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On The Couch: Trade Deadline Coverage

In this installment I discuss my take on why the Islanders should look to trade Kyle Okposo to the L.A. Kings for Dustin Brown. And with the trade deadline less than 48 hours away, what should GM Garth Snow do with P.A. Parenteau and Evgeni Nabokov? All that and more in this week's edition of On The Couch!

One-on-One With Matt Donovan

Matt Donovan is currently in the second half of his first full season with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. In 50 games played, the 6 foot, 202 pound defenseman has registered six goals and 25 assists for 31 points while maintaining a +11 rating.

Donovan has quickly become one of the Sound Tigers most reliable and contributing defenseman, playing with others such as Aaron Ness, Calvin de Haan and Ty Wishart. Selected 96th overall in the fourth round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Donovan has been developing nicely. He had spent two seasons with the University of Denver before making his transition from college life to that of a professional hockey player. His best year with Denver came in 2011 where he scored 32 points from the blue line in 42 games.

On the depth charts, Donovan looks as if to be one of the most well polished blue liners that the Islanders organization has groomed through their farm system. If he continues his play, this could be the last time Connecticut locals will see him in a Sound Tigers jersey.

He and I talked about that possibility this afternoon over the phone.

Nabokov To Remain An Islander?

Per Arthur Staple of Newsday via Twitter: "Evgeni Nabokov's agent, Don Meehan, tells Newsday that contract talks with #Isles will likely start soon."

And the Twitter feeds went wild. Nabokov, who is currently sitting due to the flu, could possibly return in an Islanders sweater for the 2013 season. Who would have thought that this would be the case a year after Nabokov was claimed off of waivers by GM Garth Snow and then failed to report?

Nabby has a 14-14-0 record with a 2.24 GAA and a .925 save percentage. His stats are pretty solid for a goalie that has been playing on a team with a fragile defense and an offense that started off terribly and currently sits as the fourth worst team in scoring in the league. With the Islanders six points out of the playoffs, his ability to steal games, much like his 45 save shutout performance against the Philadelphia Flyers, has allowed Nabokov to become the main piece between the pipes for a late season playoff push. (Photo Credit: Robert Kowal/Flickr)

Remembering Back To Easter of 2007

The Islanders find themselves eight points out of the playoffs again after losing to the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night. The loss, combined with almost every other team the Isles are fighting with having gained two points in the same night, put them back to the eight point differential. Just another dagger in the heart of Islanders fans that are hopeful of a late season push into the playoffs.

Although there is plenty of time between now and the end of the season, each win is crucial and each loss can be detrimental to their chances of capturing the eighth seed in the East. As I look at the standings and contemplate who needs to win and who needs to lose (just for fun, because my original prediction of the Isles falling to 10th or 11th in the East still stands), I can't help but think back to Easter of 2007.

The Frightening Future Of The New York Islanders

The New York Islanders future has always been uncertain when it's come to whether or not they will remain in Nassau County when the lease expires in 2015. Christian Arnold of Islanders Hockey Blog wrote an excellent piece since he was able to attend a public meeting at the Nassau County Legislature as a group of developers met to discuss the possibility of developing the hub in 2015, with or without the New York Islanders.

The Republicans have done their part to thwart owner Charles Wangs' efforts to get a new arena and the Democrats have thrown road blocks of their own, putting the Islanders in a position where Vince Polimeni of ABLI (A Better Long Island) has the upper hand in developing that giant parking lot into a place that doesn't contain an NHL hockey team. And Polimeni isn't the only one that has come to this realization; other developers have been drawing up their own proposals (Read Arnold's blog for more in-depth coverage).

2015 may be three years away, but it will be here a lot quicker than most may realize, regardless of your position on the topic. But 2013 is a lot closer, and the future of the Islanders success may get worse. (Photo Credit: clyedorama/Flickr)

Isles Alumni Provide A Great Evening Of Hockey

After the New York Islanders hosted the Florida Panthers this afternoon, MET-Rx sponsored a "Skate With The Greats" game where lucky, everyday hockey players that won their sweepstakes got the chance to play against Islanders alumni and other sports celebrities. Among the active participants were goaltender Chico Resch, forwards Doug Weight, Mike Bossy, Clark Gillies, Bobby Nystrom and Butch Goring, defenseman Eric Cairns, General Manager Garth Snow (who skated out instead of playing net), and TV host and former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason.

Boomer's son Gunner, who battles cystic fibrosis, dressed for the game as well and played on the same team as his father. Both of them were on the white team which also featured Bossy, Gillies and Snow. The blue team had Cairns, Nystrom, Weight and Goring dressed as the opposition. Resch played between the pipes for the first period for the blue team but then sat out for the remaining two periods in favor of another goaltender.

Each period was 15 minutes long in running time with a three minute intermission in between each period. Penalty shots were awarded if penalties were taken; believe it or not, two were called. The first came when Boomer wrestled Weight in the corner, yanking his stick out of his hands and throwing it over the glass. Weight managed to get his stick back from the fan, who returned it willingy, and then failed to convert on the penalty shot, rifling a one handed shot over the crossbar.

Dealin' With Nielsen; Isles Center Signs Four-Year Extension

(Photo Credit: kpkelly53/Flickr)

The New York Islanders officially announced today that they have signed two-way center Frans Nielsen to a four-year contract extension with their hockey team. According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, as the story leaked throughout the Twitter world last night during the Islanders game vs. the Philadelphia Flyers, the contract is worth an affordable $11 million.

Kudos to GM Garth Snow who has done an excellent job of locking up the organization's youngest and brightest talent. Nielsen now joins a crew of players that includes Michael Grabner, Kyle Okposo and John Tavares; these four will be wearing an Islanders jersey, at the minimum, for the next four years.

Now if only Garth could get some UFA's in the summer time to help his club take the next step...but that's for another day.

Ranting on the Couch with Erol Bal

Just when you think they have a chance they completely fall flat on there face and break your heart, yes boys and girls these are our New York Islanders. Here is my weekly edition on all thing Islanders related. I am sitting on the couch with my iPad and with my house under going serious renovations; that's why this is not a video edition. But that doesn't mean we can't talk Islanders hockey!

So with the Islanders playing a pre-season game in Brooklyn, is it becoming clearer that Wang is smartening up and saying "Screw Nassau County?" Or Is this the boy who cried wolf again and Charles wants to work with Nassau County and the same people who have screwed him over since 2006? I personally would love to see something happen in Queens and maybe build in the old Shea Stadium or go to Bloomberg and propose your Lighthouse idea to the Iron Triangle (Flushing section). In the end I hope that this pre-season game becomes a sell out.

With the trade deadline approaching, how fitting is it that Mark Eaton scores a game winner? That means we now get a 3rd round pick instead of a 5th rounder for him. Many teams will be scouring for a bottom 6th dman veteran with playoff experience and Garth should seriously consider trading Eaton.

#17 Matt Martin - Still A Mystery

There are traditions within the Sound Tigers fraternity as there are all such of organizations. Some involve rookie chore or duties, i.e. preforming the chicken dance at the annual Booster Club (BSTBC) winter dinner, other snare the pranks and hazing’s you find on any college campus.

One tradition was the annual Super Bowl Sunday trip to the casino. I have no idea which players won or lost on the 2/7/10 trip for Super Bowl XLIV but one player who turned out to be a big winner that day did not make the trip.

Isles Evaluations: Between The Pipes

(Photo Credit: cincyhockey11/Flickr)

How many goaltenders will we see in an Isles uniform by the end of the season? That was a question that a few of my readers asked me before the start of the year. Last year the Islanders featured Dwayne Roloson, Rick DiPietro, Kevin Poulin, Mikko Koskinen, Al Montoya and Nathan Lawson. And oh yeah, they also tried to claim Evgeni Nabokov off waivers to only say, "No thanks" before joining the roster this year.

That's a total of six goalies (with a 7th one that rang off the post) that dressed for the New York Islanders in 2011. The count now is at five for this year between DiPietro, Montoya, Nabokov, Poulin and Anders Nilsson, who earned his first NHL start against the Pittsburgh Penguins the day that Sidney Crosby returned to action.

Koskinen has been playing for KalPa in the Finnish Elite League as John Link explains to us in his latest prospect report since there has been a crowd in the crease for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Both Poulin and Nilsson had been playing so well that there was simply not enough room for Koskinen, choosing him to opt for overseas play.