If the only good news the Islanders received Thursday night was that they picked up another big two points in Nashville, it would have been a good enough day. But the night was made a little sweeter when it was reported that forward Kyle Okposo would be joining the team in Florida for its Saturday night game against the Panthers. It is unlikely Okposo will suit up, but the idea of number 21 back in the lineup is enough to excite the Islander fans who were stunned to see him go down with injury over the All-Star Break.
It’s time for me to give the devil his due, and in this case, the devil is the general manager of the New York Islanders: Garth Snow. The much-maligned general manager has had his boisterous critics (*raises hand*) and while much of it has been well-deserving, maybe, just maybe, Snow is ready to have the last laugh.
Another weekend, another joyous Monday. Such is the life of a New York Islander fan now.
The Islanders entered play Friday night 21-10-0, about to play the Red Wings in Detroit, the first of back to back games. The weekend would be completed Saturday night at the Nassau Coliseum against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Going into Friday night the teams were a combined 37-17-11, both firmly entrenched in a playoff spot in the Atlantic Division. Surely most Islander fans were a little nervous and would have signed up for a split of the pair in a heartbeat.
So what happened?
Oh, just a couple or regulation wins, 2-1 versus Detroit and 3-1 against Tampa Bay as the Islanders improved to 23-10-0. Ho-hum.
The Islanders (6-2-0) have proved to be a confident bunch and the high scoring offense looked to flex their muscles early on against Winnipeg (3-5-0) at the Coliseum. The upstart Isles team has played well and beaten teams that were challenging cogs on their opening schedule but haven’t faced an inferior opponent since Carolina.
The Jets came into 2014-15 without any lofty expectations to burden them. Now they are expected to do even less with an injury sidelining premiere player Evander Kane. Struggling to score goals and without any reliable sources of sustainable offense, they should be dominated by the Isles on any given night. The Isles are clearly the better team at this junction of the season in every facet of their game.
But as every fan and analyst knows, projections and predictions mean nothing when the teams step on the ice. Hockey is a game with its ups and downs built on emotion, momentum and grit. On any given night, the NHL provides a stage for teams to upset supposed better teams.
The Islanders host the Dallas Stars Saturday night at the Nassau Coliseum as they look to win their second game in a row coming off a thrilling victory Thursday night in Boston. (Image credit: flickr/ chiefx70)
The New York Islanders begin their 2014-15 season tonight against their Metropolitan Division rival, Carolina Hurricanes, in the first of a back to back home-and-home. Tonight’s contest ends the 6 month slumber for Islander fans and begins the 43rd, and final, season of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. But tonight isn’t about that. Tonight is about the present and the commencement of New York Islanders quest for a 5th Stanley Cup Championship.
Today marks the first day of September, meaning that New York Islanders training camp will be opening up in the next few weeks. This time of year gives the coaching staff an opportunity to observe the types of players they have developing in their system, test out line combinations, and see which prospects are prepared to take on full-time roles in the NHL.
Presently, the Isles have 16 forwards and seven defenseman on one-way contracts, including two legitimate NHL goaltenders who do not have to worry about fighting for their job.
That leaves the Isles with 25 players on their roster.
The 16 forwards is the number that got every hockey expert on the twitter-sphere proclaiming that Garth Snow was absolutely going to trade someone in order to bolster his blue line.
Without question the Islanders have made strides this offseason by revamping their roster in a very good way. However it remains to be seen if they will have the proper guidance to reach the potential that they now have on paper.
As of now, the New York Islanders do not have a forward that is undeniably the top line winger to play alongside of Kyle Okposo and John Tavares. Last year, the Islanders started the season with Matt Moulson on JT’s wing, who was soon exchanged for Thomas Vanek.
Both Moulson and Vanek fit perfectly on the top line. But with Moulson staying in Buffalo and Vanek currently preparing to wear a Minnesota Wild jersey in 2015, the top spot is once again vacated.
If you looked at the Toronto Maple Leafs record you would think they have little to worry about, the team has compiled a 6-3-0 record. Dave Nonis was one of the busiest GM’s in the league this offseason re-signing key players like Kadri, Franson and Kessel while also pursuing players through free agency and trade. All of Nonis’ moves have looked good early on, especially the 1 year $1 M contract given to Mason Raymond. So with all these moves going the Leafs way why are some fans starting to get concerned?
The Maple Leafs are a team that has begun to stray from their identity, and it has begun to be noticeable across the league. Last season Randy Carlyle force fed the re...