The New York Islanders hosted the visiting Dallas Stars tonight at Nassau Coliseum, hoping to take advantage of a team that played on the road last night. They may not be able to say that they did just that, but Frans Nielsen's hat trick helped propel the Islanders to a 7-5 win on home ice.
The first period started with a quick tempo pace from both teams, as they both got plenty of chances early in the game. Chad Johnson was forced to make a sprawling save on a breakaway, and Anders Lindback had plenty of traffic in front for the first twenty.
The traffic in his crease would eventually lead to the first goal by the Isles. Brock Nelson fed the puck to Calvin de Haan at the far side of the Stars’ blue line before letting go of a wrist-shot that was redirected behind Lindback by Anders Lee for his first goal of the year.
After a long summer it was time for Islanders fans to dust off their jerseys, and come out to support there team one last time at the old barn. My brother and fellow blogger Andrew and I were fortunate enough to nab tickets over the summer and attend this weekend.
The atmosphere inside of the Coliseum was truly something else. As for outside, the fans did not disappoint. As a fan that typically loves to be early for and Islanders games, I was blown back by the amount of tailgaters and early-comers at the arena. I mean let's face it. This was the last home opener at the old barn, so that was expected. But what made this day even better, was the play of the team which I believe is inspiring this fan base to continuing looking towards the future, but even more importantly, THE NOW!
With training camp starting in a few days, the Islanders finally have solid competition up and down their roster. New additions on offense, an influx of youth on defense and two new goaltenders means there will be battles everywhere in camp from start to finish.
Today marks the first day of September, meaning that New York Islanders training camp will be opening up in the next few weeks. This time of year gives the coaching staff an opportunity to observe the types of players they have developing in their system, test out line combinations, and see which prospects are prepared to take on full-time roles in the NHL.
Presently, the Isles have 16 forwards and seven defenseman on one-way contracts, including two legitimate NHL goaltenders who do not have to worry about fighting for their job.
That leaves the Isles with 25 players on their roster.
The 16 forwards is the number that got every hockey expert on the twitter-sphere proclaiming that Garth Snow was absolutely going to trade someone in order to bolster his blue line.
As of now, the New York Islanders do not have a forward that is undeniably the top line winger to play alongside of Kyle Okposo and John Tavares. Last year, the Islanders started the season with Matt Moulson on JT’s wing, who was soon exchanged for Thomas Vanek.
Both Moulson and Vanek fit perfectly on the top line. But with Moulson staying in Buffalo and Vanek currently preparing to wear a Minnesota Wild jersey in 2015, the top spot is once again vacated.
Heading into the Islanders' final season at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, they have many holes to fill, but an over paid winger that doesn't play both ways is not something they should be in the market for.