NHL Revealed: A Season Like No Other premiered Wednesday night, albeit late, on NBCSN and with the Islanders in the Coors Light Stadium Series they are one of the teams featured on the show.
Below are some thoughts — in no particular order — on the Islanders portions of the show’s debut:
– It was special to see Kyle Okposo beaming from ear to ear when talking about becoming a father, and just as special to see him take his wife to the hospital to deliver the baby. You could tell he was nervous, but still excited. A well done segment… not to invasive, but a touching look at the birth of Okposo’s first child. His mother-in-law also gave us the inside scoop as to what, or should I say who, has motivated Okposo on the ice this year. We also got to see a quick glimpse of his father and sister.
– The rare look inside the Islanders dressing room before and during was quite the sight. Everyone always wonders what Jack Capuano sounds like when he is talking to his guys in the room and fans got a small sight of that.
– John Tavares… What else is there to say. Obviously the main focus because he is the face of the Islanders franchise. The show seemed to play up, maybe a little bit too much, the drama of Tavares not having Okposo on the ice with him during the game against Dallas. Not sure how much drama there really was, but from gauging twitter fans really enjoyed seeing him “praying” at Mike Bossy’s plaque outside the Isles dressing room.
– Tavares mentoring Ryan Strome in between periods was something that stood out and referee Frederick L’Ecuyer say that he was “complaining” was amusing.
– Something that was tough to see, but just as amusing was Evgeni Nabokov bowing down to Tavares in the Isles room after the win over Dallas. It was quick, so if you blinked you missed it.
– JT has really stepped into the captain role. He is very vocal on the ice and in the room. Can’t say I’m surprised one bit.
The Islanders will not be leaving the Nassau Coliseum a year early, according to a Newsday report.
The report, citing sources, said the Isles had “preliminary discussions” about leaving the Coliseum after this season, but the talks never reached a serious level and the idea was dismissed. The Islanders lease requires them to play in the aging Long Island arena until 2015. To break the lease they would have needed permission from Nassau County and SMG, the company that runs the venue.
News that the Islanders will play one final season on Long Island should not come as a surprise to anyone. Both Charles Wang and Bruce Ratner have said the team would fulfill its’ lease with Nassau County.
Ratner built the Barclays Center, the Islanders future home, and has the development rights to the Nassau Coliseum once the team moves.
Also it would be hard to imagine the Islanders, Long Island’s only professional sports team, leaving without some sort of farewell to both Nassau Coliseum and the island. You have to imagine part, or more likely most, of next season will be dedicated to the 40 plus years of history the team has at Nassau Coliseum. Just up and leaving would have been the wrong thing to do.
As part of the festivities leading up to the first ever outdoor games in New York City, the NHL held an outdoor pickup game in Bryan Park with alumni from the participating teams.
The Islanders were represented by Patrick Flatley, Glenn Healey, Eric Cairns and EJ Hradek of NHL Network. The Rangers had Mike Richter, Brian Leetch, Dave Maloney and Boomer Esiason of WFAN representing them. The Devils had Ken Daneyko, Grant Marshall and Jim Dowd.
Below are images from the day:
It was another come from behind win for the Islanders at Madison Square Garden.
Rick Nash scored twice in the first period to put the New York Rangers ahead 2-0. Matt Martin scored his first goal since November 1st to cut the lead to 2-1 late in the opening period, but Chris Kreider scored midway through the second to put the Rangers back in front by two. The Isles started their comeback moments after the Kreider goal. Thomas Hickey scored at 13:22 to make it a 3-2 game and Colin McDonald tied the game at 16:36.
Thomas Vanek scored the game winner with the Islanders on the power play with 4:38 left in regulation. Frans Nielsen sealed the win with the empty net goal.
-The Islanders continue to show relentless fight in their game. For the second consecutive contest the Isles fought back from a two goal deficit and came away with two important points. It’s something that they weren’t able to do earlier in the season and is a sign of a change in the team. There is more fight, grit and desperation in their game than there was earlier on.
-Say what you want about Kevin Poulin, but boy did he make the big saves when he had to. Yes he gave up three goals, but he held firm the rest of the way and with the Rangers buzzing in the final moments of the game he stopped the shots he had to. The Islanders don’t get the win without his strong play through the 60 minute contest.
-It was good to see Colin McDonald, Thomas Hickey and Matt Martin get on the score sheet. The Islanders need everyone going if they’re going to win and secondary scoring is huge for this team. So guys like the three previously mentioned are always good to see score some goals.
-The Islanders’ top line is great offensively, but their defensive zone play has left a lot to be desired. They were on the ice for both Rick Nash goals in the first and have not played well in their own zone. It’s not just tonight that this has been the case, but more an ongoing problem.
Next Game: Thursday, January 23, vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Philadelphia Flyers (25-19-5) @ New York Islanders (19-24-7)
Monday, January 20, 2014 | 1 p.m.
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum | Uniondale, New York
The Islanders host the Flyers today in the second half of a home and home with Philly.
Saturday night the Isles squandered two leads and fell 6-4 and will look to rebound from that tough loss. Today is also the second game in stretch that will see the Isles face divisional opponents in a majority of their games heading into the Olympic break.
The Islanders will start Anders Nilsson in goal. He is 0-2-2 in five appearances this season for the Isles. The Islanders will feature the same defensive pairs as last game and it has not been determined whether it will be Peter Regin or Eric Boulton in the lineup.
Ray Emery will start for the Flyers. He is 6-8-0 in 17 games and did not allow a goal against on Saturday after he relieved Steve Mason in goal.
This afternoon will be the final time the Islanders and Flyers play one another in the regular season.
The Islanders got a welcomed sight during Sunday’s practice.
Injured defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky practiced with the team for the first time since being sidelined with a concussion back on October 20.Visnovsky practiced in a yellow non-contact jersey during the Islanders skate at Iceworks in Syosset.
“I feel like a hockey player right now,” Visnovsky told Islanders TV after the practice. “… I feel my body like before. It’s a great feeling and I’m happy to skate with the guys. I’m very happy.”
Visnovsky still needs to be cleared for contact and to eventually get back in the lineup. There is still no timetable for his return, so it could still be a while before he makes his return.
There was some less positive news as far as an update on Travis Hamonic.
The Islander defenseman remans day-to-day with an upper body injury. Newsday’s Arthur Staple reported, following Saturday’s game, that Hamonic was still feeling symptoms of a suspected concussion and the team was allowing him to rest until they are gone.
New York Islanders (19-23-7) @ Philadelphia Flyers (24-19-5)
Saturday, January 18, 2014 | 7 p.m.
Wells Fargo Center | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
PHILADELPHIA, PA – The Islanders have reached the final game of their six game road trip. Tonight they take on the Flyers in the first of a home and home against the Broad Street Bullies.
This starts an important stretch for the Isles, with seven of their next nine games coming against Metro division opponents. And the Islanders have had their struggles with opponents in their own division, especially the Flyers. In their first matchup of the year, on October 26, the Flyers defeated the Islanders 5-2 at Nassau Coliseum. The game was former Islander Captain Mark Streit’s first against his former team and Vincent Lecavalier recorded a hat trick.
The Islanders lost by the same score on November 23 in Philly.
New York will try to record their first win against the Flyers tonight with Kevin Poulin in net. The Islanders will also have Matt Carkner take Radek Martinek’s spot on defense and Eric Boulton take the place of Peter Regin up front.
Steve Mason will get the start for the Flyers. Mason is 19-11-5 this season for Philadelphia, with 2.48 goals against average and .917 save percentage.
Tonight’s Probable Lineup (Forward lines via Arthur Staple):
Thomas Vanek – John Tavares – Kyle Okposo
Josh Bailey – Frans Nielsen – Cal Clutterbuck
Michael Grabner – Brock Nelson – Colin McDonald
Eric Boulton – Casey Cizikas – Matt Martin
Andrew MacDonald – Brian Strait
Matt Donovan – Calvin de Haan
Thomas Hickey – Matt Carkner