The most anxious time of the year for me and many hockey fans is waiting for the season to start. Like a child waiting for Santa or a back-seat-brat asking every two minutes “Are we there yet?”, I cant wait. The late June NHL draft and notes from team camps and mini camps does little to satisfy my hunger for hockey.
In late August 2009, with the next season just a flip of the calendar away, I was as anxious as ever. The previous season was a good one for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. A tiebreaker away from being division champions, their 49-23-3-5 record for 106 points was not enough after a disappointing first round ouster in the playoffs.
The Ducks top line of Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, and Bobby Ryan had a coming out party Friday Night.
Unfortunately, it was at the New York Islanders expense.
Bobby Ryan had two goals and Ryan Getzlaf scored the go-ahead goal, his first in over a month, as the Anaheim Ducks defeated the Islanders 4-2.
Ryan started the scoring at 14:18 of the second period only seconds after their first power play of the game ended. Matt Martin answered back under two minutes later tapping home a rebound to tie the game at one. It was his fifth goal of the season, tying his career high.
On the glass, above the glass, in the corners, center ice or behind the nets we all have our preferred seats. Mine has always been high above the glass, even with the goal line in the defense zone. I love watching the defense work and the goalie under siege. Don't talk to me during a five on three. At the Webster Bank Arena, home of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers there are no bad sight lines and seaats in all sections are generally available, so preferred seating is rarely an issue.
This season the Islanders American league team is bursting with talent at the blue line. With four veterans - in the AHL that means you are 25 or older - we have solid protection for the rookies. Dylan Reese and Ty Wishart might already be known to Isles fans and Ben Olson and Steve Oleksy are rocks.
Aaron Ness and Matt Donovan, drafted in '08 as well as Calvin deHann and Anton Klementyev from the class of '09 fill out the roster as BST rookies (though it's hard to think of Klementyev as a rookie - euro rules). Sitting in my preferred seat in section 103 I can see the most talented d-man I have seen since A-Mac (Andrew MacDonald) left the building, and he is not on the ice.
The Islanders headed into Minnesota to face one of the NHL's best teams, the Minnesota wild.
The Islanders had two players return from injury; one being forward Nino Niederreiter and the other being defenseman Andrew MacDonald. MacDonald being the player making the most noise last night scoring the first (and only) goal for the Isles in the second period.
But the Wild would score just one as well, but a miracle that they did not score more. The reason for them scoring only one was the reason the Islanders ultimately won this game...
The New York Islanders will take on the Minnesota Wild tonight. The Islanders have been playing well lately, staying in every game they’ve played since breaking their long losing streak almost a month ago. Despite a 4-0-2 stretch which saw the young Isles climb back up the standings, their most recent games, regardless of their improved play, have not yielded the type of success they have needed in the standings. They have walked away from recent games where 2 points was well within their grasp.
There are many stages to a rebuild, and the Islanders seem to be on the right track for a slow, steady, and successful one. We saw this season during their long losing streak, that unlike last season when they took the ice for each game with a look of despair, that this team comes out of the locker room hungry and expecting to win every time they play.
The next lesson that this young group needs to learn is simple: Finish Games.
The Islanders, who are boasting the worst offense in the league with only a dismal 59 goals for (the second worst team is the L.A. Kings with 63), were heavily criticized for one specific thing over the past three months; not scoring enough goals. (Shocking, right?)
After being shutout several times this year, the Isles were becoming a one-trick pony; if the line of Moulson-Tavares-Parenteau wasn't scoring, then there wasn't anything to worry about if you were the opposing team. However, the Isles have been on a recent streak after coming away with points in their past six games played.
Matt Moulson scored the first four-goal game of his NHL career Saturday night against the Dallas Stars; it was also the first individual four-goal game of the 2012 season. As a result, the Islanders were able to hold on for a thrilling 5-4 win.
Although the win is what ultimately matters most for the Islanders, who took seven out of eight possibly points on their four-game road trip, Moulson was the recipient of this week's NHL's First Star honors.
"We saw it last year, I saw it. I saw the energy and the desperation in our game last year. The second half, we had the best record in the National Hockey League after the All-Star break. We were physical. We were tough to play against."
-Islanders head coach Jack Capuano after the New York Islanders 6-0 loss Saturday night to the Boston Bruins.
Ask the Boston Bruins and Sidney Crosby and the rest of the Pittsburgh...
59 seconds of icetime was all it took before the hockey world knew that “Sid the Kid” was not merely healthy – he was officially back.
Taking a pass from Pascal Dupuis at centre ice at the start of his second shift, Pittsburgh Penguins Captain Sidney Crosby flew into the offensive zone like a man possessed once the puck arrived on his blade. After blowing the doors off of helpless defenceman Andrew MacDonald, he fired a backhander with a level of speed and accuracy that outweighed many players’ best shots on their forehand, making no mistake in rifling the puck into the upper portion of rookie Anders Nilsson’s net.