It's early. The season is only four games old for the New York Islanders, who have come out of the gate with a 2-2-0 record. And although he has four assists on the year, it hasn't been John Tavares who has been scoring the majority of the goals (Photo Credit: MR_53/Flickr).
Keith Aucoin, who is tied for first on the team in goals with Michael Grabner, is slowly emerging as this year's key pick up by GM Garth Snow.
Grabner is expected to be on the score sheet after scoring 20-plus goals over his first two years with the Islanders. But Aucoin has only played 106 NHL games and only had the first two-goal game of his career last night against the Boston Bruins.
The New York Islanders kick off their first road trip of the season tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. It will be the first of three meetings between the two teams during the shortened 48-game season.
With healthy head coach Jack Capuano back behind the bench, the Isles came out on Monday afternoon with confidence and agility. They look to keep the momentum going tonight and pick up another two points. (Photo Credit: gbalogh/Flickr)
Lee, the Islanders 6th round pick (154th overall) of the 2009 NHL entry draft, is a center on a very good Fighting Irish team. The 6'3" 227 pound Edina, Minnesota native is a junior for the 7th ranked Notre Dame squad.
According to Katie Strang of ESPN, New York Islanders prospect Nino Niederreiter is seeking a trade from the organization.
Niederreiter has currently been playing for the Isles farm team affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers after dressing for 55 games with the Islanders during the 2011-2012 season. While in the NHL, Niederreiter scored one goal and was a -29. He primarily played on the fourth line with Jay Pandolfo and Tim Wallace (Photo Credit: Robert Kowal/Flickr).
He has arguably been the best player for the Sound Tigers this year. In 39 games played he has scored 19 goals and 17 assists for 36 points. He also leads the team with 122 shots on goal and eight power play points.
The second game of the year started off a little differently than most early starts for the Islanders in recent years. These day games usually saw the Islanders sleep walking and getting outworked by their opponents.
Maybe Matt Martin and Joe Finley both knew that the team needed an alarm clock to get the team and the crowd into it. (Photo Credit: Flickr/capwell)
Whatever the reasoning was for dropping the gloves, it worked. The team was inspired. The crowd was loud.
Lost in the fisticuffs to begin the game, Jack Capuano took his spot behind the bench despite undergoing surgery to remove kidney stones just days prior.
The new slimmed Capuano could have helped inspire an energized Islanders' squad.
The Islanders came out swinging and their energy resulted in a much better effort than Saturday's opener vs. New Jersey.
The 2012-13 NHL season commences today, with 13 games in total taking place. More importantly, the New York Islanders will have their fourth consecutive home-opener against last season's Eastern Conference Champions, the New Jersey Devils.
Unfortunately, the Isles haven't won on opening night since 2007. Last October, they gave the new Winnipeg Jets their first win in 2-0 shutout. (Photo Credit: IslesPunkFan/Flickr)
Lost in the flurry of what fans are referring affectionately as "Lubo Gate", the Islanders became a whole lot tougher in the off season. They did this by signing a man who has no problem dropping the gloves in defense of his teammates.
Matt Carkner quietly signed a three year deal worth $4.5 million dollars. Carkner is not what you would call an offensive defenseman but he does come with a grittiness that leaves a mark.
Just ask the players that had to be scraped off of the boards from his bone crunching hits.
In his unofficial initiation to Islanders fans' hearts, he became public enemy number one during the Senators' playoff series where they pushed the Rangers to the limit. Who can forget his assault on Brian Boyle which earned him a one game suspension?
Let us go back to the 2012 NHL Draft. The Islanders fan base buzzed when news spread that you were traded to solidify a blue line that could benefit from your experience and impressive play.
A lot of fans moved to YouTube to find out more about a player that spent his whole career in the Western Conference. They didn't know much more than how cool your last name would look on an Islanders sweater. (Photo Credit: Daralee's Web World Photos)
It was hard for the fans to hide their excitement when they saw this addition that could help immediately. It was a breath of fresh air that someone added to the roster could help right away. Not in 2 years. Not in 1 year. But now. Garth Snow had done a great job in executing this trade.
That ended almost immediately when you filed a grievance with the NHL, trying to void the trade. This wasn't a great way to endear yourself to a fan base. They were willing to put that aside once the case was settled and the trade was indeed valid.
There was a sense that you did not want to be in Uniondale. You are not alone in this. You are not the first player, nor will you be the last player to claw in the doorway on the way to Long Island. But the actions of your peers do not excuse your behavior.
Hockey is back and everything is right in the world of the NHL. Well, sort of. There are some sour faces on fans that feel betrayed by the shield. But pouty, angered people will quickly turn that frown upside down. Fans will forgive as soon as the first puck drops on January 19th. Who can hold a grudge with the game we all love so dearly?
As the new season rapidly approaches, there are some immediate questions that need to be tended to.
Who will the shortened season favor: the veteran teams or the young guns?
How will teams deal with the immediate pressure of each game meaning more than usual?