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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:
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.
Defenseman Travis Hamonic returned to Long Island on Wednesday, according to Newsday’s Arthur Staple.
Hamonic left Sunday’s game in Dallas after and has now missed two games (including tonight). It was initially reported that he was out with an illness, but it was changed to an upper body injury on Tuesday.
His return to Long Island means the injury could be more serious than the Islanders would like. They are already with defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky, who has been out since October.
Updated 12:09: More context has been added to the Strome move thanks to Arthur Staple:
(1/2) Something to consider: NHL teams received a memo prior to season saying that a player who plays more than 15 of 20 games prior to…
— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) January 15, 2014
(2/2) Olympic break cannot be assigned to AHL during break. Strome move clearly made w/ eye to having him play during break. #Isles
— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) January 15, 2014
Isles General Manager Garth Snow also told Staple: “The development of all our young players is important. (Strome) needs to play during the break.”
Original Post: The Islanders are sending Ryan Strome back to AHL Bridgeport.
Newsday’s Arthur Staple was first to break the news and the Islanders made it official a short time later. The decision, according to Staple, is motivated by the need for roster space. The Islanders need to clear a spot for Radek Martinek, who will be coming off injured reserve.
However, the move comes as big surprise to many inside and out of Islander country. Strome has a goal and three assists in 15 NHL contests and was playing well during his stint with the Islanders. The 20-year-old forward scored his first NHL goal during the Islanders 7-3 victory over the Dallas Stars on Monday, January 6.
The Sound Tigers next game is on Friday against the Binghamton Senators in upstate New York.
The New York Islanders and Andrew MacDonald have had “preliminary” contract discussions, according to ESPN New York’s Katie Strang.
MacDonald, 27, is in the final year of his four year, $2.2 million contract and if he does not re-sign with the Islanders he will become a unrestricted free agent. However, MacDonald’s agent, Peter Cooney says his client wishes to remain an Islander.
“Our goal is to work things out and hopefully remain with the Islanders,” Cooney told ESPN New York.
Cooney did not reveal what amount of money his client is looking for in his new contract, but it is safe to assume he will be asking for a somewhat larger sum than he is receiving now. His current contract is considered a steal in the NHL and he will attract attention if he hits the trade or free agent market.
MacDonald currently leads the team in ice time per game, with 25:42, as well as leads Islander defenseman in assists (19) and Points (22).
Their was some good news for the Islanders today, Arthur Staple is reporting that Lubomir Visnovsky has been skating on Long Island:
Some good news for #Isles D: Visnovsky took first spin on ice yesterday back on LI.
— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) January 14, 2014
While this is without a doubt good news, the Islanders have still been very mum about a time table of return for the veteran defenseman.