Isles Blog

Hamonic Returns to LI for Further Evaluation

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.

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UPDATED: Isles Send Down Ryan Strome

Updated 12:09: More context has been added to the Strome move thanks to Arthur Staple:

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 Morning Skate: 1/15

The Islanders had their four game winning streak snapped last night at the hands of the Florida Panthers. Below are all the Isles  stories to get you through your day:

Isles’ streaks broken in loss to Panthers — Newsday

Travis Hamonic out with upper-body injury — Newsday

Panthers ice Islanders’ win streak — NY Post/Associated Press

Panthers Snap Isles Four Game Winning Streak — Islanders Point Blank 

Isles’ road streak and comeback magic ends — Lighthouse Hockey

Florida Panthers start fast, beat New York Islanders — Miami herald

Upshall and young centers lead Panthers to 4-2 victory over Islanders — Miami Sun Sentinel 

Panthers shut down Tavares, top Islanders — Yahoo Sports/ The Sports Xchange 

Isles Begin Preliminary Contract Talks with MacDonald; Visnovsky Skating

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:

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.

New York Islander Game Notes: Islanders @ Panthers

originalpanthers1

New York Islanders (18-22-7) @ Florida Panthers (17-21-7)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014 | 7:30 p.m.
BB&T Center | Sunrise, Florida 

Looking for their season high fifth win in a row, the Islanders roll into Florida to take on the Panthers tonight. This is the first of three meetings this season between the the Isles and Panthers.

The Panthers enter tonight’s game 3-2-2 in their last seven contests and currently sit seventh in the Atlantic Division. However the Panthers have not had much luck against the Islanders. In their last four games against New York, the Islanders have defeated them each time.

To try and curb that the Panthers will start, kind of former Islander, Tim Thomas tonight in goal. Thomas was technically a member of the Islanders last season when GM Garth Snow acquired him from Boston in February. He did not play a single game the entire year.

The Islanders will have Kevin Poulin start in net for the fourth time in a row. The forward lines will remain the same for the Isles as they were on Sunday in Dallas, but they will be without the services of Travis Hamonic who is out day-to-day with an upper body injury. Matt Carkner will take Hamonic’s spot on defense.

Their is the chance for a little history to be made tonight. A fifth win in a row would be the first time the Islanders have done so since February of 2008. And an eighth consecutive win on the road would tie a franchise record of longest road winning streak set during the 1980-81 season.

Tonight’s Lineup (defense pairs from the morning skate, per Arthur Staple of Newsday):

Thomas Vanek – John Tavares – Kyle Okposo
Brock Nelson – Frans Nielsen – Josh Bailey
Michael Grabner  – Ryan Strome – Cal Clutterbuck
Matt Martin – Casey Cizikas – Colin McDonald

Andrew MacDonald – Brian Strait
Calvin de Haan – Thomas Hickey
Matt Donovan – Matt Carkner.

Tavares Named First Star of the Week

Islander captain John Tavares has been named the NHL’s First Star of the Week. Tavares has had a huge week, which included a hat trick and saw him record the game winning goal in Sunday night’s 4-2 win over the Dallas Stars.

Below is the official press release from the Islanders:

The National Hockey League announced today that John Tavares has been named the First Star of the Week for the week ending Jan, 12.

Tavares, 23, scored 10 points (four goals, six assists) with a plus-9 rating in four games last week, helping the Islanders to a 4-0-0 record.

Tavares opened the week with his second career five-point game, including his fifth career hat trick, in a 7-3 win over the Dallas Stars. He added three more assists the following night in his home town, helping the Islanders edge the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-3. Tavares finished the week by posting two points (one goal, one assist), including the game-winner with 1:24 remaining, in the Islanders 4-2 victory over the Dallas Stars, giving the Islanders their fourth straight win and seventh consecutive road win.

A native of Oakville, ON, Tavares leads the Islanders in scoring and is tied for second in the National Hockey League with 56 points (21 goals, 35 assists) in 46 games this season. He’s led the Islanders in points every season since being selected first overall in the 2009 NHL Draft. This is the second time in Tavares’ career that he’s been named the NHL’s First Star of the Week.

Islanders 4, Stars 2: Postgame Wrap-Up

The Recap: The Islanders won in dramatic fashion, coming from behind to beat the Dallas Stars 4-2. It was the Isles fourth straight win and seventh consecutive win on the road.

The Stars opened up the scoring in the first period. Ray Whitney scored at 11:45 to give Dallas a 1-0 lead. Sergei Gonchar capitalized off a turnover by Brock Nelson in the Islanders end to make it 2-0 Stars. The Isles battled back in the second period, Kyle Okposo cut the lead to just one after scoring at 10:47.

Okposo scored again in the third to tie the game at 15:44. John Tavares scored the game winner nearly three minutes later. Calvin de Haan sent a no look pass to Tavares, who was in front of the net and beat Dan Ellis. Brock Nelson scored an empty net goal in the final minute of the game to secure the win.

The Good: 

– The Islanders once again showed resilience in the face of adversity. After falling behind two goals the Islanders battled back to win. There was no quit in the Islanders like what was seen during the tough times of November and December.

-Calvin de Haan was fantastic for the Islanders Sunday night. He saw 22:52 of game action and made the most of all of it. The rookie defenseman has not looked out of place once since arriving and has held his composure in tough situations. In one instance Sunday, de Haan was caught covering on a two on one Dallas rush. de Haan covered the play perfectly and was able to break up the scoring chance. He also finished the game plus-2 and had two points on the night.

– The Islanders top line has played very well as of late and is capitalizing on chances. Kyle Okposo scored both goals to get the Isles back into the game and John Tavares had the game-winner. He could have had several other goals, but some illegal plays by the Stars, which went unpenalized by the officials, broke up the score chances he had.

The Bad: 

– The Islanders have become masters at coming from behind, but there are only so many times that they will be able to do that. One thing that should be corrected going forward is starting off games better. In the first period, the Isles allowed Dallas too many offensive opportunities and shots on net. They were outshot 16-9 in the first period. Coming from behind is fun and dramatic, but it might be easier to win a game by opening the game off strong and not have to fight back.

– The officials on Sunday were not dreadful, but the clearly missed calls I mentioned earlier in this post were terrible. If the Islanders didn’t win you could look back on the Tavares scoring chance, which was broken up by a Dallas player slashing his stick into two, as key point in the game. There was also a missed high sticking call later in the game on Tavares as well. Luckily none of those incidents affected the outcome of the game, but you can tell that each time something like that goes uncalled Tavares gets more and more agitated by it.

Next Game: Tuesday, January 14, @ Florida Panthers

About

Christian Arnold Covers the New York Islanders for New York Hockey Journal, as well as contributes to SNY's Islanders Point Blank and The Hockey Guys.Net. He also founded Islanders Hockey Blog back in 2009 and has written for various online publications.

@CA_NYHockey

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