Aaron Ness

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Getting Defensive: The Isles Have Some Holes To Fill

...But this trade signifies that GM Garth Snow is ready to strike a deal that can be made in order to benefit his team. He's no longer building for the future. He's looking to win right now (Photo credit: Official New York Islanders/Flickr).

And he should be. The rebuild has been over for at least a year now. The Islanders made the playoffs last year and played a series against a much better Pittsburgh Penguins team that could have gone either way had there been better goaltending.

The expectations deserve to be raised, and Snow has to make moves for the present. But at what cost?

What Does It Say About Who The Islanders Brought to Long Island At Season's End?

The New York Islanders made the playoffs for the first time since the 2006-07 season and a week ago, as a prelude to the beginning of their first round series with the Pittsburgh Penguins, the team called up several players. The players called up to the big club were Matt Donovan, Calvin De Haan, Brock Nelson, Aaron Ness, Anders Nilsson, John Persson, Ryan Strome and Johan Sundstrom.

So what does that mean? Why were they recalled?

To Go Streit Ahead or Trade Streit Away?

At this moment, Islanders captain Mark Streit is sitting and wondering if he will receive a phone call from GM Garth Snow to tell him that he has been traded (Photo Credit: Robert Kowal/Flickr).

It was tweeted out yesterday by Darren Dreger of TSN and reinforced by Newsday reporter Arthur Staple that negotiations on a contract extension for Streit have stalled with the Islanders.

The club apparently does not want to trade the 35-year old defenseman and would much rather keep his veteran presence part of the late season playoff push. But unless things change, he will be a UFA by this summer.

The Isles Need To Continue Re-Signing Veterans Beyond This Season

As reported previously this week, the New York Islanders locked up defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky with a two-year contract extension worth $9.5 million.

GM Garth Snow has once again managed to acquire a valuable veteran through the trade market and convince him to stay longer than planned after he previously tried to avoid joining the team (Photo Credit: Robert Kowal/Flickr).

The first player that went through a similar scenario was goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, who is also playing in the final year of his contract. However, it has already been reported by Arthur Staple of Newsday that he appears to have an interest with staying with the team.

Sound Tigers Scoring Needed

Connecticut Post writer Mike Fornabaio described Sunday’s game as “… just another day at the office for Rick DiPietro in the Bridgeport Sound Tigers’ net.” DiPietro led his smiling teammates off the ice after registering his first shutout in Bridgeport since Dec. 4, 2002. (A 1-0 victory over the Providence Bruins, goal by Trent Hunter)

Sound Tigers Win Child's Game

Tuesday night the Bridgeport Sound Tigers defeated the division leading Springfield Falcons in another hard fought contest at the Webster Bank Arena. Hell they’re all hard fought, but this time of year with the playoffs on the horizon it’s like being twelfth in line for an Eric Church concert with only eight seats left and you don’t want to miss the show.

The Bridgeport team dominated play from the beginning outshooting the Columbus Blue Jacket’s affiliate 13 to 8 but could not get the red lamp lit. Not that the Tigers didn’t have their opportunities because they did.

Sound Tigers - The Last Stand?

In the last twelve games the Sound Tigers have scored more than three goals only three times, each time they came away winners losing the other nine, but there is hope here as well. The franchise record 0 for 41 power play slide ended on Tuesday, Nino Neiderreiter is out of his mini slump and the UPS (Ullstrom, Persson, Sundstrom) or ‘Swedish line’ is back.

The goal tending tandem of Ken Reiter and Rick DiPietro could be as good as the team has had all year. The defense is playing better than they have all season and there is every reason to hope that the offense will regain their swag. Missing from it all will be the teams’ heart.

The Future Is Bright For The Islanders On Defense

The old saying goes as follows: "defense wins championships." The New York Islanders have learned in recent years that they have not had enough defense. No Islanders team has averaged less than three goals against per game since the 2007-2008 season, and if that team had allowed three more goals, it would have been exactly three goals against per game.

Bridgeport On The Bubble At The Break

Perhaps over-looked because of his size, 5’10” and 170 pounds, the Isles 2nd round pick in the 2008 draft continues to impress as he has since high school when he was named Minnesota’s ‘Mr. Hockey’. Ness along with Jon Persson and Blair Riley are the only players who have played in each of the teams first 42 games (although a stick to the face cost him a couple of teeth and forced him to wear the ‘bubble mask’ recently).

Selected in the sixth round of the same 2008 draft, again by the Islanders, was another smallish defender (5’8’,175 lbs.) Jared Spurgeon who has already established himself as an NHL’er with the Minnesota Wild. It’s more often than not a matter of being in the right place at the right time that gets your career a jump-start but it is the consistent effort given every shift that gets rewarded.

Sound Tigers Second Semester

The Sound Tigers, like every team in the AHL, started the season with an unexpected wealth of talent. Niedereitter, Ullstrom and Cizikas, whom most had expected to be in the NHL, were back in Bridgeport along with prospects Brock Nelson, Johan Sundstrom, John Persson and Kirill Kabanov. Scoring goals should not prove a problem.

In net, both Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson were still on the roster, while most had expected one to get called up to serve as Nabokov’s back up on the Isles. Poulin and Nilsson had each earned ‘AHL Goalie Of The Month’ awards during the teams Division Championship season and there was doubtfully no more promising tender tandem in the league. No problem.