The 2014 season is only two games old for the New York Islanders, but there is already reason for cautious optimism.
Out of a possible four points, the Islanders have started off the year by taking three of them, tying them with the Carolina Hurricanes for second place in the Metropolitan Division, and putting them good enough for seventh place in the Eastern Conference (Photo credit: spotboslow/Flickr).
A new season, a new beginning as the Islanders began the 2013-2014 season. This is their first as a member of the new Metropolitan Division begun in Newark, NJ against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center Friday night. This was the first game of the season for the Islanders while the Devils were playing the back end of a back to back coming off a 3-0 loss last night on the road to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The New York Islanders made history last night, playing the New Jersey Devils in the first ever NHL game in Brooklyn. Granted, it was only a preseason game, but the sporting event brought in many fans since this is the future home of the New York Islanders.
Unfortunately, the final result isn't exactly what everyone would have liked to see, a 3-0 loss to one of their top rivals in the Metropolitan Division. But as stated above, this was only a preseason game with rosters lacking regular skaters for two teams that are looking to shake off some rust and evaluate line combinations and prospects.
There are a lot of questions surrounding the New York Islanders as they head into next season. The biggest one will be whether or not they are capable of making the playoffs for the second year in a row.
The NHL Facebook page recently asked this same question, and many fans were either skeptical, positive or found the idea downright absurd (and these weren't just Rangers fans).
Despite an intense, hard fought playoff series with a very inexperienced roster against the Pittsburgh Penguins, a team that has been one of the most dominant forces of the league for the past few years, many critics are still not convinced that the New York Islanders are a guaranteed playoff team.
There will be plenty of tough decisions to be made for New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano when training camp starts in September, especially when it comes to deciding which young forward will have a chance to be on the opening night roster.
Both Ryan Strome and Brock Nelson have earned the deserved opportunity to get a long look before being sent back down to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers; the only question is which one will stay.
The New York Islanders once again will be looking for a new winger on the top line to play with John Tavares and Matt Moulson. It has been a continuous up and down process that has seen several players come and go, and new faces will be looking to fill that void once again as the 2013-2014 season approaches (bridgetds/Flickr).
Moulson and Tavares found chemistry from the very beginning, as they were long-time friends prior to joining the Islanders line-up. But finding a third member to join their two-man wolf pack hasn't been an easy solution.
The New York Islanders are currently on the outside looking in on the final match-ups of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Pittsburgh Penguins, who elimated the Isles in six games, are currently set to battle the Boston Bruins to see who will fight for the Cup from the Eastern Conference (Photo credit: douglasgallery30/Flickr).
One Islanders skater, Travis Hamonic, has been spending time in his cottage up north in Canada, enjoying some personal time away from the game.
The 22-year old defenseman is someone I have followed since his days in the WHL after being drafted by the Islanders with the 53rd overall pick of the 2008 Entry Draft. Since then, he has emerged from an inexperienced rookie into a reliable top-four defender, responsible for shutting down an opponent's top scorers.
Hamonic called me this afternoon (once he found a spot with good cell service) to discuss his game, the first round match-up against the Pens and the culture that has overtaken the Islanders locker room.
After a scoreless first period, the Pittsburgh Penguins score three in the second period to blow the game wide open and cruise to a victory in today's game five of this best of seven first round series.
The Penguins got goals from four different players and ten different skaters had points in Pittsburgh's 4-0 shutout. For Tomas Vokoun, it was his second career shutout.