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  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.

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