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Catching Up With Travis Hamonic

The New York Islanders are currently on the outside looking in on the final match-ups of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Pittsburgh Penguins, who elimated the Isles in six games, are currently set to battle the Boston Bruins to see who will fight for the Cup from the Eastern Conference (Photo credit: douglasgallery30/Flickr).

One Islanders skater, Travis Hamonic, has been spending time in his cottage up north in Canada, enjoying some personal time away from the game.

The 22-year old defenseman is someone I have followed since his days in the WHL after being drafted by the Islanders with the 53rd overall pick of the 2008 Entry Draft. Since then, he has emerged from an inexperienced rookie into a reliable top-four defender, responsible for shutting down an opponent's top scorers.

Hamonic called me this afternoon (once he found a spot with good cell service) to discuss his game, the first round match-up against the Pens and the culture that has overtaken the Islanders locker room.

Eastern Conference Semi Final Update; Penguins Edition

It took two overtimes and three simple defensive breakdowns to end a pivotal game three in the Penguins and Senators round two playoff series. It was dramatic, nerve racking, and punishing. The nasty play and overall demeanor developing in this series is better than advertised.

The tone coming into the series was mostly anticipation of brutal play. With hopes that the polarizing penguins club could be witnessed getting knocked around by a bigger Ottawa defensive core. This did not happen to the extent in which many were hoping, I see you Philly, but the physicality shown in this series dwarfs the slow tone of the only other eastern conference series.

In game one Pittsburgh had...

2013 Playoffs Round 2 Preview

The first round of the 2013 NHL playoffs are in the books, eight teams have been sent packing to hit the links while eight teams remain to square off in the conference semi-finals. (Photo Credit: Torch Creative)

The first round did not disappoint hockey fans who have come to expect physical, fast, dramatic hockey in the playoffs and year after year they are not disappointed.

One year after the Los Angeles Kings became the first eight seed ever to win the Stanley Cup both seven seeds and both six have managed to advance to the semi-finals. The Eastern Conference Semi-final match-ups pit the Pittsburgh Penguins (1) against the Ottawa Senators (7) and the Boston Bruins (4) face off with the New York Rangers (6), while the Western Conference will feature the Chicago Blackhawks (1) who will try to hold off the Detroit Redwings (7) and the defending champion Los Angeles Kings (5) will face their fellow Californians, the San Jose Sharks (6).

Two series start today:

Lessons Learned?

Lessons Learned?

With all due respect to the New York Islanders tremendous play in round one of the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Pittsburgh Penguins were terrible.

They refused to alter their stretch passing breakout plan after the Islanders set up a 1-3-1 trapping system. They refused to battle for long stretches of time in order to stifle the quick transition game of the Islanders. The Penguins almost refused to change everything except for the goaltender and while this worked out to their advantage, it is not going to work this time around.

The Ottawa Senators, the Penguins next opponent in round two of the playoffs, are a completely animal than that of the Islanders. Th...

The Islanders Restore Pride Despite Being Eliminated By Pens In Game Six

The New York Islanders lost 4-3 in overtime last night to the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins, thus ending their run in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Penguins took the series in six games, winning the last battle on Coliseum ice in front of a sold out crowd of Islanders fans that continued to give their home team a standing ovation despite being eliminated.

"It's exciting to play in a building like this. It's a lot of fun. In my opinion, we're probably the loudest arena in the league now," said Matt Martin after the game.

"The fans were unbelievable through the end of the season there in the last five home games and all through the playoffs. They were a big factor in the way we played at home down the stretch. It makes a huge difference for us. People don't realize it but it gives you a little extra boost, a little extra energy when the crowd goes nuts like that. You definitely want to do something exciting."

John Tavares Nominated For The Hart Trophy

For the first time in a long time, an Islanders skater has been nominated for the NHL's Hart Memorial Trophy, which is annually awarded to the league's most valuable player (Photo credit: theseoduke/Flickr).

Tavares joins Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby and Washington Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin. Crosby missed the last 12 games of the regular season after suffering a broken jaw, ironically during a game against the New York Islanders. However, he still managed to finish fourth in the league with 56 points.

Ovechkin surprisingly started off the year incredibly slow, but then took fire towards the end of the season, ending 2013 third in the league in points. He is cited as the main reason for why the Capitals were able to clinch their division just before the start of the playoffs.

Isles Are Not Up To The Task Of Containing Powerful Penguins

After a scoreless first period, the Pittsburgh Penguins score three in the second period to blow the game wide open and cruise to a victory in today's game five of this best of seven first round series.
The Penguins got goals from four different players and ten different skaters had points in Pittsburgh's 4-0 shutout. For Tomas Vokoun, it was his second career shutout.

Islanders Even Up Series with Penguins At Nassau Coliseum

Isles Tie Series With Pens at 2 Games Each. Much more exciting hockey to come out of the next three games.

Isles Look for Encore from Fans; Different Result in Game 4

While the Nassau Coliseum walls recover from the verbal beat down the Isles’ faithful gave it on Sunday afternoon, the Islanders look for ways to recover from a gut wrenching loss to even the series. The orange and blue faithful came out in a loud way to welcome their home town team back into the playoffs. It was the first playoff game housed in Nassau since 2007.

They will take the ice at 7:00 in Uniondale, New York. The fans will look to rock the old Barn again.

Isles Show Heart In Game Three But Fall To Pens In Overtime

The New York Islanders were hosting a playoff game on Nassau Coliseum ice for the first time in six years in front of a sold out crowd that was salivating for the puck to finally drop. Unfortunately for the Isles, they fell to the Penguins in overtime by a score of 5-4 on a power play goal that came from forward Chris Kunitz just 8:44 into the extra frame.

Special teams would ultimately play the deciding factor in the game, as the Islanders penalty kill only went 2-5, surrendering two additional power play goals in the first period that allowed the Penguins to get into the hockey game.

The Isles came out of the gates with energy and intensity, racking up hits, shots and goals immediately. Within the first two minutes of the game, Matt Moulson would slam home a rebound after Kyle Okposo would get the first few initial chances. Lubomir Visnovsky would be credited with the second assist.