The Islanders have begun the season slowly on offense, so for some reason their coach Jack Capuano believes that breaking up the teams top scoring pair is the best way to ignite the team. This logic makes no sense.
Most NHL fans have been focusing their attention on the NHL playoffs. Both the Kings/Blackhawks and the Penguins/Bruins are in the midst of their Conference Finals match-ups, but rumors and news have continued to run wild surrounding the New York Islanders.
The biggest, and most latest story coming about the Islanders is that number one defenseman and team captain Mark Streit will not be returning next year (Photo Credit: Robert Kowal/Flickr).
At this moment, Islanders captain Mark Streit is sitting and wondering if he will receive a phone call from GM Garth Snow to tell him that he has been traded (Photo Credit: Robert Kowal/Flickr).
It was tweeted out yesterday by Darren Dreger of TSN and reinforced by Newsday reporter Arthur Staple that negotiations on a contract extension for Streit have stalled with the Islanders.
The club apparently does not want to trade the 35-year old defenseman and would much rather keep his veteran presence part of the late season playoff push. But unless things change, he will be a UFA by this summer.
As reported previously this week, the New York Islanders locked up defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky with a two-year contract extension worth $9.5 million.
GM Garth Snow has once again managed to acquire a valuable veteran through the trade market and convince him to stay longer than planned after he previously tried to avoid joining the team (Photo Credit: Robert Kowal/Flickr).
The first player that went through a similar scenario was goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, who is also playing in the final year of his contract. However, it has already been reported by Arthur Staple of Newsday that he appears to have an interest with staying with the team.
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.
Kyle Okposo went into the 2012 season looking to rebound after an injured 2011 year that only saw him play 38 games. In those games, Okposo only posted 20 points, a far cry from the 52 he scored in his sophomore season. (Photo Credit: bridgetds/Flickr)
It was also likely less than what he, his team and fans were hoping to see him contribute after having such a great year in 2010.
Last year started off very similarly to 2011 - as if he was still injured and watching from the press box. He only scored three points in the first 15 games of the year and was eventually a healthy scratch for three straight games.
But Okposo would redeem himself, having heard the message from Coach Capuano loud and clear.
Marty Reasoner was signed to a two-year deal during last summer's off-season to replace the recently departed, Zenon Konopka. "Z" instilled toughness and leadership in the locker room and gave Islanders fans, as well as his teammates, a reason to stick up for themselves when getting the brunt of the NHL's toughest teams and officials. But due to some rumored internal issues, Konopka was let go to free agency and Reasoner was signed to be his replacement; a less threatening, but more productive fourth line center that could kill penalties.
To everyone's dismay, it did not take long for Reasoner to quickly become the scapegoat for most Islanders fans. He was constantly making defensive mistakes, out of position and didn't score his first goal of the season until March 29th against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He finished the year with five assists to go with that solo goal for at total of six points in 61 games played. He was also a whopping -25, the worst +/- score of his entire career.
Not exactly the type of defensive play you want from your penalty killing, depth forward, especially when he was a +2 with 32 points and 14 goals the season before.
There's John Tavares with 66 points, just one goal/point shy of tying his career high from last season; there's Matt Moulson with 58 points, continuing his increased season output this season so far by five points; and of course there is P.A. Parenteau with 61 points, having the best season of his NHL career being tied for fifth in the league for assists (46) with Evgeni Malkin. And after that?
Well there's Mark Streit with 36 points, likely to finish 10 points less than he did two years ago. Streit has had his most disappointing season in an Islanders uniform. He's a -23 and only has two power play goals this year. He had nine and ten in his previous two seasons, respectively.
There lies your biggest problem heading into the end of the season. The Islanders offense was expected to be one of the team's bright sides going into 2012. To the contrary, they have the third worst offense in the NHL and have suffered a major drought when it's come to secondary scoring.
It's still a long shot, but the Islanders have pulled themselves back into playoff conversations with a 1-0 win yesterday over the New Jersey Devils that has put them within five points of the last spot in the Eastern Conference. But even so, there are plenty of questions that surround the New York Islanders hockey club, ranging from the uncertain future of the arena to whether or not Tim Horton's will ever return to the concession stands. The most important questions, the ones that impact the immediate future, are the ones that need to be answered first; GM Garth Snow has to figure out where certain players will fit on his roster as the rebuild pushes forward.
I've already talked about the possibility of Evgeni Nabokov re-signing with the Islanders, as well as teammate P.A. Parenteau returning in an orange and blue sweater. But Snow will have to take a long look at some of his current regulars and decide where they fit with the team long term as some young, fresh faces are pushing for NHL jobs.
It is still a long shot, but the Islanders have once again pulled themselves into playoff conversation with a 1-0 win over the New Jersey Devils. Kyle Okposo scored the lone goal for the Isles while Anders Nilsson earned his first NHL win with a 24-save shutout performance that earned him first star honors on the night.
"Today I think all the guys out there put up a great job for me," said Nilsson. "The first two periods, I only had 12 shots and they blocked a lot of shots and when they got a shot through it was from the boards. They made it real easy for me to play out there today. They helped me out a lot."
Okposo concurred with Nilsson's belief that the Islanders played one of their best defensive games of the year, rivaling their previous defensive win over the Boston Bruins the night before.