyle Okposo a contract extension.

Okposo who has grown into the star forward the Islanders hoped he would be when they took him in the first round of the 2006 draft is going into the final year of a 5 year deal he signed in 2011.  In 60 games last season Okposo had 51 points including 18 goals.  With Garth Snow having shown a great ability at retaining his own, I am not concerned at all about the Islanders coming to an agreement with Okposo.
Meanwhile, according to NBC Sports, goalie Michal Neuvirth isn't expected to return to the Islanders next season.  After having a stellar season in Buffalo, Neuvirth underwhelmed in his brief stint with the Islanders following the deadline day deal that brought him to Long Island.  Neuvirth is also seeking to be a number one goalie which is something the Islanders can't provide for him with Jaroslav Halak under contract.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Happy Birthday Jaro

photo by ESPN

Today, Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak is celebrating his 30th birthday.

The Islanders acquired Halak from the Capitals last May to be the teams number one goalie and subsequently signed him to a 4 year contract.  In his first season, Halak gave the team all they could've hoped for and then some.  He was a consistent rock for the Islanders in the crease and was instrumental in the team qualifying for the playoffs this season.  If not for his great performance in game 7 against Washington, the Islanders would've had zero chance to win that game.

We here at savetheisles would like to wish Halak a very Happy Birthday.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Isles Not Striving To Be Better

A couple days ago, it was announced that all the Islanders coaches would be returning next season.  This came as a disappointment for most fans who were hoping for at least a few changes behind the bench after the bad end to the Islanders season and rightfully so.
While an argument could be made in favor of Jack Capuano, the teams poor second half and atrocious effort in game 7 should've been enough to sink his chances to return next season, in my opinion at least.  An argument may be able to be made for Jack Capuano, but none can be made in favor of Doug Weight or Greg Cronin.  The 0-14 playoff power play should've been enough to sink Weight alone and send him to a front office only position.  Meanwhile, some have said that with the improvements of the penalty kill in the last two months Cronin deserved another year.  I have a few responses to that.  One being that even with the improvement they still finished in the bottom half of the league.  They really showed no overall improvement from Brent Thompson and they finished right in line with where the Maple Leafs penalty kill finished under Cronin.  All that doesn't suggest to me that they will be better next season, it suggests to me that Snow was fooled off two months of good play.

I recently said what the team did with the coaching staff would be a test if they wanted spend money on experienced coaches to help the team take the next step or if they wanted to continue to try and strike gold.  Based off this decision, it seems like they unfortunately went for the latter.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Politician Trying To Insult Fans...Again

"It won't be the end of the world if the County doesn't have a hockey team." - George Maragos

Nassau County comptroller George Maragos told that to Newsday back in 2012 when he was interviewed during the lockout about the perspective loss of an NHL season on the Long Island economy.

Later that year Maragos continued with his hockey bashing saying that the county would be better off if the Islanders weren't in season because bigger draws would be able to go to the Coliseum.  Maragos failed to consider the impact on the businesses in the area when making statements like this.  In late 2012, the GM of the Marriott said the hotel was losing $100,000 per month due to not having Islanders hockey.

So with Maragos history on the subject, you can imagine my dismay when I woke up to this tweet.
So, is the comptroller proving the old saying right that you don't know what you got til its gone?  This is quite the change of tune from two years ago when he was already packing the teams moving vans to Barclays Center.  I hope they aren't allowed to insult the intelligence of the people that this means something to and throw an event like that so they can pretend they actually care.  The people this means something to have been saying goodbye all season and will continue to do so into the summer.  They don't need some pity political event to do so.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

My Nassau Coliseum Farewell

This is an article I was hoping I wouldn't have to write for a few months, but as circumstances would have it this is now an appropriate time.  With the Islanders loss to the Capitals last night, the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum has officially closed its doors on Islanders hockey after 43 seasons.  With it being the final season, there have been some other articles similar to this but those focused on the team and everything that went into the arena and that is where mine is different.

Screwed By Politicians

While this won't be the focus of the article, I would be remiss if I didn't mention it at all.  The reason we are at this point is because of political incompetence in both Nassau County and the Town of Hempstead.  Howie Rose has been fantastic in stating his displeasure over this for a few years now.  For over two decades Islanders management attempted to work with the local politicians to get a new arena in Uniondale where the team belongs.  However, they were always turned away because the politicians were more concerned with their political party than doing what was best for the communities that elected them.

The Loudest Arena In the NHL

Some may call me crazy for saying that, but if you have never been inside the Coliseum when it was sold out, you don't know what you missed out on.  There have been coaches in the past who were horse after a game due to yelling the entire game because their team was unable to hear them.  Former Islanders head coach Peter Laviolette recalled that during 2001/2002 playoffs him and his assistants had difficulty communicating with one another on the bench because of how loud it was.  There is a reason that the Coliseum is so loud, that being the low ceiling.  The noise has no place to go so it just comes right back on the ice and creates an unbelievable environment.  Unfortunately, arenas are no longer built like the Coliseum because they are built with the corporate dollar in mind instead of the top fan experience.  The concourse may be small and the bathrooms scarce, but there is no place I would rather be for a big game than the Coliseum.

Second Home

Over the last 6 seasons, I was fortunate to have season tickets for the Islanders.  Given the way the team played for a majority of that time some may think I am crazy for saying I was fortunate but I stand by that.  Over those years, the Coliseum became more than just arena for me to watch hockey and other live entertainment, it became my home away from home.  No matter what was going on, good or bad, one thing that was always a given was going to the Coliseum to watch the team I loved.  Even when the team was bad I still looked forward to going to the arena night in and night out.  Each game, seeing the same ushers, the same concession people, and of course the people around us, it was an enjoyable environment.  Of course, over that time I also made a lot of good friends and became a lot closer with certain people then I ever thought I would and for that I am forever grateful.  #IslesTwitter might get its fair share of criticism, but one thing it doesn't get the credit for that it should is bringing people together that otherwise wouldn't have met one another, that aspect of it is very special.  With all the time spent at the Coliseum, I of course have countless amounts of memories as well.  Whether it was tailgating outside with my dad and/or my cousin and other relatives, or inside the arena with my dad or whoever came with me to that given game, those are things I will take with me forever.  As much as we may get used to Barclays Center, it will never be home.

Farewell old friend, thank you for the memories!

Islanders Season Ends After Game 7 Loss

Last night, our Islanders fell by a score of 2-1 to the Washington Capitals ending their season and closing the doors on the Nassau Coliseum.  Here are some of my notes from the game:

-While most of the team was pretty bad last night, one player who wasn't was Jaroslav Halak.  He was simply sensational and was the only reason the Islanders had any opportunity to think about winning that game.  The save he made in the third period when the puck took the bounce of the boards in front to the Capital player was simply unbelievable.

-I gave them a lot of criticism this season, but the penalty kill was good in the playoffs.  While I still don't think he should return next season, good on Greg Cronin for making changes to improve it.

-The power play struggles were simply unbelievable.  Much like his colleague Cronin, I think Weight should be taken off the bench and be left with only a front office role.  The power play collapsed when it counted and he couldn't figure out how to fix it.

-For Islander forwards to have just 3 shots in this game is unacceptable.  You can't win if you don't shoot the puck.  To give you an idea, John Tavares was not only not credited with a shot on net but wasn't even credited with attempting a shot.  If we know Tavares, this will bother him for quite a while.

There are some calling the Islanders effort last night one of the worst in the history of game 7's.  Only getting 11 shots on net when your playing for your season is simply mind boggling.  Given the way the season itself fared to end it on an effort like last night is a real shame.

Monday, April 27, 2015

It All Comes Down To This

Tonight, our Islanders travel to Washington with their first round best of 7 series tied 3-3 with the Capitals.  The winner of tonights contest will move on to play the Rangers in round 2.

The goalie match up features Jaroslav Halak in net for the Islanders.  Meanwhile, Braden Holtby will be in net for Washington.  Halak is 6-1 in his career in elimination games with a 1.72 GAA and a .956 save percentage.

The Islanders lineup will likely be the same as Saturdays game 6 victory.