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Isles Evaluations: Getting Defensive

The New York Islanders have 34 games remaining on the season, having surpassed the mid-point of the season a few games ago. They currently sit 13th in the Eastern Conference and ten points out of the last and final playoff spot, trailing the Tampa Bay Lightning, Montreal Canadiens, Winnipeg Jets, Toronto Maple Leafs and New Jersey Devils.

With the second half of the year already seven games in, the Isles find themselves in a tight spot. There is still hope that they can compete for a late season rush, hoping to charge their way into the playoffs. However, losing both games to the Leafs this week, only earning one out of possible four points, has hurt their chances drastically. But if the Islanders commit to another second half-season in which they suddenly play their best hockey in the final stages of the year, they might just meet my prediction of falling just short of the post-season between the 9th and 11th spots.

Earlier this week I took a look at the team's forwards and how they have produced so far while considering where they might fit in the team's future.

Klementyev Says "Nyet," Isles Say "Goodbye"

The New York Islanders sent out an official press-release today stating that Russian defensive prospect Anton Klementyev has been suspended by the club for a failure to report to his ECHL assignment to the Idaho Steelheads.

Per the Islanders official press-release:

UNIONDALE, NY (January 7, 2012) – The New York Islanders announced today that defenseman Anton Klementyev has been suspended for failure to report for his ECHL assignment to the Idaho Steelheads. Klementyev began the 2011-12 season with the Islanders American Hockey League affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Erol Bal on the couch chatting Isles Hockey

Erol Bal joins the TCL crew and talks with fans about all things New York Islanders. He has questions for you, and wants you to send him your best as well!

Isles Injuries Starting To Mount

(Photo Credit: cincyhockey11/Flickr)

When you think of the New York Islanders and associate the word "injury" to their name, you automatically think of all the man-games lost by this team over the past few years and immediately think of the infamous Rick DiPietro. But right now, the injury bug is starting to bite in places other than the 15-year man's knees.

Brian Rolston was placed on the Injured Reserve retroactive to Dec 15th due to a concussion he sustained during the team's 3-2 loss to the Dallas Stars this passed Thursday. He left the game and did not return and has not played since.This has allowed Nino Niederreiter to return to the line-up without their having to be any major changes to the roster.

Other players, like Tim Wallace, have been getting extra playing time as well. Although Wallace has previous NHL experience with the Pittsburgh Penguins, he really hasn't been all that impressive.

Isles Look to Tame Wild

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.

Isles Get Star Struck, Lose 3-2 To Dallas

The Islanders inability to score with the man-advantage and stay out of the penalty box would be the story for tonight's 3-2 loss to the visiting Dallas Stars. The Isles were 0-3 on the power play, two of which came at crucial moments where they needed to tie the game. Throw in their continuous trips to the sin bin and you have yourself a recipe for a poorly played hockey game.

Isles Files: Inching Closer To The Season

Last time I checked in the Islanders had announced Mark Streit as the teams’ 13th captain in NHL history while another arena proposal had been put forth and published in Newsday. It’s safe to say that plenty has changed since then.

As far as arena news, the task force formed by the Association for a Better Long Island decided not to submit their plans for renovating the Coliseum. Too many disagreements from within the group forced the task force to dismantle. However, individual members will be submitting their ideas to County Executive, Ed Mangano this week.

Mangano has also recently stated that he plans on asking for state funds to help provide financial support ...

And The Islanders Will Finish In....

The New York Islanders are in the middle of training camp; plenty of fresh faces are looking to surprise the coaching staff and crack the line-up while a few other seasoned and whithered faces look to continue their NHL career with an impressive tryout.

But what everyone is hoping for is a successful season that will result in the Islanders FINALLY making the playoffs after the slow and steady rebuild began three seasons ago.

Let's take a look at some of the major events that have transpired in Islanders country during the off-season thus far:

1. General Manager Garth Snow re-signed Kyle Okposo and Michael Grabner to five-year contract extensions at an affordable pri...

A Look At the Defense on the Island

There had been talk since the start of free agency that the Islanders were going to look to add a top six forward as well as a top four defenseman. So far, General Manager Garth Snow has traded Trent Hunter to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for veteran winger, Brian Rolston. It was seen as mostly a cap floor move as his salary brings them closer to that goal, but he also will provide veteran leadership, a booming slap-shot and a top-six presence as long as he stays healthy.

But the defenseman has yet to be found.

The Islanders went into the off-season with six defenseman already under contract with Mark Streit, Andy MacDonald, Travis Hamonic, Mark Eaton, Mike Mottau and Mil...

Who Will Be Next To Captain The Islanders?

There have been many great hockey players who have played for the New York Islanders that were honored in wearing the C on their jersey as captain. The most recent is Doug Weight, who announced his retirement a few weeks back and has accepted a new role with the team as an assistant coach. His leadership and advice will continue to serve well in the locker room and on the ice, but it will be time for someone new to fill the void.

Many feel that Mark Streit would be fitting for the next captain. He's one, if not the most reliable veteran on the team and produces consistently as the team's offensive defenseman who quarterbacks the power play. He arguably has been one of Garth ...