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?
Day one of training camp for The New York Islanders has been completed as plenty of familiar faces took to the ice today to either look to impress the coaching staff, or get back into game shape.
However, one player who was not at camp was defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky.
Visnovsky has made it clear that he wants to remain with his team in the KHL, which is unsettling for Isles fans as well as his teammates. Arthur Staple of Newsday's recent report from camp today had quotes from some of the Islanders, including general manager Garth Snow, that indicated their displeasure with his actions (Photo Credit: bridgetds/Flick).
Despite talks of another NHL season getting wiped out entirely, many players from the New York Islanders have returned to the Island to prepare for training camp. This week, Eric Boulton, Matt Carkner, Michael Grabner, Kirill Kabanov, Andrew MacDonald, Brock Nelson, Nino Niederreiter, Frans Nielsen, Marty Reasoner and Johan Sundstrom took part in some informal skates at Islanders Ice Works in Syosset. (Photo Credit: Islanders Hockey Blog/Flickr).
These players have not only been skating, but they have been active off the ice as well. Just yesterday Michael Grabner signed 150 autographs for the first group of fans to attend the grand opening of the Cantiague Park Pro Shop.
The past few weeks have been important for guys like Boulton and Carkner, who are just meeting some of their Islanders teammates for the first time after signing contracts with the organization on the first day of Free Agency.
The New York Islanders will finally have a better picture of what their defense will look like in 2013 as Lubomir Visnovsky's arbitration hearing is set to take place in just three days on September 4th. (Photo Credit: Bridget Samuels/Flickr)
As many of you know, Visnovsky filed a grievance with the NHLPA stating that the trade from the Anaheim Ducks to the Isles voided his No-Trade Clause and that the Ducks never approached him about the deal when they should have. However, the Ducks state that his NTC was used when the Edmonton Oilers dealt him to the Ducks in 2010.
If Visnovsky wins the decision, he remains part of the Ducks organization. If he loses, the trade stands and he is a member of the New York Islanders.