The Islanders might not have signed any additional forwards (aside from Kirill Petrov) this off-season, but there is certainly going to be a log jam at that position as the organization prepares for training camp.
You have your obvious two on the top line between Kyle Okposo and John Tavares. The third member of that line remains to be seen, a problem that has lingered since last season and must be remedied this year.
The New York Islanders finished last place in their division six out of the last eight seasons. However, the Isles finished this season with 101 points, third place in the Metropolitan Division, a Hart trophy finalist named John Tavares, and a physically brutal first round playoff exit that lasted seven games against the Washington Capitals.
Despite this drastic change, GM Garth Snow is not a finalist for this year’s General Manager of the Year award.
Newsday recently reported that Islanders GM Garth Snow is committed to bringing back his coaching staff. A drastically improved season has led Snow to believe that it is appropriate to keep head coach Jack Capuano, as well as assistant coaches Doug Weight, Bob Corkum and Greg Cronin, and goalie coach Mike Dunham, behind the Islanders bench next year.
Many fans disagree with this notion. The Islanders did have a tremendous season, improving from a team that consistently fell in the standings for a pick in the draft lottery to a team tied for fourth place in the East with 101 points.
If the only good news the Islanders received Thursday night was that they picked up another big two points in Nashville, it would have been a good enough day. But the night was made a little sweeter when it was reported that forward Kyle Okposo would be joining the team in Florida for its Saturday night game against the Panthers. It is unlikely Okposo will suit up, but the idea of number 21 back in the lineup is enough to excite the Islander fans who were stunned to see him go down with injury over the All-Star Break.
It’s time for me to give the devil his due, and in this case, the devil is the general manager of the New York Islanders: Garth Snow. The much-maligned general manager has had his boisterous critics (*raises hand*) and while much of it has been well-deserving, maybe, just maybe, Snow is ready to have the last laugh.
The Jack Adams award is given out each year to the coach who is judged to have contributed the most to his team’s success in the National Hockey League. If you were to ask Isles fans about Jack Capuano’s name being thrown into the list of candidates for the award a year ago, you would have received plenty of laughs.
Despite being the next winningest coach for the Islanders after Al Arbour, Capuano had drawn the ire of the Islanders faithful for his inability to provide Nassau Coliseum ice with a winning hockey team after making the playoffs the year before.
But considering the success of the Islanders this season, it would be inconsiderate of the league to not take a look at Capuano when deciding who should be nominated for the award.
At the end of the first half of the season (technically more), the New York Islanders have secured second place in the entire Eastern Conference, first place in the Metropolitan Division with a record of 31-14-1 & 63 points. Here at TCL, the Cappy's encapsulate what has gotten the Islanders to this point, and what will drive them towards future success & hopefully a long Stanley Cup run.
Michael Grabner has been activated off the injured reserve and is close to making his debut in the Islanders line-up this season. He was seen this morning practicing with Frans Nielsen and Mikhail Grabovski, although it has yet to be confirmed if this is the line he will be playing with tomorrow night when they visit the Ottawa Senators for the second half of a home-and-home match-up.
Where Grabner would fit has come into question, given that the current line-up has done very well this season (18-7-0).
The New York Islanders played in a packed house filled with two fan bases that were seething with animosity towards one another. In previous years, a visiting division rival fan base would overtake the Coliseum and diminish most “Let’s Go Islanders” chants.
Not this year.
On a night where the team was honoring Islanders legend, Denis Potvin, Isles fans quickly extinguished the chants from New Jersey fans and drowned out their support (as well as throw in many other chants as well) with ease as the home team fought for a 3-1 victory in front of a sold out Nassau Coliseum crowd.