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Islanders Season Review And Looking Ahead

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My sincere apologies for not getting this out earlier as I’ve missed this party of discussions by a week at least, but I wanted to briefly go over the Islanders season and do this in one blog and not analyze each player on the team as I feel there is just no need to do so anymore. As I wrote back in 2014 after the drafting of Michael Dal Colle and Josh Ho-Sang, the Islanders had completed their rebuild of the franchise. It was then time to improve on the depth of the organization and see what kind of talent the Islanders had. Starting last year, some of those draft picks ended up turning into getting players like Nick Leddy, Johnny Boychuk who improved the talent of the team and the Islanders went on to a seven game series loss with the Washington Capitals. Last summer, the Islanders traded another depth defenseman draft pick and got forwards Mathew Barzal and Anthony Beauvillier, both of whom look to be future NHLers.

Hockey from the Blind Side, The Sting hasn’t Quite Left Me

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Yes, the sting of having witnessed the New York Islanders eliminated from the 2016 playoffs a week ago still has not completely subsided in me as of yet. I don’t know exactly why, but I think this time was even sharper a hit to me than the game 7 lackluster effort that ended the Isles playoff run in the first round last season.

I have been asked by a few people what my thoughts on the season happen to be. Do I consider the season a “success” or “failure”, or what should Garth Snow do in the off season, are some of the things I have been asked.

To be honest, I have yet to really sort my thoughts out as of yet. I really am not sure how I feel about the season or the future of this team. I am hoping by writing this post that I will gain some perspective myself as to what I am thinking or how I feel.

The “New” New York Islanders Booster Club

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We are getting the website back and running again soon.  Stay tuned.

Hockey from the Blind Side, “You’re Never Out of a Fight”

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If there is a simple reason why the New York Islanders are facing elimination Sunday afternoon when they travel to Tampa for the 5th game of this series, they need only look collectively in the mirror to find that reason. This series has become one of lost opportunities and one team cashing in on theirs like a playoff ready, battle tested team does in such situations.

I really don’t like to jump on the negative train. Those who have read my posts in the past know that I always try to take the positive view of things. Sometimes, I can be a bit harsh and blunt, but I never like to throw in the towel.

The “Hit” Was a Factor – but not the Reason They Lost

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I did not notice it when it happened. Being in my office was one reason, and was not seriously looking at the monitor as much as I could.  Also the play happened so fast and was literally out of ‘camera shot’.

However, the hit on Thomas Hickey by Brian Boyle was a brutal hit to the head, keeping a defenseman out of the play, as the puck was shot in by the forward that took him out.

It has all of the ingredients of a huge downer to the home team, as they lost game 3.

However, should that have been the main reason for the loss?

Hell NO!

The reason the team is where they are now – the reasons we are watching Islander hockey in the month of May, were definitely the reason why this team did not win last night.  The first line was a complete bust.

Blog: Leddy, Isles Could Take That Next Step

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So far in this second round playoff series between the New York Islanders and the Tampa Bay Lightning it’s been a battle of 2009 draft picks. John Tavares, the first overall pick in 2009 scored two points in the Islanders game one victory. Victor Hedman, the number two overall pick in 2009, also scored two points in the second game to lead the Lightning to a 4-1 victory. Both teams will be making adjustments for the next two games in Brooklyn and both players from the 2009 draft class will be leading their respective teams, as they should. However, another first rounder from that 2009 draft, 16th overall by Minnesota, that could tip the scale to the Islanders favor is Nick Leddy. During the regular season Leddy will get you anywhere between 35-40 points a year. The earlier part of his playoff career started when he was in Chicago playing behind defenseman like Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook.

Hockey from the Blind Side, Still Playing Hockey in May … Somehow

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So the 23 year “curse” or whatever you want to call it ended last Sunday with the New York Islanders defeating the Florida Panthers in game 6 of their opening round playoff series. Words could not describe how good that made me feel. I would even say that when JT scored the overtime game winner, it was a rather emotional experience for me personally, as my mind looked back on the years since David Volek’s overtime winner against the Penguins and all that has happened to the Isles since then.

Then, on Wednesday after I had spent the day walking the fields and hills of Gettysburg and was awed by the history and the solemnness of those 25 square miles of American history from what was the turning point of the Civil War in 1863, I was thrilled and, yes, surprised by an Islander 5 to 3 victory over the Lightning to open the second round. Well, let me say that I was thrilled by the first two periods of play …

The Curious Case of Josh Bailey

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Throughout my three decades of following this team, fans have always seem to find guys to hate, no matter what their performance was:

Mikko Makela

Jeff Norton

Alan Kerr

Derek King

Sean Bates (minus penalty shot goal)

Oleg Kvasha

Andrew MacDonald

Brian Strait

The list can go on and on.

The one for the last couple of seasons that really comes to the top of the list, is on Josh Bailey.

Now – for this piece, I will say that I have zero ill will for this player; I am sure that he will feel that if you asked him, he would hope that his numbers and stats would be better.  We can debate that until the cows come home.

I will say this, from what I see in practices and games, I really feel that Josh is hard-working player.  I really feel that he tries to leave everything on the ice.

Blog: Isles Take Game One In Tampa

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The New York Islanders managed to keep their momentum going by defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-3 last night in Tampa to take a 1-0 series lead. Shane Prince added two goals and John Tavares came up with the game winning goal again. Travis Hamonic scored his first career playoff goal while Ryan Strome returned to the lineup and assisted on both of Prince’s goals. Tampa Bay pressed in the third period and managed to cut the deficit down to make the score 4-3. Nikita Kucherov and Valtteri Filppula but Cal Clutterbuck made it 5-3 with less than a minute to go on an empty-netter. The Islanders continue their series against Tampa on Saturday afternoon at 3pm.

Key to Game 1 – Stop the Triplets

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Tonight is the start of the second round (doesn’t that have a great ring to it?)

The Tampa Bay Lightning have had a great deal of time to relax and wait for the winner of the Isles/Panthers series.  They had a good 5 game victory against the Wings, with their top forward and top defensemen on the shelf.

And with Steven Stamkos and Anton Stralman still out of the lineup, the Bolts made easy work of the Wings with the “Triplets” lineup of Nikita Krucherov, Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn.  20 points and 8 of the 12 goals scored were compliments of the number one line.

The Isles and Lightning are similarly matched in the fact that the primary line has been responsible for most of the scoring to date.  Getting involvement from the secondary lines will be crucial to the success of the winner of this series.

Ryan Strome – Will he be Possessed?

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When I was a kid, I was a pitcher.  Our town had a “Little League” as well as another baseball organization for which I belonged to.  One year, they had a ‘exhibition’ matchup of our two leagues.  I was the starting pitcher that night (even then in the mid 1970s, having a lefty pitcher was a good thing), and I was at the mound.  There was going to be a picture taken before the first pitch.

Sports Talk 1240 – Sunday 4/24/2016

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Here is a link to the SportsTalk1240 show that John and I did last night.

We were STUCK in the studio while Game 6 was going on.

The utter relief from John and I when JT scored his goal…

Click on the logo below to listen…

 

sportstalk1240http://islestalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/sportstalk1240-300x90.jpg 300w, http://islestalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/sportstalk1240-150x45.jpg 150w" sizes="(max-width: 326px) 100vw, 326px" />

 

For the Isles – What to do About Tampa?

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Round 2 – Isles Bolts.

It is so nice to get to talk about ROUND 2. When I last could talk about it – I wasn’t even 30 years old…. (Guess my age!?)

Are we Tired from Celebrating, Islander Nation? Yes! Yes! Yes!

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Blog: Time To Exorcise The Demons

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The New York Islanders have been performing feats that resemble the franchise of old. Two back to back 100 point seasons for the first time in over 30 years. Overtime victories by a defenseman not accomplished in decades. Overtime winners in general not seen for many years. The Islanders are holding a 3-2 series lead for the first time since 1993. The Isles also vanquished the dreadful stat of losing game 5 in every series 11 straight times. However, there are three things that the Islanders will be able to accomplish tonight if they can defeat the Florida Panthers at the Barclays Center: First, win back-to-back games in the playoffs for the first time since in over a decade, win a playoff series since 1993 and finally learn to finish off a team when they have the advantage.

Islanders Resilience Retakes Momentum

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The New York Islanders and many fans from Long Island introduced Brooklyn to hockey playoffs last night with Thomas Hickey scoring the game winning goal in overtime to win the game 4-3 and the Isles lead the series 2-1. I’m not going to go into the game because all you have to do is go on any Islanders Facebook fan page or Twitter or any of the other Islanders media to catch up on the game. Before the playoffs started I had stated that this series would be all about momentum. and so far it has been nothing but momentum, so let’s compare the Islanders and Panthers series thus far.

Blog: Playoff Bracket Is All About Momentum

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! When you live in my neck of the woods, this is my hunting season. This is every nerds Comic-Con. This time of year not to think about baseball until it’s absolutely necessary. Basketball playoffs don’t matter until the NBA Finals, and by then Golden State should win it all anyways. This time of year brings out all the trash talkers from every bandwagon fan there is until you see them a year from now. This is the time of year where everyone at ESPN does everything wrong with hockey. The one time of year where anything is possible and upsets are abound: the NHL playoffs. For me, there’s a theme to this years playoffs: Momentum. Who has it, and how will it shape out.

Isles on WFAN/WCBS for the Playoffs

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wfanSports Radio 66 and 101.9 WFAN, the radio station for the New Jersey Devils, will broadcast the Islander games for the remainder of the playoffs.

Actually – WCBS 880AM will broadcast games 1 and 2 on Thursday and Friday from Florida.

One of the strongest signals in radio, will broadcast Islander games, along with the current Islanders radio network.  The Devils, eliminated for postseason play, gave permission for their flagship station to cover the Isles for the playoffs.

With the pockets of places that normally can not hear the station even on Long Island, it will be nice for anyone to be able to listen to John Tavares and the rest of the Orange and Blue, take on Jaromir Jagr and the Florida Panthers.

Blog: Learn About Your Enemy So You Can Beat Them

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After going over the New York Islanders season and showing how depth and goaltending helped them reach the 100 point plateau for a second straight season, it’s time to look at the other teams in the Eastern Conference from my predictions article back in October and see what has changed and what it may mean for the playoffs. I’m going to specifically look at the Islanders and Panthers after going over the rest of the teams and will be making my playoff predictions tomorrow morning based off what I’ve been able to find.

Core Teams: Islanders, Rangers, Penguins, Tampa Bay, Montreal, Washington.

Blog: Depth, Greiss Help Isles Into Playoffs

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The New York Islanders ended their 2015-16 season yesterday with a loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, but still managed to accumulate 100 points. For most who like to predict a season’s outcome like myself, I had the Isles finishing between 98-103 points and one of my “Core” teams that even with injuries should have made the playoffs. Mission accomplished. During the season however, we witnessed teams like Tampa Bay and Montreal drop in the standings for various reasons and it was an opportunity of sorts for the Islanders to improve in their own standings, yet they ended up 5th in the Conference and 4th in the Metro Division. The Conference part I got right, but 4th in the Division would’ve been the Pittsburgh Penguins. First let’s take a look at the Islanders themselves and then see what happened and maybe this will give you some more info before picking your playoff bracket.

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