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Matthew  Sadis
Matthew Sadis
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Red Wings Fan

Red Wings have exceeded expectations at the break, challenging for top spot in Eastern Conference posted by Red Wings Fan

Many expected the Detroit Red Wings to be battling just to extend their playoff streak this season.

It turns out they have loftier goals. At the All-Star break, they're competing for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

Who could have seen that coming after an off-season with no free-agent or trade acquisitions?

"When I thought about around July 5 when not much happened this summer, I was disappointed, like a few of my veteran players who called me were disappointed, too," coach Mike Babcock said. "I don't think any of us would have believed we'd be at this spot, the general manager and myself included."

The Red Wings (27-11-9) have won five in a row and are tied with the New York Islanders for second in the conference, one point behind the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Red Wings have accumulated 13 more points than they had after 47 games in 2013-14 (20-17-10). Credit this to better health, continued growth of younger players and more consistent goaltending. This is a faster-skating team than it was a year ago.

"The contributions of players that were out a lot last year due to injuries has been a real positive, and then the continued development of younger players," general manager Ken Holland said. "When you're in the playoffs 23 straight years it means a lot of picking late, and we're trying to accomplish two goals at the same time -- make the playoffs and compete for the Stanley Cup. And we're also trying to rebuild the team on the fly."

Jimmy Howard regained his All-Star from following an inconsistent season and, after he suffered a groin injury on Jan. 10, Petr Mrazek has stepped in without much drop-off.Injuries enabled young players to step into key roles and most are playing just as well or better. Tomas Tatar (21) Gustav Nyquist (19) lead the way in goals, Riley Sheahan has developed into a dependable two-way second-line center and Danny DeKeyser has been one of their steadiest defensemen.

Continue reading "Red Wings have exceeded expectations ..."

Lightning Fan

Callahan leads Lightning past Avalanche in shootout posted by Lightning Fan

The Tampa Bay Lightning didn't have much time to dwell on giving up the tying goal late in the third period.

Ryan Callahan scored in regulation and got the decisive goal in the shootout to lift Tampa Bay to a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night, moving the Lightning back into first place in the Eastern Conference.

Ben Bishop made two big stops in the shootout and finished with 40 saves as Tampa Bay moved one point ahead of the Metropolitan Division-leading New York Islanders atop the East.

"You've got to turn the page real quick," Bishop said. "I thought we did a good job in overtime."

Nikita Kucherov put the Lightning ahead in the first round of the shootout and Matt Duchene tied it for Colorado in the second round. Callahan then got the winner in the third round.

"It's tough, you know, because we killed some late penalties," Callahan said. "You know, they end up getting one in with 6 seconds left, and we had to regroup and ready for overtime right away. Then we had another huge kill at the end of overtime and end up winning the shootout, so we did a good job to regroup after that late goal."

The Lightning took the early lead on Callahan's 15th goal of the season on a power play just 1:58 into the game.

"That's the way it goes (losing in a shootout)," Varlamov said. "They scored goals and we didn't score enough until very late. . It was a pretty good move (by Callahan), and they scored in the shootout."

The Avalanche, outshot 15-5 in the opening period, turned the tables on the Lightning in the second with 20-9 edge.

Continue reading "Callahan leads Lightning past Avalanche ..."

Islanders Fan

Islanders flog Flyers to end first half on top of Metropolitan Division posted by Islanders Fan

No one expected the New York Islanders to head into their All-Star break on top of the Eastern Conference, not even coach Jack Capuano.

He knows his club has played surprisingly well, though he claims he doesn't know just how well.

That's OK. He likes what he sees, and he wants it to continue when the Islanders get back on the ice next week.

"I don't even know our record," Capuano said after New York's 7-4 victory over the Philadelhpia Flyers on Monday. "We come to the rink and we get better every day. I know we've won some games and things are going well for our team right now, but we can't lose sight of how we need to play."

The Islanders, 15-2 against divisional foes, are off until they host the Rangers next Tuesday. New York is 16-4 overall at home.

"The thing about our hockey team is believability and trust. Accountability and leadership," Capuano said. "No one gave us a chance, and that is why you play the game. I am very pleased up until this point with our hockey club. We've done a lot of good things, not only winning hockey games but how we're winning games and how we're playing within the structure and the framework."

"We wanted to have a bounce-back game and go into the break on a high," Josh Bailey said. "It will be a much-deserved break, but we're going to want to pick up where we left off."

Last season's team went only 13-19-9 at home and missed the playoffs after making it the year before.

"It's no secret it was a big disappointment last year and one of the reasons why we didn't have much success," Tavares said.

Continue reading "Islanders flog Flyers to end first ..."

Canadiens Fan

Canadiens storm Halak, New York Islanders posted by Canadiens Fan

The Montreal Canadiens, not necessarily known for their quick starts, scored early goals in all three periods of a 6-4 victory over the visiting New York Islanders on Saturday night.

“It’s no surprise that we’re not a good starting team,” said Canadiens Dale Weise, whose tap-in goal in the second period equaled his career high in points scored (16), set last season. “For whatever reason that is, we wanted to focus on that tonight.”

Montreal is just (28-13-3) and ranks a meager 29th in the NHL in first-period productivity, ahead of only the Buffalo Sabres, with just 18 goals in 44 games, a slow start indeed.

Dustin Tokarski started in net for the Habs in place of Carey Price, who suffered an upper-body injury against the Colombus Blue Jackets on Wednesday night. Head coach Michel Therrien said there was no immediate timetable for his return. As a response, Joey MacDonald was recalled from the Hamilton Bulldogs to fill for Therrien’s absence.

Former Habs goalie Jaroslav Halak started for the New York Islanders for the second straight night and had been 4-0 with just four goals against when facing his old team. On this night, he allowed all six Montreal goals before getting the hook.

“I’m sure he’s frustrated . . . but we didn’t play very well in front of him,” coach Jack Capuano said of his goaltender, recently named to the NHL all-star team as an injury replacement.

While the win is sure to boost the morale of the Canadiens, they are not out of the water yet. Being such a slow starting team isn’t enough to win a Stanley Cup let alone make a significant play off run, where the name of the game is fast starts and holding dominating leads.

Continue reading "Canadiens storm Halak, New York Islanders"

Islanders Fan

New York Islanders Chances in the 2014-2015 Season posted by Islanders Fan

The New York Islanders performance slipped last season from their 2012-2013 performance to finish 14th in the eastern conference and 26th in the league. Their biggest weakness was goaltending that led them to register a .894 save percentage that was the worst in the NHL last season.

New Acquisition

Manager Garth Snow has made a few new changes to fix the problem. 39 year old Evgeni Nabokov was traded for 10 year younger Jaroslav Halak. Nabokov left the team after a .905 save percentage in the last season.

Halak, his replacement, comes to the team with a career save percentage of .918 and his previous save percentage last season was .930. The other new acquisitions for the team were Mikhail Grabovski, Nikolai Kulemin, Cory Conacher, Chad Johnson, Jack Skille and T.J. Brennan. Chad Johnson should prove to be a great backup for Halak and registered a .925 percentage save last season with the bruins. He has a career .935 percentage.

Center and Defence

Their center currently relies on John Tavares. Tavares finished the season with 59 goals and 66 points. The team working with Chad Johnson and the rest of the defence, have more depth this season compared to last season where they had to rely on Anders Nilsson and Kevin Poulin.

The front is currently their biggest weakness since the departure of Thomas Vanek. Thomas Vanekanek who departed to Minnesota Wild, scored 27 goals and had 44 points during his time with the islanders last season. The team will be relying on Mikhail Grabovski who is one of the key acquisitions as well as players Kulemin and Strome.

Continue reading "New York Islanders Chances in the 2014-2015 Season"

Jeff Ponder

“Wow, what’s the point?” posted by Jeff Ponder

The point is getting pretty clear right about now.

The New York Islanders turned some heads in late-January when they claimed former NHL all-star Evgeni Nabokov off waivers.  That is not what the media is talking about though; after all, NHL followers are used to players getting claimed off waivers after playing in Europe, getting a contract from an NHL team then having to go through the NHL’s questionable waiver process.  Just ask the St. Louis Blues.

Nabokov was obviously upset over the Islanders’ decision to claim him, hanging up on Islanders’ GM Garth Snow when he called him for the first time (Nabokov claims he thought he was a member of the media).  He refused to report to practice, staying in his home in California.  After hanging up on Snow, Nabokov found a media member at that he trusted to tell his side of the story.

"I think I'm going to stay home for now, I'm sticking with my decision," Nabokov said a few weeks back. "It's nothing against the Islanders and their organization. It's nothing to do with that. It's just that I'm at the point in my career where I want to help a team win in the playoffs. I don't see how I could help the Islanders or what I could do for them. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me. And I hope they understand that.

"I was surprised they picked me up. I was like, 'Wow, what's the point?’”

Currently 15 points out of the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, the Islanders are looking at another post-season that they will watch from home.  It is true that Nabokov would be playing on a non-Cup contender, but the Islanders brought him in for other reasons.
Continue reading "“Wow, what’s the point?”"

Brad VanFossan

Golden Effort Falls Just Short posted by Brad VanFossan

A Golden Effort Falls Just Short By Brad VanFossan I know it’s more than just a hockey game when my 63 year old father is looking forward to watching, and has been watching most of the hockey games during this Olympics. I know it’s more than just a game when patrons at bars ask to turn the hockey game on, both the men’s and women’s games, as I have seen happen over the last couple weeks. This is about reliving nostalgia for those who were around for the 1980 Gold Medal team‘s “Miracle“ run. And it’s about wanting to experience that same feeling for those of us who were too young or weren’t around then. This is the kind of thing the brings generations of sons and fathers together creating memories that become part of family lore. More importantly, this is a message to the world that hockey isn’t a secondary sport in the United States anymore, but one we can excel at, and even be the best.  It’s almost time for the opening face off, winning twice on enemy territory won’t be easy, but I think if anyone can, it’s this group of relentless young men. No matter what the outcome, they will put forth an effort to be proud of.My in game thoughts from the penalty box: -In the first U.S./Canada match up the U.S. was able to score first, taking the crowd out of things for a bit, today Canada scored first, it’s the first time the U.S. has trailed all Olympics. -Jonathan Toews goal was off of a rebound, not too much cause for concern yet. The U.S. is still playing pretty well, theyContinue reading "Golden Effort Falls Just Short"

Jeff Ponder

Islanders Could Have a Logjam in Goal posted by Jeff Ponder

The New York Islanders have made a plunge into the free-agent goalie market this summer, locking up Dwayne Roloson on July 1st and Martin Biron on July 22nd.  This seems like a good tandem for a team that faced its fair share of struggles last season.  There is just one little problem that the Islanders seem to be forgetting; they own a 15-year, $67.5 million goaltender that was once considered the “franchise goaltender.”

Rick DiPietro, an American-born goaltender who was selected to the 2008 NHL All-Star Game, played in just 5 games last season.  Since receiving his long contract extension, DiPietro has played in just 53% of his team's games.  The injury list piles on and on for DiPietro:  groin injury, neck strain, extended headache problems, knee injuries, and hip and knee surgeries.  When asked about all of his unsuccessful recovery, DiPietro was very outspoken.

“I've seen quite a few doctors who are pretty positive about the future. That's the whole point of this season is to make sure I'm 100% and ready to fulfill my contract,” stated DiPietro back in February of this year.  “Worst thing in the world you can do is sit in a rehab center and try to get healthy. Mentally, I can't take much more of this.”

Roloson, signed away from the Edmonton Oilers, received a 2-year, $5 million contract from the Islanders.  He was brought in as insurance to DiPietro, who is expected to begin skating in August and to be ready by training camp.  Roloson, who will be turning 40 on October 12th, said that he is ready to play alongside DiPietro and that he expects “everything is going to be great.”
Continue reading "Islanders Could Have a Logjam in Goal"

Jeff Ponder

Islanders sign Dwayne Roloson to 2-Year, $5 Million Contract posted by Jeff Ponder

The New York Islanders announced the signing of former Oiler Dwayne Roloson.

Roloson is coming off of a decent year with the Oilers.  Going 28-24-9, the veteran goaltender stole a lot of games for the Oilers.  He is big in important situations, especially late in games or in the playoffs.

New York is still looking for the all-important answer to the question of what needs to happen when Rick DiPietro goes down with yet another injury.  The Islanders starting goalie has suffered injury after injury since signing a 15-year, $67.5 million contract in 2006.  DiPietro has played in just 130 games out of a possible 246 games since signing the long deal.  Roloson may be able to step in and help with the goaltending woes for the Islanders, who shuffled between four goaltenders in 2008-09.  With John Tavares being picked up in the draft and Roloson brought in, this team just got a whole lot better.Continue reading "Islanders sign Dwayne Roloson to ..."

Andy Charles

Pressure on John Tavares posted by Andy Charles

If, as expected, he is taken with the first pick of the NHL draft on Friday in Montreal, John Tavares will have the weight of Long Island on him.

The New York Islanders are a franchise coming out of two of the toughest seasons in their history and they need a face – a real star in the making – to be the answer towards finally helping them out of what has been a very dark hockey basement.

But are the expectations of the junior star, probably the biggest name to come into the sport since Sidney Crosby, too high assuming he beats off late competition from Victor Hedman and Matt Duchene to become the No 1 pick.

Although Tavares has put up gaudy numbers on his way to finally entering the draft (a year later than he wanted to) and managed to draw quite ludicrous comparisons to Wayne Gretzky, the transition to the professional ranks is going to be tough, most likely on a team that has forgotten how to win.

The Islanders won just 26 of their 82 regular season games last season, a decrease of nine on 2008 when things looked bleak enough, and although the arrival of Garth Snow as general manager seems to have made things at the Nassau Coliseum a little more professional, this turnaround is not going to be an overnight occurrence.

Tavares scored more goals in his time in the OHL than any player in history, and his experience coming into the bigs will be an advantage when it comes to placing a hockey bet – remember he is older than most players in the draft and was only five days too young to have been drafted in 2008.

Continue reading "Pressure on John Tavares"

New York Islanders News

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Las Vegas NHL expansion team hires George McPhee as GM (Yahoo Sports)

[read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Berube agrees to one-year deal with Islanders (Yahoo Sports)

NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Islanders have agreed to a one-year deal with goaltender Jean-Francois Berube [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Islanders sign RW Parenteau to 1-year deal (Yahoo Sports)

NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Islanders agreed to a one-year deal with Pierre-Alexander Parenteau on Saturday, bringing the veteran right wing back for a second stint with the team. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Sabres sign free-agent Okposo to 7-year $42 million contract (Yahoo Sports)

[read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Islanders sign Ladd, Chimera; lose Nielsen, Okposo (Yahoo Sports)

The New York Islanders moved quickly at the start of NHL free agency, signing forwards Andrew Ladd and Jason Chimera but losing longtime stars Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo. Ladd agreed to a seven-year, $38.5 million contract Friday, and Chimera comes to New York on a two-year, $4.5 million deal. Okposo is headed to Buffalo on a seven-year contract. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

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