When the horn sounded at the end of the third period at the Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday night, Islanders fans rejoiced as their home squad defeated the visiting Florida Panthers 5-2. The Isles skaters removed their jerseys and signed them for the lucky fans who won them as a prize at the end of the game.
Typically, this is a moment at the end of the Islanders season filled with "better luck next year's" and "thanks for supporting us as we rebuild our team." But instead, this time, fans were salivating for more as the Islanders continued to tighten their grasp on their first playoff berth in six years.
"Everyone's been telling me how loud this arena can be," said Matt Martin...
It has been very apparent that the Flyers have struggled to get a consistent effort from any of their forwards this season.
Top players like Danny Briere and Claude Giroux have struggled, young players like Tye McGinn have been taken in and out of the lineup, and enforcers like Tom Sestito have made lineup changes even more interesting. It’s tough to think of a player that has provided a consistent effort while performing his specific role.
When you get down to it, Zac Rinaldo may very well be your guy.
(Pictured: Zac Rinaldo reacts after scoring in the third period on Monday. AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
I've had the pleasure of talking with Travis Hamonic several times throughout my years with the NYI Blog Box. I've actually been in touch with him since his days in the WHL, then with the Moose Jaw Warriors. If you read my interview with him when he was only 19 years old and still hoping to make it to the NHL, you would see that this kid had plenty to say before he was earning a professional paycheck.
Not much has changed with the one that everyone calls, "Hammer." He's just a kid living the dream that loves to play hockey. To be honest, judging from my time spent in the locker room, he is easily, if not the biggest heart and soul player they have on that team. He always wears his heart on his sleeve and is quick to defend his team on the ice, and with his words. I remember asking him once what "the problem" was with his team's play, and he was quick to turn that around and say there aren't any problems, just areas that went wrong that could be fixed. He bleeds orange and blue amongst the best of them.
It shows merit to the Islanders scouts and management, who have not only done a good job of drafting young talent, but finding character guys with leadership qualities as well. That's why Hamonic has become one of Snow's best draft moves in 2008.
"When you have, whatever we had, 8 shots going into the third, 9 shots, something like that, we obviously didn't create enough offense," said Kyle Okposo after the game.
And that was basically the story in the Islanders 2-0 home opening loss to the Florida Panthers. A sold out crowd of 16,234 fans left in mystery of what the new goal song would be for the year as the Isles failed to generate enough offense to get them on the board. The Islanders were out shot 10-5 after the first period and only had 8 shots through the first 30 minutes of the game.
Al Montoya got the nod in goal over Rick DiPietro and Evgeni Nabokov, a somewhat surprising choice but one that was ...
Preview: An opening night battle between last year's overall 27th and 28th best teams - the New York Islanders and the Florida Panthers. However with opening night comes the promise of new hope, a fresh start, and in the case of the Islanders and Panthers, a lot to be excited about.
The Islanders are opening their 40th season in franchise history and have set their goals high. GM Garth Snow has stated that the goal is for the team to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in 4 seasons. The team is also looking for their first playoff series victory in 18 seasons.
The Islanders offseason was relatively quiet following a furious finish last season, whe...