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Hockey from the Blind Side, Nothing is Set in Stone

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At the moment with the All Star Break upon us, the New York Islanders are still in the playoff picture, though a look at the standings indicates that their position is a bit precarious. In fact, I think that pretty much 2nd to 8th may be a revolving door situation as it seems only the Washington Capitals have a comfortable spot atop the East.

Let me first say that I don’t at all intend this post to be negative or some doom and gloom projection for the Isles. I believe they will make the playoffs, and thanks to my colleague, Paul’s previous post, I feel a bit more grounded in my assessment of the team. All things considered, they are still in great shape, and that’s a good thing in my opinion.

The problem is, the East is a mess. It seems that teams win and lose in streaks and the positioning of the standings alters faster than some people change clothing in a given day.

Blog: Islanders Facing Adversity & Are Better For It

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Despite the season long laundry list of injuries, the inconsistent powerplay, the “enigma” that is Islanders captain John Tavares, a trade request, and everyone’s favorite whipping boy Brian Strait, the New York Islanders are in second place in the Metro Division and are tied for third in the Eastern Conference with a pace for 98 points. Now a few posts ago I thought the Islanders would eventually surpass the New York Rangers in the standings and be able to catch up with the first place Washington Capitals. So far so good at surpassing the Rangers but Washington’s goalie Brandon Holtby took it upon himself to go on a 20-0-2 point streak and nixed my second idea. The Capitals are on pace for 129 points, so let’s just move on from Washington for now and see if they ever decide to come back down from that high pedestal.

Hockey from the Blind Side, Righting the Ship or Just More Inconsistency?

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The New York Islanders had a pretty good week after the egg they dropped in Philadelphia last Saturday. Now having two of their best defensemen out of the lineup because of injury in Johnny Boychuk and Travis Hamonic, they definitely are facing even more adversity on top of the lackluster play of the Flyer game.

However, 5-2 and 3-1 victories Tuesday against the Columbus Blue Jackets and Thursday against the New York Rangers at home certainly were important points to pick up and games to win. I had my concerns about both games, especially the one against the blue shirts. Fortunately, the Isles got some timely scoring and, as usual, a lot of solid goaltending to enable them to come away with 4 out of the 4 potential points.

Hockey from the Blind Side, on the Edge of Concern

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How many Islander fans had to be shaken back to consciousness after the completely lackluster effort against the Philadelphia Flyers in their 4-0 loss yesterday? For the halfway point in the season, I don’t want to go as far as using the word, “disgrace” to describe yesterday’s 60 minutes of hockey demonstrated by the New York Islanders, but my personal feelings are that it was pretty darn close.

How does a team follow up a loss in a really big game against the team that knocked them out of the playoffs in game 7 by with such a listless effort? Then again, how do you not mentally show up to said big game against the Washington Capitals at home? These are questions, among others, that I have been left pondering.

Is It Time To Panic?

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With news that New York Islanders defenceman Johnny Boychuk will be out for the next 4-6 weeks with a shoulder injury, fans are wondering if it’s time to hit the panic button? Not at all. The Islanders are literally half way through their season and are now third in the Eastern Conference. Should they be concerned? Absolutely! Losing Johnny Boychuk is similar to losing Travis Hamonic in last years playoffs, the Islanders were in every game, but didn’t have enough to put them over the top. That experience should be a lesson to bring up in that there area few players who now need to step up and show not only that the belong on this Islanders team, but in the NHL.

What Is Going On With Meet and Greets?

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Do any of you remember when the news of the Islanders move to the Barclay Center, and the Islanders promised the fans that they would have autograph sessions and open practice for fans?
Well, you could forget about it!

Recently my dad emailed Dave Koblentz, who is the VIP Account Manager for the New York Islanders. The conversation was about the recent tweet that the Islanders have sent out about a meet and greet.

He contacted Koblentz about it and he said ” the player meet and greet is a full season ticket holder benefit.”

Is Sunday Night Hockey Good Idea?

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As of yesterday December 27th, the News York Islanders have lost six games on a Sunday.

You want me to be honest about hockey teams playing on Sundays, well Sunday games are honestly aren’t good for both players and fans.

One reason is that the team is not used to playing on Sundays. Last season, the NHL scheduled zero games on Sundays and the Islanders did pretty well in their division.

Another reason is sports fans don’t usually associate Sunday nights with hockey. Sunday’s are usually for sports fans to sit back and watch their favorite football team in action.

For the players, they are used to having Sundays off to rest after a game on Saturday night  and practice. Now they have to wake up and get ready for a game on Saturday and then get ready for another game on Sunday.

Yes, they are used to playing a lot, but in the past they didn’t have any games on Sunday.

Hockey from the Blind Side, Isles get Shut Out in Arizona to Drop Their 3rd in a Row

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The New York Islanders lost to the Arizona Coyotes by the score of 1-0 last night in Glendale. In the game, rookie goaltender, Louis Domingue, stopped all 25 Islander shots he faced, while Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored the only goal in the game in the 1st period.

Over the last 3 games, the Isles have managed only 2 goals. The 1-0 loss to the Coyotes followed a 2-1 defeat in Colorado on Thursday and a 5-1 loss at home to Florida on Tuesday. On top of that, Kyle Okposo missed last night’s game and will miss the next with a “lower body” injury.

The Islanders were coming off a stretch in which they picked up points in 10 straight games and despite some poor play at times, were still managing to win. Unfortunately, you can’t keep going to the well and expecting to draw water when you are not producing your best efforts. The Arizona game was a truly winnable game, and dropping 2 points in Glendale was really inexcusable in my opinion.

Lesson Of The Day: Don’t Assume Anything

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The last couple of days have gone by and with the New York Islanders continuing their winning ways as they have moved ahead of the New York Rangers in the standings. Their defeat of the New Jersey Devils should have been an easy one to pick, but not because of their winning streak. The Islanders did not have to play against Travis Zajac or Adam Henrique, two forwards who are major contributors to their offense and could have changed the dynamics of the game. The Rangers losing those prompt games also helps the Islanders move up as the Rangers did have game in hand. Now that they are even in that department, it would be unwise that the Islanders will just cruise over the Rangers for the rest of the season. Yes I have gone record by saying they would beat out the Rangers for second place and say hello to the Washington Capitals, now first in the Metro Division, but that doesn’t mean that every game is winnable.

Hockey from the Blind Side, Another 2 Points in the Standings, but the Isles Need to Play Better

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It took overtime, but the New York Islanders beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3 to 2 on a Kyle Okposo goal. It was his 2nd goal of the game and 3rd point, as he also assisted on Frans Nielsen’s power play goal in the 2nd period. The 2 points collected by New York puts them at 39 points in the standings, which is good for 4th place in the Eastern Conference just a single point behind the Rangers.

Over the last 9 games, in fact, the Islanders are 7-0-2, only missing 2 points out of the total 18 they could have earned. This has helped them tremendously in the standings, as the rest of the Eastern Conference around them seems to be either hot or cold.

Isles Talk Prospects Report

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As much as I love covering the draft in the early summer, it’s also important for me to continue observing those draft picks as they progress and develop throughout the course of the next year or two. In the case for the New York Islanders some hockey websites include prospects that are in Bridgeport, since their definition of a professional is the NHL. I tend to disagree with that. My definition of a professional is someone who is still property of the Islander via a restricted free agent and is getting paid in the ECHL, AHL or NHL. You will not see players mentioned like Ryan Pulock, Scott Mayfield, Sebastian Collberg on this particular piece, but you will be getting updates on them coming up in the Bridge Report in a few days. Having said that, let me go over the players in Islanders junior ranks you should keep an eye on.

Chemistry Allows Streak To Continue & Grow

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Okay, I think we can all agree that the Isles win over the Flyers was the ugliest win of the season but I’ve said this before: when a team is on a winning trend, the puck will bounce your way. However, there are a few reasons why the Islanders increased their recent point streak to go along with a bit of luck on their side. The first is that the Islanders are now getting scoring from everyone and not just the first line. Despite the recent surge in the standings, Islanders captain John Tavares has been in a small slump. from the NY Post:

Opportunity Knocks For The Islanders

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Hockey from the Blind Side, Blind Observations at Thanksgiving on the Isles

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The New York Islanders came back from a 2-0 deficit last night in Tampa to defeat the Lightning 3-2 on a power play goal by John Tavares with 3:36 left in the game. Josh Bailey also scored on the power play, and Cal Clutterbuck tied the game up in the 2nd period for the Isles. Unlike the previous evening against the Panthers in which the Islanders came back, but lost in the shootout, they managed to earn the 2 points and get 3 out of 4 on the mini road trip to the sunshine state.

Thanksgiving seems to fall around the quarter mark of the NHL season, so many places, including, seem to “review” the league and how teams are doing at this time of the year. Of course, some teams, like the Montreal Canadians and Dallas Stars are doing surprisingly well, while others, such as the Anaheim Ducks and Columbus Blue Jackets, have started off disappointingly so far.

Haunting Flashbacks & Lessons From Montreal

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The New York Islanders and Montreal Canadiens concluded their season series with the Canadiens taking the final third game by a score of 4-2 and sweeping the regular season 3-0. For the Islanders, it was good to get these games over in November than have to play the Canadiens in March or April while still in the playoffs race. For Montreal, it’s more separation from other teams in their division and a message to the NHL that they’re making another serious run for the Cup this year. But this series will also shed some light on what the Islanders can do to improve the hockey club and make a stronger push to the playoffs so if they have to meet Montreal in the playoffs, they’ll be better prepared.

Trading Hamonic Now Is Good For Isles

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When news of the trade request by Islanders defenceman Travis Hamonic broke a few days ago, I’m usually one for writing a rumor piece strictly because I love the entertainment value of talking about where certain players may go and for whom. This time however, I refrained from it because of the peculiar circumstances and who requested the trade. Travis Hamonic is a player very dear to the fans on Long Island and he’s probably one of the core players fans had hoped to see his number raised to the rafters of Nassau Coliseum. Unfortunately, the Barclays Center will have to do. Hamonic signed a long-term contract and many were sure that with him and the rest of the core that he’d experience winning a Stanley Cup as a New York Islander. It may still happen, but it doesn’t look realistic. There are many rumors now about where he will be traded to as he has requested a trade closer to his home for personal reasons. I’m not writing this piece as to where he may go, but when.

Isles Win Against Arizona; Lose Grabovski

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Thoughts: This was a very good game that was played by the Isles. The only real concerning sign from last nights game was that the Isles have to stop giving teams a powerplay goal. They’ve allowed it to happen six out of the last seven times. The Isles are 6-2-2 when they don’t allow a powerplay goal. (NYISkinny)

Hockey from the Blind Side, Winning 2 Out of 3 Out West and Turning the Ship Around

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The New York Islanders come back home after winning 2 out of 3 on the road. A lot of fans had their concerns about this road trip, and I won’t deny I was one of them.

However, with a 4-2 win in San Jose and a 4-1 victory over the Ducks sandwiched around a 2-1 loss in Los Angeles, they have been playing much better. Realistically, they surely played well enough to win against the Kings, especially in the third period. With a little “puck luck”, it could have been a sweep on this trip for the Isles.

Isles Come Home On Winning Note

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Just a few thoughts:

The Isles are now 2-2 without Ryan Strome. Still a good idea sending him down? I say more games played by the Isles will decide this.

Frans Nielsen has seven goals already this season. Read that again. It’s November 15th, roughly five weeks after the season has started and he already has seven. He usually doesn’t get seven until around Christmas time. Someone is playing for a contract because he’s on pace for 32!

Brock Nelson has come around and is now on pace for 28 goals. It does wonders to a players confidence when you’re put on the top line.

The powerplay is now a power outage once again. They’re now out of the top 10 and in the middle of the pack. Just look at the 5 on 3’s. The penalty kill is still in the top 5 in the League.

Isles Continue To Slide, Recall Pelech

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Just a few quick thoughts about the game:

I didn’t think the Islanders played bad, but it felt like I going back to 1995 when the neutral zone trap was in style. This game had some real boring moments and it was happening quite often.

The goaltending was solid, but Halak really wasn’t tested all that often.

When your team is top five on the powerplay and your opponent is now ranked last on the penalty kill and all the Islanders can muster is one powerplay goal that was 5 on 3? How many times were the Islanders on the powerplay during that game?

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