When the horn sounded at the end of the third period at the Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday night, Islanders fans rejoiced as their home squad defeated the visiting Florida Panthers 5-2. The Isles skaters removed their jerseys and signed them for the lucky fans who won them as a prize at the end of the game.
Typically, this is a moment at the end of the Islanders season filled with "better luck next year's" and "thanks for supporting us as we rebuild our team." But instead, this time, fans were salivating for more as the Islanders continued to tighten their grasp on their first playoff berth in six years.
"Everyone's been telling me how loud this arena can be," said Matt Martin...
Prior to the NHL lockout, the New York Islanders announced that the team will be moving to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn once the lease with Nassau County expires in 2015. Although this was good news for the local fans, this situation also provided a lot of work for team owner Charles Wang and General Manager Garth Snow (Photo Credit: Official New York Islanders/Flickr).
The Islanders need to be a team ready to compete by the time they enter their new home. A new arena means a new identity, and it cannot be the one that this team has maintained for the last few years.
With the season only a few months away and a feel that the Islanders are done shopping in free agency it seems like a nice time to take a look at possible opening night line combinations.
Moulson – Tavares – Boyes
This line doesn’t show too much difference from last season besides the addition of Brad Boyes. It is believed that Boyes was bought in to fill the spot left by PA. Playing with Tavares and Moulson should hopefully bring out Boyes old scoring touch from a few seasons ago.
What is going on with the Islanders and their prospects? Rhett Rakhshani has signed a one-year deal with HV71 in Sweden, Justin DiBenedetto is on his way to Austria and Mark Katic is going to Germany. Granted Trevor Gillies also signed to play in Russia but he was never going to see the NHL again and I think we can all agree on that. What does this mean for the players and the Islanders as an organization?
P.A. Parenteau went from cheap free agent pick up to first line winger in only two seasons, finding a nice niche alongside of John Tavares and opposite of Matt Moulson. The trio headlined the Islanders as the top scorers with Parenteau recording 18 goals, 49 assists and 67 points. He also was 12th in the league in assists.
This was a guy that could barely scratch the New York Rangers line-up despite averaging more than a point per game in the AHL four consecutive seasons in a row. At 29 years old, Parenteau is definitely going to want to cash in on a long-term deal that will reward him for his services.
Can you blame the guy? He's spent a long time trying to make it in the big league and finally has proven that he is more than capable of playing in the NHL.
But are the Islanders preparing to part ways with one of their most important core members?
If there is one thing that impresses me about the game of hockey it is the amount of effort put into it by the players. In their early twenties and in perfect health, a forty - second shift on the ice will bring them to the bench dripping with sweat and gasping for air. By the time the game has ended they are exhausted with legs on fire from the effort. They work harder than one can imagine and a good team or player does it every shift. They also play hard when the game is over.
In February 2010 many people around the world were astounded by photos taken of the Canadian Women’s Ice Hockey team celebrating their Gold Medal victory with some champagne and a cigar on-ice hours after the event. Hockey fans were not affronted. We knew they deserved the celebration, a small reward for a life-long dream achieved. Two days later and thousands of miles away I would suffer my final upper body injury resulting from hockey, delivered by a friend and a Canadian hockey player.
Being a Sound Tiger fan pays huge dividends. Quality professional hockey games, a state of the art facility at the Webster Bank Arena, and a unique fan experience top the list. Become a season ticket holder and the entire experience gets ramped up exponentially with all the perks available. Join the booster club and you will be given the opportunity to meet and perhaps befriend these young and future stars.
There is a dark side to this happy scenario, which can oftentimes be painful. As a developmental team, players are rarely here for more than 3 seasons; so saying goodbye to a friend becomes part of the equation. Sadly, Jesse Joensuu and Robin Figren are two friends that did not return this season.
The most anxious time of the year for me and many hockey fans is waiting for the season to start. Like a child waiting for Santa or a back-seat-brat asking every two minutes “Are we there yet?”, I cant wait. The late June NHL draft and notes from team camps and mini camps does little to satisfy my hunger for hockey.
In late August 2009, with the next season just a flip of the calendar away, I was as anxious as ever. The previous season was a good one for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. A tiebreaker away from being division champions, their 49-23-3-5 record for 106 points was not enough after a disappointing first round ouster in the playoffs.
They come from towns like Blackie, Alberta, Carp and Porcupine, Ontario in Canada, from U.S. cities like Orange, California, Smithtown, New York and Pittsburgh,PA from Sweden, Finland, Russia and Slovakia. Most of them were drafted at the age of 18 at the annual June NHL draft. Many played their way up to the AHL in the junior leagues of Canada, the NCAA and minor leagues in the U.S.A. or the elite leagues of Europe. Now in their twenties (barely), they are members of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, proud affiliate of the New York Islanders, and a phone call away from realizing their dream - playing in the NHL.