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A Vanek Reunion?

Islander fans, if someone told you the team could add a dynamic winger this summer, one with a history of producing on a top line and with solid chemistry with your best two offensive players, would you say yes? Better yet, how quickly would you say yes?

Isles Sign Halak

In what should end Islander fans' goalie worries, the team announced today that it signed goalie Jaroslav Halak to a four-year contract extension worth $18 million. Halak was acquired a few weeks ago from Washington for a 4th round pick, a price that was a no-brainer then and looks even better now.

What You Need To Know, Round 2: Pittsburgh Penguins Vs. New York Rangers

Team Breakdown

Pittsburgh: The Penguins managed to secure victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets by using their depth, their defense, and strong play on the puck. The Penguins had a tough time getting everything going against the very tight checking Blue Jackets, but still managed to control the puck at a 60% corsi and shake up the lines enough to avoid the preferred match ups of Columbus.

All of this plays in well against the Rangers. Pittsburgh will not have to focus exclusively on the forward match ups, mostly because New York’s shut down play Boyle has not had great success against Crosby. Pittsburgh has been able to use five different lines, comprised mostly of t...

Islanders Keep the Pick: Now What?

Recently several news outlets reported that Islanders’ general manager Garth Snow would retain the team’s first round pick in the upcoming June draft, currently is slotted fifth overall (also known as the “New York Islander Honorary Slot”). In case you hibernated from November until March (or have done your best to suppress the disappointment of another Islander season), the Islanders are required to send Buffalo a first round pick either this year or next as a result of its Thomas Vanek acquisition.

What You Need to Know, Penguins Versus Jackets Team Breakdown

Breakdown: Team Analysis

Penguins – The Penguins are the more talented team in this match up and it isn’t all that close. Pittsburgh is a very lucky team in terms of talent.

They will have a healthy Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, something questioned last season with Crosby coming off a broken jaw. Pittsburgh has a legitimate top six on the back end this season. It currently looks like the only player that will miss significant time in the playoffs is Marcel Goc and his return can be as early as next week.

(Disclaimer, this is not including Pascal Dupuis who is out from ACL surgery in February, there is no possible way he can return this season)

The q...

Isles 2014 Year End Review

The New York Islanders have ended their 2014 season by finishing 26th in the league, good enough for the fifth overall pick in this year's draft lottery and a 34-37-11 record.

At this time last year, the Isles were 24-17-7, a record that was good enough to place them eighth in the Eastern Conference and allow them to play the Pittsburgh Penguins in a first round playoff series match-up.

Clearly, this was not the direction that the Islanders and their fan-base expected them to travel this year.

2013-14 NHL Awards Predictions: The Hart Memorial Trophy

Daniel Spevak is a writer for The Checking Line - Flyers Edition. This is a part of a multi-part series breaking down the potential finalists for the NHL's annual awards.

The Hart Trophy is awarded to the player deemed to be the most valuable each season.

While a lot of players fit the bill of being good and are capable of putting up statistics, only a handful fit the description of being the most valuable to their respective teams. Here are the players that have been keys to their club’s success.

Honorable Mentions

Phil Kessel - Toronto Maple Leafs

Kessel has had quite the season. He’s tied for fifth in the league with 80 points, and has a career-hi...

Isles Lose 4-3 To The Capitals After Shootout

The New York Islanders saw their three-game winning streak come to an end on Saturday night when the surrendered a two-goal lead to the Washington Capitals in a 4-3 shootout loss.

Evgeni Nabokov stopped 26 of 29 shots, while Braden Holtby knocked aside 35 of 38 as well as each shot he faced in the shootout.

2013-14 NHL Awards Predictions: The Jack Adams Award

Daniel Spevak is a writer for The Checking Line - Flyers Edition. This is a part of a multi-part series breaking down the potential finalists for the NHL's annual awards.

The Jack Adams Award is an accolade given to the best coach in the NHL each season.

Between rookie coaches bringing teams back to former levels of success, midseason replacements and established veterans, there’s no shortage of qualified contenders for the award.

Let’s take a look at who should be considered among all 30 NHL coaches this season and see who fits the description of the one who has “contributed the most to his team's success.”

Honorable Mentions

Ken Hit...

So Who's in Net? The Isles' Goalie Dilemma

Below is a collection of names that will either be free agents or that could be in play via the trade market. One item to note is that with many of these names, there is a reason why they are available. That is not to say they are bad or wouldn’t represent an upgrade over the current three-headed monster the Islanders have used this year (for a laugh, check out the league’s goalie leaders and scroll to the bottom of the list).