Entering Nassau Coliseum tonight was very different than every other season; there was a vibe circulating around the concourse that was unlike the previous years. Tonight’s home opener marked the beginning of the end for the 43-year old Nassau Coliseum, the only building that the Islanders have ever called home.
The game opened up with a raucous crowd welcoming back the orange and blue to the ice. Unlike previous years, the Islanders came out all at once and stood around the logo at center ice as opposed to one by one, signifying that this year is all about the team and what it has meant to Long Island since 1972.
The New York Islanders begin their 2014-15 season tonight against their Metropolitan Division rival, Carolina Hurricanes, in the first of a back to back home-and-home. Tonight’s contest ends the 6 month slumber for Islander fans and begins the 43rd, and final, season of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. But tonight isn’t about that. Tonight is about the present and the commencement of New York Islanders quest for a 5th Stanley Cup Championship.
It appeared that this rainy Saturday would be nothing but a dreary day on Long Island with every resident hoping for a few rays of sunshine to brighten up the day. Well, the sun may not have appeared from behind the clouds, but things are certainly shining bright after the New York Islanders made some bold trades that have drastically improved their roster.
The New York Islanders have acquired defenseman Johnny Boychuk from the Boston Bruins and Nick Leddy from the Chicago Blackhawks.
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.
Rumors run rampant and blame is being cast like a fly fisherman in the wake of yet another early playoff exit/flameout by the Pittsburgh Penguins. This time it was a blown 3-1 series lead against the New York Rangers.
I believe a large portion of the reactions, or over reactions at times, isn’t so much on the losing alone but rather how they have lost. I would like to think that even the most Kool-Aid drinking Penguins fans, who believe just because they have Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, that they should be in the Cup Finals every year, realize the difficulty that is the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The fandom demands of players being traded and coaches being fired is an oft found react...
The New York Islanders returned home tonight to face the Boston Bruins, looking to build on last night's 5-4 win over the Ottawa Senators. And they did just that, defeating Boston by a score of 3-1 led by Kyle Okposo's three assists, strong goaltending from Kevin Poulin and Thomas Vanek notching his first goal as an Islanders forward.
The game was played in front of a packed Nassau Coliseum crowd, featuring both Isles and Bruins fans. In fact, the fans from Boston were loud, often and early. But the Islanders faithful would respond, letting the visiting fans know that they weren't exactly welcome at the old barn.
With the possible exception of World Cup Soccer, there is no contest in sports more intense than playoff hockey at any level. Tonight at 7pm The Webster Bank Arena will play host to the AHL’s opening round of the Calder Cup Championships. This years contest starts with an historic battle between the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, proud affiliate of the New York Islanders, and Hartford’s Whale, the New York Rangers sister club.
While the two teams have met some 130 times in the last 11 years, they have never faced each other in the playoffs. While Bridgeport holds a slight advantage in this years’ regular season 10 game competition, the only advantage that earns them is home ice. This is only an advantage if the fans come out and make it one. The fans that do show up can expect to see professional hockey at its best. Here is how I see it: