The New York Islanders were playing host yesterday for what would be a very special moment for many hockey fans. And no, I am not referring to the banner raising ceremony as Pat Flatley would be inducted to the Islanders Hall of Fame before the puck dropped against the Buffalo Sabres. Instead, I am talking about the Long Island Blues and a few other teams that were there opponents as the Nassau Coliseum was hosting "Special Hockey Day," a day in which teams that have players with special needs play organized hockey on a professional rink.
The Long Island Blues played as the home town squads for the Islanders with several friends and family in attendance to watch in support. A total of six teams played three games before they all took the ice together in a skills clinic that was lead by New York Islanders alumni, Benoit Hogue. They also were able to skate on the ice in between periods of the Islanders/Sabres game to take shots on their goaltenders at both ends of the rink to cap off a perfect day of hockey.
Buffalo makes it first visit to Long Island tonight as they take on the Islanders. With both teams currently needing a win to keep their playoff chances alive this game looks to be a good one. The Islanders, with Thursday’s lost to the Flyers find themselves 12 points back and Buffalo a lot closer with 5 points out of a playoff spot. This is only the second meeting of four between these two with the Islanders winning the first one 2-1 in Buffalo on November 29th. Buffalo is currently struggling on the road with a seven game losing streak in regulation which should hopefully work in the Isles favor for this one.
After a hard fought effort in Thursday’s game I don’t expect to see line changes for tonight’s affair. The only change in the lineup that I can see would hopefully be to give Kevin Poulin a start and rest Evgeni Nabokov. Nabokov has played 10 games in a row now and I know his next win will be his 300th but Poulin was extremely hot in Bridgeport before his call-up and Nabokov did look like he needed a mental break during the game against the Flyers. Secondary scoring needs to start showing its face on the Islanders team if they truly want to start winning a serious amount of games. Moulson and Tavares are great players together and put the puck in the need often but they can’t be counted on to do all of the scoring for this team. The line of Martin, Bailey, and Grabner has had its flashes during the past few games and is creating chances; they just need to start finding the back of the net on a few more of those chances. The 2nd line of Rolston, Neilsen, and Parentau has been doing ok but just doesn’t seem all there, if any line was to get a shake-up this would be it. I would like to see the young Nino finally get some big line minutes to show us something and have him work with Frans and PA. I don’t see that happening for this game but it would be a good change for the future that should hopefully produce some goals. The defense for the Islanders has been good over the past few days and hopefully they can keep that up against the Sabres.
Let's start by saying there hasn't been any kind of outcry for opinions on the Sabres as of late, I think we all have our own. On that topic, I'm sure every Sabres fan has about 10 different theories as to how the team can turn things around, each one more far fetched then the last. But lets get down to brass tax, I purposely haven't written a blog here, not because I don't have things so say, but because nothing that I would write would be anything more then angry ramblings about how we can't score and we give up leads. But alas, there was a win this week and a real opportunity for a win tonight, so lets talk hockey!
Sleepless in Seattle? More like listless in Buffalo for the Washington Capitals the day after Christmas.
Buffalo jumped on the Capitals early with four first period goals from Jason Pominville, Matt Ellis, Christian Erhoff and rookie Brayden McNabb's first NHL tally in route to a 4-2 win over the visiting Caps at First Niagara Center.
The Sabres scored just 51 seconds into the first, keying a period that would doom the Caps despite righting the ship in the second and third by pulling within two. Those goals came from Matt Hendricks, his first of the season late in the second, and Alex Ovechkin on a powerplay in the third.
Yes, the Philadelphia Flyers showed something in their small west coast swing last week. Yes, they came back against the lowly Anaheim Ducks and won. Yes, they started strong and cruised to a win in Phoenix over the Coyotes. Yes, the team took care of business and did what they were supposed to do.
Was it a litmus test? In terms of the ability to win on the road after a long layoff and a plane trip longer than one in-flight movie, it was.
It wasn't news to anyone that the NHL would be setting up a new realignment plan for the 2012-2013 season. Plenty of speculation went into this idea as to how it would effect the current Eastern and Western Conferences. The Winnipeg Jets, although presently in the East, seemed to be a team that would make much more sense in the West. Rumors began to run that the Detroit Red Wings would move to the Eastern Conference, or even quite possibly the Nashville Predators.
The bigger question, and one that still looms over the hearts of many fans out in the desert, is whether or not the Phoenix Coyotes will still be in any Conference next year. They are currently in what seems to be the final year of their lease agreement after almost being relocated this past summer. There's still a good possibility that they might be relocated in the near future as well, but all of that remains in limbo as the 2012 season moves forward.
However, the NHL and it's Board of Governors could not wait to see what happens in Phoenix and passed a very dramatic change to the current alignment. The Eastern and Western Conferences will ultimately be removed next year; the standard two conferences that consist of 15 teams will become four conferences with either seven or eight teams in each one.
With the Islanders searching for ways to improve their hockey club's anemic offense, the organization called upon David Ullstrom from their AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Ullstrom had 14 points in 17 games played with the Sound Tigers and was showing that he was ready for a chance to prove himself at the NHL level.
The 6'3 Swedish forward was drafted by the Islanders in the 4th round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft at 102nd overall. He weighs in at 198 pounds and is a versatile hockey player, possessing the ability to either play center or wing, although he is a natural center-man. He also has great speed and was clocked as the team's fastest rookie skater durin...
It seems like its time to talk about this hit, finally. I have given it time to digest and really give it some solid viewing time, as well as waiting for league rulings to come through. There isn't any part of this hit that fans of either team should be happy about. While this may seem like a bold statement, let me just remind fans that the whole idea behind policing hits to the head is to prevent injury and specifically concussions.
There are two things we know for sure, this was a dirty hit and Ryan Miller did suffer a concussion as a result of it. Ryan Miller is a goalie, a goalie was given a dirty hit to the head that could have been avoided, a...