INSIDE HOCKEY » New York Islanders Get Inside! Tue, 30 Sep 2014 06:23:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Isles’ Nelson Ready For Challenges of New Season Sat, 20 Sep 2014 02:40:28 +0000


Brock Nelson is ready for a new challenge. The 24-year-old Minneapolis native had a good rookie season, scoring 14 goals and 26 points in 72 games. The former North Dakota star played a variety of roles on many different lines over the course of the season. By the end of his rookie campaign, Nelson had proved he belongs in the NHL.

“I think I learned a lot throughout the year, on the ice, off the ice. Whatever it was I just tried to take as much away from it as I could and I think going into this summer, it helped me know what to expect and re-evaluate where I was and what I needed to work on,” Nelson said.

Nelson is eager to begin his second season. “I think this summer was a good summer for me and I’m headed in the right direction and ready to get back at it and get back to playing some games…It’s exciting. Everybody’s glad to be back, to get back on the ice.”

Many experts think Nelson, a natural center, is a prime candidate to take the vacant wing spot on the Isles’ top line alongside John Tavares and Kyle Okposo. But the second-year pro feels he is ready to fill in wherever the team needs him. “Wherever you’re put, you’ve just got to go out there and play,” Nelson explained. “Just embrace your role whether it switches every day or you’re on the same spot on the wing or at center. Just go out there, play to the best of your abilities and continue to work.”

Nelson has a strong work ethic. He emphasized the importance of constantly trying to improve his skills. “You can’t ever stop working on your game,” he said. “As soon as you do that, you’ll probably get passed by somebody else, so just continue to work hard and get better in every area.”

This offseason, Nelson said he concentrated on, “Some little things…Edge work, shooting, quickness, things like that. Getting bigger, faster, these are all things you continue to work on.”

It is clear that Nelson has improved his size since the Islanders drafted him. At his first rookie camp, the 6’3″ forward looked lean and lanky. But now, Nelson has grown into his frame and added several pounds of muscle to help him win 50-50 battles for loose pucks and gain position against bigger opponents.

Nelson genuinely seemed excited about the moves the Islanders made to improve the team during the offseason. The Isles brought in goalies Jaroslav Halak and Chad Johnson as well as forwards Nikolay Kulemin and Mikhail Grabovski.

“The offseason was good. We added a few key guys and some depth which will create some competition in camp,” Nelson added. “I think that’s a strong aspect of what we’ve got here and everybody’s happy with how that went. We’re ready to get back to work and push each other and try to make a spot. So just go out there and work hard and what happens, happens.”

Nelson’s optimism permeated the Islanders locker room on the first day of training camp at the Nassau Coliseum. “It’s going to be a fun year here. I think everybody’s really looking forward to it…I think everybody’s trying to.. have a wonderful year and try to accomplish our main goal.”

Overall, Nelson is eager to start his second full NHL season. “I think this summer was a good summer for me, and I’m headed in the right direction,” he said. “I’m ready to get back at it and get back to playing some games.”

The Islanders first preseason game will be Monday when they play a pair of split squad games against the Ottawa Senators.


]]> 0
Isles Final Season on Long Island is Bittersweet Sat, 06 Sep 2014 20:32:16 +0000


There was a time when the New York Islanders represented Long Island to the sports world. Maybe I’m being nostalgic, thinking about things that happened more than 30 years ago, but for that glorious four-year run, the Islanders franchise told the world that Long Island, not New York City, had the best team in hockey.

Some fans don’t understand why the Isles planned move to Brooklyn has me and many Long Islanders upset. Sure, the Isles are staying in the New York area and that’s great. It’s certainly better than seeing them move to Quebec City, Seattle or Kansas City. But they are abandoning Long Island, and that’s a painful thought for people who grew up in Nassau or Suffolk Counties or lived much of their lives here.

There’s nothing wrong with Brooklyn. It’s just TOO far away and it has a culture and personality all its own. But while Brooklyn may geographically be a part of Long Island, culturally, it’s just not.

Look, the New York Post is part of the culture of New York City, but Newsday is Long Island. Coney Island is a New York City destination, but Jones Beach is Long Island.

For the past four decades, the Rangers were New York City, but the Islanders were Long Island. Madison Square Garden may be “the world’s most famous arena,” but the sight-lines at MSG were nothing compared to the Nassau Coliseum and the Coliseum could rock as loud as any building in the league during the glory years or any time the team was successful (remember the 2013 playoffs against Pittsburgh?).

Like the Island itself, those great Islanders dynasty teams may not have been glamorous or flashy like Studio 54, but they were honest, hard-working and determined to make a name for themselves. The Rangers starred in Sasson jeans commericials and were often pictured on page six of the Post. The Islanders just showed up for work every night and won, and won and won and won.

What’s more, they gave Long Island an identity that stretched not just throughout the Metropolitan area, but throughout the hockey world. Fans from as far away as Sweden (Anders Kallur), Russia (Alexei Yahsin), Moose Jaw (Clark Gillies) and Denmark (Frans Nielsen) all knew that their local stars played professionally on Long Island.

The players also lived on Long Island during the hockey season. Fans would run into them in bars and restaurants and in their local neighborhood. They were a part of the local community, especially in the days before salaries got so high that players and fans weren’t even in the same universe anymore economically.

At the end of this hockey season, that will all be gone. Long Island will no longer have a major league professional sports team to represent it. Like Brooklyn after the Dodgers packed their bags and left for the West Coast, there will be nothing but warm memories of what might have been and of what used to be.

Like the Dodgers, the Islanders were lost by short-sighted town and county politicians who couldn’t put their petty differences aside to keep a Long Island institution here where they belong.

It took Brooklyn more than 50 years to get back a major league sports team back in their borough. How long will it take for Long Island to get a team back?

]]> 0
Learning Starts Now For Isles’ Dal Colle Wed, 09 Jul 2014 03:36:51 +0000

The transition from junior hockey to the NHL is rarely an easy one, even for a highly touted draft pick like Michael Dal Colle of the New York Islanders.

Dal Colle got his first taste of life in the NHL Tuesday afternoon when he skated at the Nassau Coliseum during Day 1 of the Islanders’ summer mini-camp.

“I was definitely pretty anxious coming in,” Dal Colle admitted after his first session on the Coliseum ice. “We got it out of the way and it was kind of a load off my shoulders.”

Dal Colle spent a little more than hour on the ice along with the rest of the Islanders’ younger players and prospects who were divided into two groups that both received instruction from Isles’ coach Jack Capuano and his staff.

“I think the coaching staff sent the message, if you want to be a pro, you have to excel in all aspects,” Dal Colle told reporters after his time on the ice. “They told us that work ethic is what separates you if you want to play in the NHL and that was the main thing I got from it today.”

It was also a time for the fifth overall pick in this year’s draft to get to know his teammates and Long Island itself. “This is my first time here it’s definitely new,” Dal Colle said. “I don’t know too much about Long Island. I don’t know much about the facilities so I’m just trying to see what it’s all about and that’s definitely a good part of it.”

The rookie said a trip to the beach and to see “American Idol Live” were among the activities planned by the team for Dal Colle and his fellow camp attendees.

Like most NHL rookies, Dal Colle knows he needs to work on a few things before he’s ready to play in the NHL. “Junior is pretty fast but obviously you’re playing against men right now,” Dal Colle said. “Guys are bigger, faster, stronger, you can definitely see that for sure…Me, I know I have to get stronger if I want to play [in the NHL], so that’s the biggest thing for me.”

When he is ready for the NHL, Dal Colle should provide the Islanders with some skill and scoring punch on the wing. Last year, the Vaughan, Ontario, native scored 39 goals and 95 points in 67 games for the Oshawa Generals of the OHL. He added another eight goals and 20 points in 12 playoff games.

So the learning has begun for Dal Colle, with a lot more to come before the start of the new season in October. So far,  the rookie is taking it all in and enjoying the process. “It’s been great. I don’t know too many guys here so I’m trying to get familiar with my surroundings, but it all went well.”





]]> 0
Isles Acquire the Rights to Dan Boyle Thu, 05 Jun 2014 20:30:46 +0000



The New York Islanders have acquired the rights to veteran defenseman Dan Boyle from the San Jose Sharks. The Isles sent a conditional fifth-round draft choice in 2015 to the Sharks which will become a fourth-round pick if Boyle signs with the Islanders. Boyle is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Boyle will turn 38 on July 12. Last season, he scored 12 goals and 36 points in 75 games for the Sharks.

In 954 NHL games, the Ottawa, native has scored 144 goals and 561 points with the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning and San Jose Sharks. He won the Stanley Cup in 2004 with Tampa Bay. Boyle’s best offensive season came in 2006-07 when he scored 20 goals and had 63 points.

This move is designed to add an experienced defenseman to the Isles young blue line corps. Boyle has a lot of experience as a power-play quarterback and would add offensive ability as well. He has struggled at times over the last two seasons, but is still capable of upgrading the Islanders defense in the short term.

Isles general manager Garth Snow now has an exclusive window to sign Boyle before free agency begins. He used a similar type of trade to acquire and sign goalie Jaroslav Halak.

Boyle will likely want at least a two-year deal or he can explore free agency this summer.


]]> 0
Isles Sign Halak, Fill Biggest Need Fri, 23 May 2014 02:32:46 +0000


The New York Islanders have come to terms with goaltender Jaroslav Halak on a four-year contract worth a reported $18 million.

The Isles acquired the rights to the 28-year-old Slovakian in a trade with the Washington Capitals on May 1st in exchange for a 4th-round selection in this year’s NHL Entry Draft.

Halak played for three teams this past season. In 52 games with the St. Louis Blues, Buffalo Sabres and Washington Capitals, he finished with a 29-13-7 record, a 2.25 GAA and a .921 save percentage. He also recorded five shutouts. Halak’s career record is 144-85-59.

Halak’s best postseason performance came in 2010 when he led the Montreal Canadiens to the Eastern Conference Finals.

This move significantly upgrades the Islanders goaltending situation. Halak gives the team a bona fide starter in the prime of his career for the first time since Rick DiPietro started his long string of injuries in 2007-08.

GM Garth Snow knew the Islanders had to improve the goaltending position. The Isles had the NHL’s worst team save percentage last season with .894. Last year’s starter, Evgeni Nabokov, is an unrestricted free agent. Kevin Poulin was too inconsistent to be an NHL goalie and Anders Nilsson signed in Europe after demanding a one-way deal that the Islanders were not prepared to give.

“We’ve still only got one goaltender under contract, but this is a good first step,” Snow told Newsday. “Jaro’s ability to stop the puck is obviously high-end. We think this is a good deal for both sides.”

Since the Isles have struggled to sign big-ticket free agents in recent years, the trade for Halak’s rights was a smart and aggressive move by Snow. Today, he managed to sign the goalie he targeted.

The quest to sign a backup goalie continues. Snow has indicated  Nabokov could be re-signed to fill that role, most likely to a one-year deal.

The signing of Halak upgrades one of the Islanders’ biggest weaknesses and makes the team better for 2014-15.


The Islanders officially announced today that they would keep this year’s fifth overall pick and give the Sabres their first-round pick in 2015.


]]> 0
Photo Gallery: Senators @ Islanders (4/9/14) Fri, 11 Apr 2014 11:19:31 +0000

2014_4_8_OTT_NYI_infographic Anderson

The visiting Ottawa Senators defeated the NY Islanders 4-1  in their final meeting of the season, and the Islanders final home game.

Ottawa Goaltender Craig Anderson saw 46-shots on the night, saving 45, and allowing just one-goal.  His teammate, Senators Captain Jason Spezza provided the offense they needed to win, scoring two-goals and assisting on Matt Kassian’s empty-net-goal in the final seconds of the Third period.

The NY Islanders team  were extremely competitive throughout the game, throwing shots on net, screening Anderson all game and out-hitting the Senators 27-8.   Goaltender Anders Nilsson looked strong for much of the game, and came up with a few spectacular saves, making 28-saves on 31-shots.  Frans Nielsen scored the lone Islander goal, a backhand shot under a diving Craig Anderson at 0.22 seconds into the Third Period.  At that point Nielsen’s goal tied the game 1-1, before the Senators broke out, scoring three-unanswered goals to close out the game.

Three Stars of the Game

1) Jason Spezza
2) Ales Hemsky
3) Frans Nielsen

Winning Goalie:
Craig Anderson

Losing Goalie:
Anders Nilsson

Notes: Islanders lost Cal Clutterbuck mid-way through the game on Tuesday, he left with an upper body injury.

The NY Islanders were without Lubomir Visnovsky (upper body), John Tavares (knee), Michael Grabner (upper body), Brian Strait (hand), Kyle Okposo (lower body) and Calvin deHaan (lower body).

The Senators were without Bobby Ryan (sports hernia), Colin Greening (lower body) and Jared Cowen (lower body).

]]> 0
Isles Drop Home Finale to Sens 4-1 Wed, 09 Apr 2014 04:33:53 +0000


The New York Islanders closed out their home schedule with a 4-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators Tuesday at the Nassau Coliseum. Jason Spezza scored twice for Ottawa while Craig Anderson made 45 saves to earn the victory. Frans Nielsen scored the only goal for the Islanders.

“I thought our kids battled, but the more skilled team won the game tonight,” Isles coach Jack Capuano said. “They are a skilled team and they caught our defense flat-footed on a couple of their goals.”

The first period started off with some physical play. Rookie Brett Gallant made his mark during his NHL debut, dropping the gloves with Matt Kassian of Ottawa midway through the first period and knocking the Senators’ winger to the ice with a hard right hand. The two players tried to fight a little earlier in the period but the linesmen stepped in and prevented the two from throwing punches. They were each assessed minors for unsportsmanlike conduct. When they came out of the penalty box, they dropped the gloves again and managed to complete the fight.

After a scoreless first period, Spezza got Ottawa on the board first when he scored on the power play at 12:45 of the second stanza. Chris Neil was in front of Anders Nilsson to screen the Isles netminder.

Nilsson made several impressive saves in the game, especially in the first two periods. He stopped a pair of odd-man rushes and a golden scoring chance by Kyle Turris with a fast glove.

The Isles evened the game 22 seconds into the third period when Nielsen backhanded home the rebound of a shot by Kevin Czuczman in the slot.

The game stayed tied until Spezza struck again with 7:15 left in the third period on a goal that was confirmed after a replay review. At first, play continued and the officials did not stop the game but the War Room in Toronto confirmed that Spezza’s shot went into the net and the Senators led 2-1.

Ales Hemsky gave Ottawa a two-goal lead at 14:26 of the third period on a goal Nilsson would like to have back. Kassian added an empty net goal in the final seconds of the game to make the final score 4-1 Senators.

The Isles finished the season with a disappointing 13-19-9 record at home. They are presently 18-18-2 on the road with three games remaining on the schedule.

The season continues Thursday night when the Isles travel to Montreal to face the Canadiens.


Denis Potvin received a warm ovation from the crowd when he was shown on the videoboard. Potvin currently does color for the Senators TV broadcasts.

Official attendance was 12, 922

The Islanders lost Cal Clutterbuck to an upper-body injury in the first period. He did not return.

The Isles outhit the Sens 27-8. Colin McDonald led the team with seven hits.



]]> 0
Photo Gallery: NHL March Photos of the Month Thu, 03 Apr 2014 01:12:50 +0000

Here are the March 2014 NHL Photos of the Month from the photographers at Inside Hockey.

]]> 0
Spirited Isles Down Panthers 4-2 Wed, 02 Apr 2014 03:45:05 +0000


The New York Islanders may be out of the playoff picture this season, but their youth-infused lineup continues to play enthusiastic and winning hockey in the season’s final weeks. Josh Bailey had a goal and an assist to pace the Islanders to a 4-2 win over the visiting Florida Panthers Tuesday night at the Nassau Coliseum. Evgeni Nabokov made 20 saves to earn the win.

”No one is happy with where we are,” Martin said. ”It’s a rough year and a year we’re not proud of, but to be going down the stretch with some wins and playing good hockey definitely feels a little bit better.”

The Panthers scored first on a shorthanded breakaway goal by Quinton Howden just 1:50 into the game. Defenseman Matt Donovan had trouble reaching a pass at the Florida blue line and Howden was off to the races.

The Isles bounced right back, however, evening the score just 45 seconds later on a shot from the right point by Travis Hamonic. The first period ended in a 1-1 tie.

Although the Islanders outhshot Florida 11-5 in the first period, coach Jack Capuano was not pleased with his team’s play in the opening 20 minutes. “We got off to really slow start, Capuano said. “It wasn’t a good first period for us. We talked about it after the first period, being more physical and I think the last 40 minutes were better.”

Bailey broke the tie when he put home a rebound from just in front of the crease at 11:18 of the second period. Matt Martin made it 3-1 Isles at 17:36 of the second period when banged home the rebound of a shot by Colin McDonald. Panthers goalie Scott Clemmensen had difficulty with rebound control throughout the game and the Islanders took full advantage.

Then, Mike Halmo scored his fist NHL goal at 4:21 of the third period when he swatted his own rebound into the net in a baseball-like swing just to the left of the near post.

“It feels good,” Halmo said after the game. “It’s a weight off my shoulders and I’m pretty happy. I just swung for the fences and hit it in, happily. It took a few minutes afterwards sitting on the bench for it to settle in.”

The Panthers managed a power play goal in the closing seconds of the game to make the score 4-2. With the win, the Islanders are now 4-0-1 in their last five games.

“We’re all trying to work hard down the stretch,” Bailey said. “All those guys [rookies] have done a great job for us, from practice to games,  they always give 110 percent, it’s paid off for us with a few wins here down the stretch and hopefully we can finish on a good note.”

The Islanders return to action Wednesday night when they travel to Ottawa to face the Senators.


Official attendance was 11,812

Prior to the game, Matt Martin was named the winner of the Bobby Nystrom Award. Nystrom was on hand to present Martin with the trophy which he has now won for three consecutive years. The award is given to the Isles player who best exemplifies leadership, hustle and dedication and is voted on by the fans.

Former Isles’ GM Bill Torrey was in attendance. Torrey now works for the Panthers organization.

Matt Carkner dropped the gloves twice in this game, once with Erik Gudbranson and later with Krys Barch.


]]> 0
Isles Play Spoiler, Beat Devils 2-1 in Shootout Sun, 30 Mar 2014 03:58:39 +0000



The New York Islanders continued to play a spoilers role as the season enters its final weeks. Frans Nielsen and Brock Nelson scored in the shootout while Nielsen scored the only goal for the home team in regulation and the Islanders beat the visiting New Jersey Devils 2-1.  The shootout loss further hurt the Devils diminishing playoff hopes.

Anders Nilsson made 23 saves and stopped both New Jersey skaters in the shootout to clinch the victory for the Islanders.

“It was nice for me personally to bounce-back from the previous two games,” Nilsson said. “I felt calmer, felt comfortable and the guys helped me feel comfortable. They were tracking guys well, keeping them to the outside and cleared the view for me. I pretty much saw every shot. They made it easy for me to play.”

The game was a defensive struggle with few shots on goal and even fewer quality scoring chances. In fact, the Devils had only two shots on net in the first period while the Islanders had only three in the third. The Devils prevented the Isles from registering a shot on goal for the final 14:44 of regulation time.

The Islanders carried the play in the first period, outshooting New Jersey 9-2 but neither team was able to score. The Isles were also the more physical team in the opening stanza, outhitting the visitors, 19-4.

Nielsen made it 1-0 Isles just 2:12 into the second period on a rush down the right side. He sent the puck towards the net where it deflected off Patrik Elias of the Devils and past goalie Cory Schneider. Josh Bailey drew the only assist on the play.

The Devils evened the score at 10:20 of the second period when Adam Henrique beat Nilsson when he picked up a rebound of his own shot just outside the crease.

New Jersey controlled the tempo in the third period, outshooting the Islanders 7-3 but neither team was able to score and the game headed to overtime.

The biggest defensive play of the game came in the extra session when Thomas Hickey slid down to block an open shot attempt by defenseman Marek Zidlicky. Zidlicky would have had an excellent scoring chance had Hickey not made that play.

In the shootout, Nielsen opened up with a quick goal on his patented backhand move that quickly beat Schneider.

“He’s got a few go-to moves,” Isles’ coach Jack Capuano said when asked about Nielsen’s shootout performance. “When it comes down to the skills competition, he’s pretty good. He made a good move and fortunately for us it was in the back of the net.”

After Nilsson stopped Henrique’s shot, Nelson used his backhand to give the Isles a 2-0 lead in the shootout. Nilsson stopped Elias’ snap shot to clinch the win.

“It was a fun game to play,'” Nielsen said. ”We’re a young team and we’re working hard.”

The Islanders return to action Tuesday night when they host the Florida Panthers at 7:00 PM at the Nassau Coliseum.


The Islanders played the game with 10 rookies on their roster. Veterans Lubomir Visknovsky and Kyle Okposo remain sidelined by injuries.

Official attendance was 15,108.

The Islanders outhit the Devils 46-16. Cal Clutterbuck had nine hits to lead the way while Matt Martin added six.


]]> 0