Tuesday, September 30, 2014

MSG Prevents Isles Broadcast In NY Area

According to Andy Graziano from Islanders Insight, MSG wouldn't allow the NHL Network to air the broadcast of the Islanders game tonight against the Bruins in the local area..
While they prevent the airing of the Islander game, they have the Rangers airing on two different channels.  While it shouldn't come as a surprise that this was done, it doesn't make it any less annoying and frustrating for the numerous people that had planned on watching tonights game.

Pre Game: Isles @ Bruins

photo by theuntz

Tonight, our Islanders travel to Boston to take on the Bruins in the teams fifth pre season game.

Kevin Poulin will get the nod in net for the Islanders tonight.  It is unclear if he will play the entire game or split the game.  If he ends up splitting it, David Leggio will be dressed as his backup tonight.  Meanwhile, Jeremy Smith and Niklas Svedberg are expected to dress as the Bruins goalies tonight.

Below, you can find tonights Islanders lineup from Arthur Staple of Newsday.

Sale Gets BOG Approval But Isn't Finalized

According to multiple reports, the NHL BOG voted today to approve the Islanders sale to Jonathan Ledecky and Scott Malkin.  It was announced last month that Ledecky and Malkin would purchase a minority stake in the Islanders from Wang and transition it to a majority stake in two years.  After which time, Wang will remain on as a minority owner of the team.

While it got approved, the deal still isn't finalized yet, according to Jim Baumbach from Newsday.  The Islanders are reportedly hoping to close the sale by the start of the season, according to Baumbach.
To learn more about the future Islanders owners you can click here and here.
Well, this is very surprising as it had been reported since this news broke last month that a vote likely wouldn't take place until December.  I would've preferred Wang being 100% out of the picture, but this is the next best thing.

Happy Birthday Colin McDonald

photo by ESPN

Today, Islanders forward Colin McDonald is celebrating his 30th birthday.

In 70 games for the Islanders last season, McDonald had 18 points including 8 goals.  In 115 career games for the Islanders, McDonald has 35 points including 15 goals.  After being a fixture in the Islanders lineup last season as well as the lockout shortened season, McDonald is going to have to battle for a spot this year with the enormous depth the Islanders have up front after acquiring Mikhail Grabovski, Nikolay Kulemin, and Cory Conacher during the off season.

We here are savetheisles would like to wish McDonald a very Happy Birthday and wish him the best of luck this season.

NHL BOG Meeting Today To Discuss Isles Sale

According to Newsday, the NHL Board of Governors will be meeting today in New York City to discuss the proposed sale of the Islanders to Jonathan Ledecky and Scott Malkin.  It is uncertain if the BOG will vote on the sale today.  Last month, it was reported by Katie Strang that a vote on the sale likely wouldn't take place until December.

Monday, September 29, 2014

RUMOR: Parking Lots To Be Closed Til 4PM For Home Opener?

Over the last few days, there has been buzz running rampant around Islanders Country that the Islanders will not open the gates to the Coliseum parking lot until 4:00PM the day of the home opener when they begin to charge for parking.

If it sounds like a far fetched idea, it shouldn't as the Islanders have a history of doing this as it was done at one of the playoff games in the spring of 2013 against the Penguins.

If you would like to get in contact with the Islanders to discuss the issue you can reach them at 501-6700.  They can also be reached on twitter @NYIslanders.

It is a shame that this even has a remote possibility to happen.  This would be an example of the team paying no mind to the fans and the traditions that they have had for ages.  Instead of letting the fans enjoy one last home opener with their family and friends and reminisce on past years this would be an attempt to hinder that just for the almighty dollar.  This is one rumor we hope turns out to be false.

Isles Announce First Round of Cuts

Today, the Islanders announced their first round of training camp cuts.

Fifteen players were cut, some were sent to Bridgeport camp while others were released from their try out contracts.  Among those sent to Bridgeport were defensemen Jesse Graham and Loic Leduc; 2014 draft pick Lukas Sutter was sent to Bridgeport camp.

Former Wild first round pick Colton Gillies led the pack of those released from try out contracts.

Oshawa Generals Retire John Tavares Number

In a touching ceremony earlier this evening, the Oshawa Generals welcomed back Islanders captain John Tavares to retire his number and raise his banner to the rafters of their arena.  His number joined the already retired numbers of Eric Lindros, Red Tilson, and legendary defenseman Bobby Orr.

Tavares played parts of 4 seasons for the Generals before being traded to the London Knights midway through the 08/09 season.  It was with the generals that Tavares broke Wayne Gretzky's record for goals by a 16 year old, setting the new mark at 72.  In 223 games for the Generals, Tavares managed to put up 383 points including 183 goals.

We would like to send many congratulations to the Islanders captain on this huge and very well deserved accomplishment.

Isles Sign Dal Colle To 3 Year ELC

According to multiple reports, the Islanders signed 2014 first round pick Michael Dal Colle to a 3 year entry level contract earlier this afternoon.

The Islanders selected Dal Colle with the number 5 overall pick in the draft this past June.  In 67 games with the Oshawa Generals last season, Dal Colle had 95 points including 39 goals.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Former Islander Battling Lung Cancer

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, former Islander forward JP Parise is battling stage 4 lung cancer.  He was diagnosed earlier this year during the Sochi Olympics.

Parise played parts of 4 seasons for the Islanders and was one of the key players on the 1975 team that overcame a 3-0 series deficit to defeat the Penguins before losing a hard fought series to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Flyers.  In 240 games for the Islanders, Parise managed to put up 171 points.  He also managed to tally 34 points in 41 playoff games while with the Islanders.

With this year being the 40th anniversary of the 1975 team, as well as the last year at the Coliseum, it is time for that team to come back and get honored.  At the same time, they would also be introduced to a new generation.  All attention is always paid to the all the dynasty players and rightly so.  However, this 1975 team helped mold some of those guys into the players they eventually became and they are really never talked about unless there's a 3-0 playoff series which is a shame.

Islanders Down Devils 3-2 In Shootout

photo by zimbio

Last night, the Islanders defeated the Devils by a score of 3-2 in a shootout in the teams lone game from Brooklyn this year.  Here are some of my notes from the game:

-Nice to see the team finally score in Brooklyn.  Pulock showed off his blistering shot and had a solid game beyond his goal.  Good to see!

-Pretty solid game from Chad Johnson.

-Anders Lee seemed like a natural on the first line, he has clearly gotten a lot stronger on the puck this summer.

-Brock Nelson has also gotten a lot stronger on the puck as well which is encouraging as he looks to secure the first line spot next to JT and Okposo.

This was the first of many wins for the Islanders in Brooklyn. 

Next Game: Tuesday 9/30 @ Boston

Friday, September 26, 2014

Pre Game: Isles & Devils In Brooklyn

photo by NYPost

Tonight, in what is being termed as a "dress rehearsal" for next season, the Islanders are set to square off against the Devils at the second NHL game from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Chad Johnson will start in net for the Islanders tonight, and coach Jack Capuano told the New York Post that he is, "leaning toward" Johnson playing the entire game.  If Johnson ends up coming out David Leggio is backing him up tonight.  Meanwhile, the Devils goalie tandem tonight will be Scott Clemmensen and Keith Kinkaid.  Kinkaid will start for the Devils tonight and likely play the entire game.

Below, you can find the projected Islanders lineup from Arthur Staple of Newsday.

Predictions: Defensemen

After proceeding with our predictions last week discussing the projected bottom six forwards, today, we will continue our predictions for the 2014/2015 season by talking about the defensemen.

photo by ESPN

1) Travis Hamonic

5 goals

20 assists

25 points

Hamonic is a huge key for the Islanders this year.  With all the question marks surrounding their defense heading into the season, continued progression from Hamonic will go a long way in helping the team qualify for a playoff spot this season.

2) Lubomir Visnovsky

10 goals

27 assists

37 points

Assuming he stays healthy, I think these are realistic numbers for Visnovsky.  He isn't the offensive powerhouse he once was.  However, he is still one of the more elite offensive defensemen in the league.

3) Calvin de Haan

5 goals

22 assists

27 points

Much like Hamonic, the continued maturation of de Haan after a solid rookie season is vital for the Islanders this year.  If de Haan can develop into the top-4 dman the Islanders hope he can be and can stay on the ice it will be a tremendous help to the team this year.

photo by zimbio

4) Thomas Hickey

5 goals

20 assists

25 points

After ending the year as the teams most potent offensive threat from the blueline, I could see Hickey putting up relatively similar numbers to those that he had last season.

5) Griffin Reinhart

3 goals

13 assists

16 points

Yes, I think Reinhart will be on the team to open camp.  As a matter of fact, baring injury I would be stunned if he isn't.  Offense really isn't his game, however if he can play a steady 15 minutes a night and chip in here and there offensively that will be a very successful rookie season for him in my eyes.

6) TJ Brennan

6 goals

9 assists

15 points

As of now I am putting Brennan here, but he could easily not make the starting lineup and be replaced by someone else.  Brennan was unbelievable in the AHL last year, however, we know as well as anyone that some people have trouble transitioning their games from the AHL to the NHL.  I think Brennan will run into that and thus not be the huge offensive powerhouse that some may think.

Guys who could see time:

photo by Newsday

1) Brian Strait

2 goals

5 assists

7 points

Strait isn't noted for his offense, but will see his fair share of time this year.  Especially if Reinhart or Brennan struggle.  Assuming he stays healthy which has been tough for him in his career to this point he could provide a steadying presence for the Islanders on the bottom pairing.

2) Matt Donovan

3 goals

6 assists

9 points

Much like Strait, I could see Donovan getting extended time with the big club if Reinhart or Brennan struggle at all.  After struggling at the start of last year and being sent down, Donovan showed noticeable improvement down the stretch last year and could be a solid depth option for the Islanders on the back end this year.

3) Matt Carkner

0 goals

3 assists

3 points

Unless there is an injury, I could see Carkners time being very limited this year.  He is the Eric Boulton of the defense.  While he does have some decent stretches here and there, they don't cancel out the amount of missteps on the ice he has which are more often then not.

4) Ryan Pulock

2 goals

4 assists

6 points

If there are any injury callups from Bridgeport Pulock will likely be the first one.  Having Pulock and Reinhart in the lineup together will give fans a taste of the future.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Islanders To Honor Denis Potvin On November 29th

Within the last hour, the Islanders announced that they will be honoring former captain Denis Potvin on November 29th when the team plays host to the New Jersey Devils.  Potvin is the fourth Islander legend that will be honored in the first half of the season.  Earlier this summer, the team announced that they would be honoring Bobby Nystrom, Clark Gillies, and Billy Smith at different points throughout the first half of the season.

Like with the other three, you will be able to get a Denis Potvin mini locker stall if you purchase the "Tradition on Ice Ticket Package" or if you are a full season ticket holder.  To get tickets for this game, or any of the other commemorative nights scheduled for the first half click here.

Fans Getting Screwed on Tickets For Tomorrows Game

Earlier this year, tickets for the Islanders game tomorrow night in Brooklyn against the Devils went on sale and as one would expect seats in premium locations were getting premium prices of over $100 per seat.

Well, now, here we sit the day before the game and the face value of the tickets has been cut.  Those same seats that people paid 100+ dollars for back in April can now be had on ticketmaster for as cheap as $92 per seat.  For some people that is a pretty big difference from what they paid.

I have never heard of this happening before where the face value of tickets for a game were cut before the game.  You never hear about this for obvious reasons because by doing this you are telling the people who bought them in advance they don't matter and essentially screwing them over.  Nick, 31, from Port Jefferson, who was among those that bought tickets months ago said, "It isn't right that I bought them so far in advance for a premium price and days before the game, rows in front of me are 50 dollars cheaper than what I had paid."

I don't know if it is the Islanders or Barclays Center who are in charge of this but regardless something needs to be done because this is wrong on so many levels.

Islanders Fall 4-2 To Hurricanes

Last night, in the teams lone pre season game at the Coliseum, the Islanders fell to the Hurricanes by a score of 4-2.  Here are some of my notes from the game:

-Halak had an up and down game, he made some nice saves including stoning a Hurricanes player on a breakaway.  However, he also let up a goal or two he would probably like to have back.

-I thought the Lee-Nelson-Strome line was one of the more consistent throughout the game.  Both Lee and Nelson appeared to have gotten stronger on the puck, meanwhile Strome seemed to have an extra jump in his step as well.

-Nice to see Cizikas get on the board with a short handed goal.

-Aaron Ness had a weak game, he showed why he will spend most of the season in Bridgeport.

-Newcomer TJ Brennan really didn't stick out to much for me.  For a guy who is supposed to be an offensive specialist, I felt he struggled at times with some simple things.

-Nice showing by Matt Martin in his fight at the end of the second period.  He was victorious in a landslide.

Next Game: Tomorrow Vs the Devils @ Barclays Center

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Pre Season Pre Game: Hurricanes @ Islanders

Tonight, our Islanders play host to the Carolina Hurricanes in the teams lone pre season game at the Nassau Coliseum.

Jaroslav Halak will start in net for the Islanders and could potentially play the entire game, Islanders head coach Jack Capuano told Newsday.

A notable omission from the Hurricanes lineup will be Jordan Staal who broke a bone in his leg during the Hurricanes game against the Buffalo Sabres last night.  It is unknown how much time he will miss.

Here is the Islanders lineup tonight from Arthur Staple of Newsday:

Save The Isles Chats With TCL's Rob McGowan

Our final season preview interview will be with Rob McGowan from TCL Isles.  We would like to thank Rob very much for taking the time to answer our questions.  If you don't follow Rob on twitter yet, you can do so here.

STI: For those that may not be familiar with you, could you provide a little background information about yourself?

RM: I'm a member of the NYI Blog Box and have been for the past few years.  This allows me to be a credentialed blogger for the New York Islanders, granting me locker room access to Isles home games, practices, and also allows me to conduct interviews with players and staff.  I run a website for The Checking Line, called TCL Isles.  We have a staff of writers that provide pre and post-game coverage as well as many other featured stories.  I've been a fan of the Isles for several years and combine my fandom along with my diverse knowledge of the game from officiating, coaching, and playing to provide our readers with the best coverage possible.

STI: Most people loved the Islanders draft this year, what were your thoughts on it?

RM: I was hoping for Garth Snow to trade this year's pick in the hopes of landing a top line winger or more importantly, a top pairing defenseman.  Unfortunately, that did not happen.  However, the Isles picked up another solid top-5 prospect that seems to be a safe bet as a future top line forward.  There is never a problem with stockpiling for the future.  But at the end of the day, this team needs to win now.

STI: The Islanders have greater depth at forward heading into this season then they have had in quite some time.  What kind of impact do you think that will have on the team?

RM: There is no question that the added depth will improve secondary scoring from the second and third lines.  This should help the Islanders maintain their leads and scoring on a more consistent basis, which is something they have had trouble with over the last few seasons.  It's also great for a player like Frans Nielsen, who aside from last season's great year offensively, has been used above his limits as a two-way, third line center.  With Mikhail Grabovski able to slide into that second line center position, Nielsen will be able to build off the year he just had while adding depth up the middle on the bottom two lines.

STI: Even with what has been a great summer for the team, a lot of fans are still hoping for a trade for a top 4 defenseman.  Do you think one will happen?  If it doesn't, do you think this team as currently constructed is good enough to qualify for the playoffs?

RM: I think right now the Islanders are poised to make a run at making the playoffs.  This team, as it stands now, projects to be an 8-10 seed in the Eastern Conference, in my opinion.  If Snow is able to land a top-four d-man, which he absolutely should be trying his hardest to do, then this team may project to be a 6-8 spot in the East.  Defense, so far, is the only area that has not been addressed this off-season and last year proved that there was a glaring hole to fill.  If Snow doesn't make it happen, his overall performance as a GM this off-season drops a grade level in my eyes.

STI: After the Islanders trade of Thomas Vanek, the first line left wing spot was and has continued to be a talking point among fans.  Do you feel as though the Islanders have the solution for that spot in house?  Or is that something they will have to bring in from outside the team?

RM: Giving someone like Brock Nelson a chance to play on the top line and build off the rookie season he just had will be a great opportunity for him.  Especially playing alongside someone like John Tavares.  But is he going to be able to score at the pace of Thomas Vanek or Matt Moulson?  Most likely not.  It's still important to build from within, but adding another offensive threat to play on the top line via free agency or trade would've been a much more safer option.

STI: With this year being the last season at the Coliseum, do you have a favorite moment or memory from your time there?

RM: Absolutely.  There are a few that I would have to choose from though.  Watching Eric Cairns pummel Shayne Corson at center ice during game 6 of their playoff series against the Toronto Maple Leafs is still one of my favorite memories, or being at the Coliseum the night that Al Arbour won his 740th game as head coach.  Anytime that I get to step into that locker room and interview NHL players is an experience, and privilege, that I won't forget as well.  But my favorite moment of all time may be the one that turned me into an Islanders fan over night.  I wasn't really into hockey, but my friend took me to a game sixth row alongside of the net the Isles shoot twice.  I noticed that the Islanders now had Michael Peca, Garth Snow, and Chris Osgood, three names that immediately stood out for me from my hockey card collection.  Mark Parrish scored a hat trick that night, which happened to also be stick night.  The crowd at Coliseum did the wave for the first time in over 20 years and went on to beat the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim by a score of 5-3.  Parrish scored his first shorthanded goal of his career en route to his hat trick, which made him my favorite player at the time.  The next day I was using my new, cruddy wooden and plastic stick to shoot a wiffle ball into an empty bucket in my driveway.  I was hooked on the game and didn't miss an Islanders game for the rest of the 2002 season.  The rest, as they say, is history.  Since then the Coliseum, or the Madhouse on the Meadowbrook as I remember it, has become a second home to me.  This final year will surely be a bittersweet and emotional one.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Isles Sweep Sens In Pre Season Openers

Earlier today, the Islanders opened their pre season with split squad games against the Senators.  Our Islanders came out victorious in both games each by a score of 3-2.

Brock Nelson was one of the Islanders top scorers in game one registering a goal and an assist.  Newcomer Jack Skille made his present felt scoring the game winning goal with around 90 seconds left in regulation.  Sebastian Collberg also got on the board with a goal in the second period.  In case you forgot, Collberg is the prospect the Islanders got back from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Thomas Vanek at the trade deadline last season.

Meanwhile, in the second game Mikhail Grabovski was one of the Islanders top scorers like Nelson in the first game registering a goal and an assist.  Josh Bailey also managed to put up a goal for the Islanders both in regulation then in the shootout.  Cal Clutterbuck won it for the Islanders in the shootout.  Also, in the shootout, Kevin Poulin stopped 4 of 5 Senator shots.

The Islanders next game will be on Wednesday at the Coliseum against the Hurricanes.  If you can't make it to the Coliseum for the game, Islanders TV will be hosting a live stream.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Isles Release Pre Season Opener Lineups

Earlier this afternoon, the Islanders released their full lineups for tomorrow's split squad pre season opening games against the Ottawa Senators.  The games will begin at 1:30 and then game two will begin at 6:30.

Some of the bigger names participating in the first game are: Ryan Strome, Brock Nelson, Josh Ho-Sang, and Michael Dal Colle.  Dal Colle and Ho-Sang will join Ryan Strome to form the that units top offensive line.

Meanwhile, the second game will feature: John Tavares, Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen, as well as new Islanders Mikhail Grabovski, and Nikolay Kulemin.  Jaroslav Halak will also make his Islanders debut in this game.

Unfortunately, there will be no live stream of the game.  However, you can listen to each game live here.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

LIRR To Increase Service For Friday Night's Game

According to Newsday, the LIRR and Barclays Center are working together to help make fans travel to Friday nights game against the Devils easier.

It is being reported that the LIRR will add one westbound train from Babylon pre game.  Also, post game, two eastbound trains will be added.  One going directly to Hicksville and the other going directly to Babylon.  Additionally, a shuttle will go from Atlantic Terminal to Jamaica post game at regular intervals.  Extra staff members will also be on hand in Atlantic Terminal to help aide passengers.  Inside the arena, both during and after the game, train times will be featured around the arena and increased efforts will be made to let fans in the stands know when their train is departing.

Ratner To Take Next Step In Coliseum Plans By Years End

According to Newsday, Bruce Ratner will be submitting a development application to the Town of Hempstead by the end of this year.  The development application is the next step for Ratner in hopes of getting his Coliseum plans off the ground.  Construction is scheduled to start next August after the Islanders officially leave the Coliseum and is projected to take 15-18 months to build.

On top of submitting the development application by the end of the year, Ratner is also hoping to have a naming rights deal agreed to by then.  A condition of any naming rights deal is that Veterans Memorial must be kept part of the name, Newsday reports.

Like I mentioned in a post last month, I am hopeful everything goes well with this and we end up getting the new Coliseum we have deserved for long time.  However, given the track record of the people in power in this area why does anyone suddenly think they will do the right thing and these plans will ever see the light of day?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Happy Birthday John Tavares

photo by CBSSports

Today, Islanders captain John Tavares is celebrating his 24th birthday.

The Islanders selected Tavares with the number one overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft and Tavares has been everything they could've hoped for and more.  Over the last few years, Tavares has quickly rose to become one of the best young players in all of hockey and that was culminated with the Islanders naming him captain prior to the start of last season.

In 59 games last season, Tavares had 66 points including 42 assists before getting hurt while participating in the Olympics in Sochi.  With this years Islanders team being the best of Tavares tenure, right now it is only up to fans imagination how good he will be this season.

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

Friday, September 19, 2014

Predictions: Bottom Six Forwards

Last week, we began our season predictions by discussing the projected top 6 forwards for the Islanders on opening night.  Today, we will continue with our predictions by going onto the projected bottom six forwards.

photo by dobbersports

1) Anders Lee

22 goals

18 assists

40 points

Assuming he is given a chance to play, these numbers should be easily attainable for Lee as he continues to fine tune his game in his first full season in the NHL.

2) Frans Nielsen

23 goals

30 assists

53 points

I think Nielsen will see a slight dip in production compared to last years career year.  However, he will still put up very solid numbers as one of the veteran leaders on this young club.

photo by zimbio

3) Michael Grabner

18 goals

15 assists

33 points

While this won't be the most spectacular year for Grabner, I think he will have an effective season.  A definite improvement upon his lackluster performance last year.

4) Cal Clutterbuck

14 goals

9 assists

23 points

Assuming Clutterbuck stays healthy, I think these are realistic numbers for him as they are right inline or slightly lower then his average in his time with the Wild.

5) Casey Cizikas

11 goals

14 assists

25 points

Cizikas himself admitted that he had a bad season last year.  I have faith in him and think he will end up with a nice rebound season this year as he looks to play his part in helping the team get back to the playoffs.

photo by CBS

6) Matt Martin

9 goals

8 assists

17 points

350 hits

Like he done for many years now, I think Martin will chip in his little offense from the fourth line and continue to bang bodies and rank at the top of the league in hits.

Guys who could see time:

1) Josh Bailey

6 goals

25 assists

31 points

I have to put Bailey in this area and not the area above because I can't justify giving him a spot in the lineup over Anders Lee.  I know the team will most certainly disagree with me on this.  However, to me it would be counterproductive.  I think his stats will take a hit with the decrease in his ice time with the added secondary scorers and logjam of forwards in general.

2) Colin McDonald

5 goals

8 assists

13 points

With the logjam at forward I think McDonald will be the odd one out.  Due to that, his stats will likely suffer.  However, with inevitable injuries that occur he will most certainly get some games here and there throughout the season.

photo by ESPN

3) Cory Conacher

5 goals

5 assists

10 points

Barring an awful camp, Conacher will likely be with the team on opening night.  However, unless there is an injury I would be surprised if he is in the lineup.  Much like McDonald above, Conacher gives the Islanders an experienced semi productive guy to go to should injuries hit them instead of having to go to kids who might not be prepared for the NHL yet like they have had to do in years past.

4) Jack Skille

4 goals

3 assists

7 points

Skille will spend most of the season in Bridgeport.  However, much like McDonald and Conacher when injuries occur he will be one of the first to get called up.

5) Harry Zolnierczyk

2 goals

1 assist

3 points

Zolnierczyk really isn't an NHL skill player.  While in the AHL he has proved to have some scoring touch, in the NHL he is more of a 4th line pest and in his limited experience has played that role pretty effectively.  So if called on here I think he could be effective in this role in limited action.

6) Eric Boulton

2 goals

0 assists

2 points

The Islanders resigned Boulton before last season even ended.  While he did have a better season last year then he did during the lockout shortened season two years ago, Boulton's impact on the actual game itself is often negligible.  With the crowded depth chart it wouldn't surprise me at all if Boulton found his way to Bridgeport at times throughout the season.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Isles Invite Colton Gillies To Camp

According to Newsday, the Islanders extended a training camp invite to LW Colton Gillies.  Gillies was a first round pick by the Minnesota Wild in 2007.  Gillies also happens to be the nephew of Islanders and NHL Hall of Famer Clark Gillies.

In 154 career NHL games Gillies has 18 points.  Meanwhile, in 65 games last season for the Rochester Americans of the AHL Gillies had 23 points and 49 penalty minutes.

Should he remain with the team through camp I expect Gillies to be in Bridgeport.  However, with his experience he joins Skille and Zolnierczyk as guys who could see cups of coffee with the team should injuries occur.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Savetheisles Chats With WFAN's Daniel Friedman

Next up we had the chance to chat with WFAN Islanders Columnist Daniel Friedman.  We would like to thank Dan very much for taking the time to talk with us.  If you don't follow Dan on twitter already you can do so here.

STI: For those who might not be familiar with you, could you provide a little background information about yourself?

DF: This is my second year covering the Islanders for WFAN.  Previously, I covered the Isles and Rangers as an intern for Stan Fischler.  I've been blogging about the team for nearly four years now.

STI: How would you grade the Islanders off season?

DF: I would say they get an A-.  Addressed the goaltending in impressive fashion, brought in reinforcements on offense and a few wild cards to create competition in training camp.  I would still like to see Snow bring in some help on defense and clear up the logjam on offense, because right now there are just too many players on one-way contracts.  At this rate, someone's not going to make the team that should - whether that is Anders Lee, Cory Conacher, or Colin McDonald, and that's before you consider their overcrowded blueline.

STI: Do you think Nikolai Kulemin and Mikhail Grabovski will be able to get back to their more offensive numbers from a couple years ago?  Or would the Islanders be expecting too much to expect them to put up numbers similar to those again?

DF: I don't know if they'll duplicate their previous numbers, but I would expect that, at least for Kulemin, the stats should improve.  Grabovski's generally been productive, but Kulemin seems to have really suffered ever since the two were separated.  I think if the Islanders get a combined 90-100 points out of these two they've done well.  If they get more, obviously that's even better.

STI: Anyone who follows you on twitter knows that you are a big supporter of Ryan Strome.  What role do you see for him on the team this season?  What expectations do you have for him?

DF: It's difficult to say right now, particularly because he's playing on the wing and there's such a logjam on the depth chart.  If I had to guess, he'll join Grabovski and Kulemin on the second line, which I think would be a good spot for him.  He'd be with two forwards who play his brand of hockey - speed, skill, and finesse.  In terms of expectations, he's still young so that has to be kept in perspective, but I think at least 41 points (0.5 points per-game) is a reasonable request.

STI: In one of your recent columns for WFAN you spoke about the new owners and how two keys things they face as they come in are providing a commitment to winning and swaying the Long Island fan about the move to Brooklyn.  How do you feel it would be best for them to do these things?

DF: The best way to demonstrate a commitment to winning is not necessarily by spending the most money or making the flashiest acquisitions or hires.  It's by showing you have a good reading of the organization's pulse.  That means, you're putting the right people in key positions and you're making moves when they're necessary.  Of course, you do need to be financially committed and give your front office the flexibility to do as they see fit, but that doesn't mean quite what some people think it does.  As far as the move to Brooklyn is concerned, I think these new owners have to show that they're committed to preserving the team's heritage and that they're going to work with the LIRR and Barclays Center to ensure better transportation methods for those who live further out on Long Island.  That would be a good start.

STI: In that column you also talked about the Andrew Barroway situation.  Ultimately, what do you believe ends up happening with that entire situation?  Do you think the cash payoff will be enough for him to go away?  Or will this be something we hear about for a couple years before it is settled?

DF: I think he eventually gets his 10m breakup fee and we don't hear of this again.  As for how long that process will take, that's not something we know enough to speculate on right now.  All we know is that Barroway's ticked off and he wants some form of compensation.

STI: What was your reaction when you read the article from fortune.com claiming that Wang had a deal to sell the team to a third different party?

DF: It didn't shock me, to be honest.  It's never one group that's "in line" to buy these franchises, you usually have several groups trying to strike that deal.  Generally, these other groups pull out until one (sometimes two) is left standing and it ends up buying the team.  But in the Islanders' case, the process didn't quite go that way - at least according to Barroway and this other group that's surfaced.  The important thing to keep in mind here is that, two years from now, the outcome will likely be the same regardless of these other developments.  Ledecky and Malkin will be the majority owners, Wang will own a minority stake.  The rest will work itself out.

STI: With this being the final season at the Coliseum, do you have a favorite moment or memory that sticks out for you in your time at the arena?

DF: I don't know if I have one favorite memory; it's really a collective group of memories, it's my entire childhood.  I grew up playing and watching hockey and was at the Coliseum on so many occasions.  It's the place where I'd go to dream and to study the players, their movements, their strategies, the place where I'd go to appreciate their ability to play the game I loved at such a high level.  I'll never forget those times shared with family and friends at the old barn.  If there's one moment for me though, it was on Presidents Day in 2007.  The Islanders and Penguins kept trading goals until Mike Sillinger won the game with 26 seconds left in the third period.  The Pens hadn't lost in regulation in over a month, and the win propelled the Isles to a hot streak that ultimately led to a playoff berth.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Ledecky And Malkin Only Purchased 10% of the Islanders?

According to the New York Post, Jonathan Ledecky and Scott Malkin who purchased a "substantial minority interest" in the Islanders last month only actually purchased 10% of the team.  The article states, "Ledecky's group is buying only a 10% stake in the Islanders, and will need to line up additional funding or investors to buy out Wang, according to sources."

This is slightly concerning to me, however, this would at least partially explain the two year wait for them to become majority owners.

Who Is Phil Falcone?

photo by Bloomberg

The New York Post reported this morning that Minnesota Wild co-owner Phil Falcone is interested in selling his minority stake in the Wild in order to become an investor with the Islanders.

Falcone is the founder of Harbinger Capital and LightSquared.  Harbinger Capital is a hedge fund firm based in New York City.  The main thing they are noted for is investing in the public equity and hedging markets.  Meanwhile, at LightSquared they are building a state of the art open wireless broadband network.  This company has come under fire recently for different violations and last month Falcone filed 'divorce papers' from the bankrupt business.

As of last year, Falcone had a net worth of 1.2 billion dollars which made him the 1175th richest person in the world and 377th richest person in the United States.

Wild Co-Owner Interested In Investing In Islanders

According to the New York Post, Minnesota Wild co-owner Phil Falcone is interested in selling his minority stake in the Minnesota Wild in order to become an investor with the Islanders.  Falcone is old friends with new Islanders owner Jonathan Ledecky.  On August 19th, it was reported that Ledecky and London businessman Scott Malkin had purchased a minority stake in the Islanders with it turning to a majority stake in two years.

Falcone owns 45% of the Wild which he purchased in 2008.  He has recently clashed with the teams co-owner Craig Leipold over how to cover the teams losses which amount to roughly 20 million dollars yearly.

Upcoming Islanders Appearance

On Sunday, October 26th Islanders forwards Michael Grabner and Anders Lee as well as defenseman Brian Strait will be appearing at Hofstra University in the David S. Mack Student Center to sign autographs for fans as part of the JP Sports Long Island National Sports Collectible Show.  The players will be at the show from 11:30am until 1:00pm.

The cost for Grabner is $25 and you get one free inscription along with that.  Strait and Lee will be $20 each and you also get one free inscription if you want one.  If you miss out on the team function at Adventureland this is a great way to meet a couple of your favorite Islanders.

Friday, September 12, 2014

2014/2015 Islanders Predictions: Top 6 Forwards

Over the next month leading up to the start of the regular season, we will be giving our stat predictions for each Islander player.  Today we will be covering those who we believe will be part of the top 6 forwards on opening night:

photo by bleacherreport

1) John Tavares

35 goals

60 assists

95 points

Tavares was on pace for the best season of his career before his Olympic injury last season.  I see no reason at all as to why he won't continue to build on that this season possibly eclipsing the 100 point mark.

2) Kyle Okposo

30 goals

50 assists

80 points

Last season, Okposo finally had the breakout season fans had been begging for, for a couple seasons.  With him now having residency on the right side of Tavares, I would be surprised if his stats saw anything except for an increase this season.

photo by zimbio

3) Brock Nelson

20 goals

35 assists

55 points

Nelson is the early favorite to play left wing for Tavares and Okposo.  If he remains in that spot for a majority of the season I see no reason why he won't reach these numbers.

4) Nikolay Kulemin

18 goals

22 assists

40 points

Kulemin's numbers had suffered the last couple years after being put into a more defensive system in Toronto.  Moving here and being put back into a more offensive role will only do good things for him.

5) Mikhail Grabovski

20 goals

30 assists

50 points

If Grabovski is able to stay healthy which is something he has kind of struggled with in his career these numbers are reasonable for him.  Reuniting with his close friend Kulemin should only do positive things for him as well.

photo by zimbio

6) Ryan Strome

16 goals

25 assists

41 points

If he is going to be with this team I think Strome will be on the right side of Kulemin and Grabovski to start with at least.  Strome was on pace for numbers similar to this last season so this should be realistic for him.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Ex Isles Owner Spano Indicted On Theft/Forgery Charges

According to Newsday, former Islanders owner John Spano was indicted by an Ohio grand jury last month on one count of theft and 44 counts of forgery.

Court papers reveal that Spano stole between $7,500 and $150,000 from his employers in a scam that took place from June 2011-July 2013.  Spanos attorney Jay Milano told Newsday that his client played a, "minor role" in this scam and that the owner of the company was the person behind the whole thing.

Spano, 50, was the Islanders owner for a couple months in 1996/1997 before it was realized that he was a fraud and lied to get financing for the team.  In January of 1998 he was sentenced to 71 months in prison.  Although he only owned the Islanders for a short time, Spano was able to negotiate an extension of the Islanders cable contract with MSG which possibly saved the team from moving.

Savetheisles Chats With Dan Petriw From HockeyBuzz

In our next season preview interview, we had the chance to talk with Dan Petriw from hockeybuzz.com.  We would like to thank Dan very much for taking the time to answer our questions.  If you don't follow Dan on twitter yet, you can follow him here.

STI: For those who might not be familiar with you, could you give a little background information about yourself?

DP: I have been in the media industry since 2000 and have pretty much done it all.  I am an alumni of Quinnipiac University where I really learned how TV, print and radio all work.  I have worked at WTNH Channel 8 in New Haven Ct and also I spent 13 years at ESPN.  I currently write for hockey buzz where I am an Islanders writer and I also freelance direct at the MLB Network.  I have a passion for all things hockey and I'm also a huge fan of the Barclays Premier League.  The Islanders and Arsenal are really the only two teams that can make me cry tears of joy or conjure up fits of rage.

STI: Going into the season, everyone will be and are talking about guys like Tavares and Halak as keys to the Islanders season.  Who do you think is someone who is coming in a bit under the radar that will prove to be a key for the Islanders this year?

DP: I think Brock Nelson is going to have a big year.  I think he is the leader out of the gate to win that wing slot alongside Tavares and Okposo.  In limited time last season, Nelson did not look out of place playing with the big boys.  I also think, the combo of Nelson's size, skill and willingness to get his nose dirty will yield some solid results this season.

I also expect Calvin de Haan to build off a strong rookie campaign.  He is a key for this team.  If he proves that he can continue to handle top pairing minutes I fully expect that this defense will be much better off.  I also expect for de Haan to get out on the power play more and I think it is reasonable that we can see a jump in production from Calvin this season.

STI: Josh Bailey is someone who often comes up as a talking point among fans in Islanders Country.  What are your thoughts on him?  Do you think this will be the year he figures it out, or is it time for Bailey to move on?

DP: I have wrote about Bailey so much at this point I honestly don't know what the answer is.  I also don't know what his role on this team is if he is in training camp.  He is not a top six forward at this point and placing him on the fourth line is pointless as well.  I guess as of right now he would be penciled in on the third line.  I would, however, try to move him before the season starts if it could return a capable defenseman.

Bailey has not shown me any semblance of consistency that makes me feel confident that he will be a productive player for the Islanders.  Every time I think about Bailey's future, I come away with more questions than answers.

STI: Another popular player to talk about for different reasons is defensive prospect Griffin Reinhart.  Most fans are expecting him to make the team out of camp this year.  What do you feel are realistic expectations for him heading into the season?

DP: I am actually not as high on Reinhart as many others are.  I'm just not sold on his upside.  I think he can be a capable stay at home dman in the league but he does need to improve his skating.  If he can find anyway to develop an average offensive game I think Griff will be fine.

I just don't know how to project Reinhart at this point.  Is he Adam Foote?  Is he Brendan Witt?  Is he Mark Eaton?  It is honestly to early to tell.  As for making the team, there are roster spots open on the blue line.  If Reinhart has a solid camp I think he will have a great chance to grab one of those spots.

STI: Switching to off-ice topics, what was your reaction when you learned of the sale news last month?  What kind of effect do you think it will have on the team both in the short term and long term?

DP: I am pleased that the sale of the Islanders is occurring,  It was time and honestly long overdue.  Much like I am willing to give anyone with a goalie glove a chance to tend net for the Isles, I am willing to give any new owner a chance.

Over the short term this will give Wang a chance to recoup a large part of the money that he has lost over his term owning the team.  Once he moves into the background I think you will see these owners want to leave their mark on the team so if the team is still under performing I would expect to see a new coach staff, general manager and perhaps they add a team president.  I think the biggest thing the sale brings is some closure on the perception that the team is run like a circus and it should provide some much needed stability at the top.

STI: With this year being the last season at the Coliseum do you have a favorite moment or memory, or multiple ones of each that stick out from your time in the arena?

DP: I think back to all the great times I had their win or lose.  I have made some great friends in my years going to the games and I am grateful for my time spent their.  I will miss Nassau but it is time for a new chapter for this organization.  While not perfect, I think Brooklyn will be profitable.  If the team is making money and fielding a great product on the ice I think everyone will get over the move.

As for one moment that I personally saw.  I'd have to say when I went to game three of the playoff series against the Penguins.  That was the loudest building I have ever been in.  Despite the outcome of the game, it was one of my most enjoyable experiences at a sporting event.  

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Islanders Rookie Camp Set To Begin Friday

This afternoon, the Islanders announced that in advance of the start of next weeks training camp Islanders rookie camp will start this Friday and run until next Wednesday.  NHL players will then return and take their physicals next Thursday with camp officially kicking off on Friday, September 19th.

You can view the full roster of the rookies attending here.

Mike Bossy To Join Hockey Night Live Next Season

According to Neil Best from Newsday, Islanders legend Mike Bossy will join Hockey Night Live next season.  Additionally, Bossy will work select games as a studio analyst for MSG Plus next season.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Isles Have Inquired With the Hawks/Flyers/Bruins About Trades

According to Arthur Staple in a radio interview tonight, the Islanders have inquired with the Flyers, the Chicago Blackhawks, and the Boston Bruins about potential trades.  With all three of those teams in cap trouble it makes sense for the Islanders to be speaking with them especially the later two more frequently then not.

Staple mentioned that the team has shown interest in Johnny Boychuk from the Bruins.  Boychuk, going into the final year of his contract would fit the Islanders like a glove.  Boychuck brings a lot of elements severely lacking on the Islanders blue line right now including but not limited to size and snarl.  Standing at 6'2 225 Boychuk would be the biggest Islanders defenseman depending on if Griffin Reinhart makes the team or not.  After being a team of puckmoving defensemen and stick checkers for a while now it will be nice to get some size and snarl in there.

Unlike some guys who are on the bigger side, Boychuk isn't afraid to use his body either.  He is also a right handed shot which is something the Islanders lack on the blue line with Travis Hamonic being their only right shot defenseman right now.

No matter who the Islanders trade with, if it is one of these three teams or a team not mentioned, acquiring a top 4-dman will go a long way in helping the teams chances at qualifying for a playoff berth this season.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Did Charles Wang Have a Third Deal To Sell The Islanders?

According to fortune.com, Charles Wang had a third deal to sell the team on top of Andrew Barroways deal and the deal he ultimately settled on with Scott Malkin and Jonathan Ledecky.

The website reports that Wang had a deal with Peak Ridge Capital, a Boston based investment firm to sell them the team at an enterprise value of 508 million dollars.  The site reports that they had been in negotiations even longer then Wang was with Barroway and that on July 28th Wang told them they had a deal, but then on August 1st just like he did with Barroway Wang told them he was selling to someone else.

When reached for comment, Mike McNally, the CEO of Peak Ridge told Fortune that they had been in negotiations and he felt as though they had a deal.

Well, just when you thought it couldn't get crazier it does.  

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Save The Isles Chats With Point Blank's Christian Arnold

Over the next month leading up to the start of the Islanders regular season, we will have some interviews with other Islanders writers previewing their final season at the Coliseum.

Our first interview is with Christian Arnold, the lead writer from islanderspointblank.com.  We would like to thank Christian very much for taking the time to answer our questions.  You can follow Christian on twitter here.

STI: For those who might not be familiar with you, could you give a little more background information about yourself?

CA: Sure... I have been a fan of the Islanders since I was eight years old and I have covered the Isles for the past five years.  I was a member of the Islanders Blog Box for two years when I ran my own Islanders blog, Islanders Hockey Blog.  I moved over to New York Hockey Journal in 2012 as the online Islanders beat reporter.  I also cover the Rangers for their print publication (please don't hate me).  Following the end of the lockout, Kevin Schultz invited me to write for Islanders Point blank.  I also cover the New York Cosmos and have covered the NBA and college sports for several online outlets.  I have a degree in journalism from New York University.

STI: Which of the Islanders multiple young players expected to play a role this year are you most excited to see?

CA: On defense I would say it is Calvin de Haan.  He had a really solid year last season and with the Islanders lack of another top-4 defenseman de Haan will be pretty important.  I think he needs to continue to develop this season if the Islanders are to have a realistic chance at making the playoffs.  Defense is still a huge question and a hole in it could have a big impact.  He is definitely someone I am excited to see because of his importance.  On offense, I would say it is Brock Nelson.  I'm not just saying that because I clearly have endorsed him in writing for a top line position.  I think he has a lot of talent and that was on display last season when he excelled in every spot Jack Capuano put him.  I think he will have another big season.

STI: For the first time in a long time the Islanders finally have some stability in net.  What kind of effect do you think it will have on the team?

CA: It's huge, it really is.  This is a team that has not had a solid goaltending tandem in a long time and it will at least help with some of those third period collapses.  I think if a team is confident in its' goaltending then it leads to stronger play on the ice.  There isn't that feeling of "oh no, we could blow this" when opponents start peppering the goaltender with shots either.  Like I said, this is huge for the Islanders to have stability in net.  

STI: The Islanders defense has many question marks heading into the season.  Do you think the team will be able to overcome them?  Or is it imperative that another defenseman be brought in?

CA: See I don't think it is imperative that the Isles bring in another defenseman, but it would be a good idea if they did.  By that I mean they can make the playoffs, but the defensive blunders have to be kept to a bare minimum and any injury could prove costly.  I think at some point another defenseman will be added, because Snow knows that defense is still a point of weakness for the team.  He traded for Dan Boyle's right's because of that, so you have to think at some point a move will be made to acquire one.

STI: Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen both had career years last year.  Do you think they will be able to replicate that success this year?  Or will they see a bit of regression compared to last years stats?

CA: No I think they will both continue on the path they carved out for themselves last season.  I don't see any reason to think that either will regress.  I don't see anything to suggest that will happen, especially with Okposo playing alongside Tavares.  Player's numbers don't usually drop when they play with the Islanders Captain.

STI: With it being the final season at the Coliseum, do you have a favorite moment or memory that sticks out for you in your time there?

CA: There are probably two occasions that stick out to me.  One is the day that the Islanders raised the Bryan Trottier banner in 2001.  I was probably nine at the time and my dad and I were able to snag tickets at the last minute for the game.  The catch was I had developed an ear infection, so we went to the doctor that morning, and made sure it was ok to still attend the game.  The doc said yes, but he didn't tell me or my dad about how much pain 16,000 plus people cheering would cause my ear.  We stayed for the banner raising ceremony (which I only saw a little bit of because seeing anything from the last row is tough) and left in the middle of the first period.  So I can at least say I saw the banner being raised and it was pretty cool.
The other instance that stands out was the 2013 playoffs.  It was the first I had ever covered as a journalist and I can honestly say I spent more time at the Coliseum than I did at my own house over those few days.  Even though they lost the series, it was still a special thing to be around.