Kukla's Korner Hockey
The job here is to state an opinion, support it with available facts, and hope it’s right. It’s much easier to do that, and to say “thumbs up”, when indisputable evidence is discovered. Lo and behold, there is indisputable evidence that the New York Islanders are going to host playoff games in their final year at Nassau County Coliseum. Here it is - the Islanders scored seven goals last night against the Dallas Stars, and John Tavares didn’t score any of them.
Furthermore, he didn’t assist on any of them. When the Islanders can score seven times without a point from their leading scorer, the guy who led the league just a couple of days ago, they’re a playoff team. So thumbs up to the Islanders and a proper end to their time at the Nassau Coliseum. Count on it, as you count the points that Tavares will surely get the next time the Isles score seven goals.
-Dave Hodge of TSN who also gives the "thumbs down" to the San Jose Sharks.
Part of the reason the team has been getting a positive amount of attention this year is due to the fact the Islanders now have a good mix in their lineup. When healthy, this year the Islanders have center Mikhail Grabovski as well as his former Toronto Maple Leaf teammate Nikolay Kulemin, along with proven scorers John Tavares, Kyle Okposo, Michael Grabner, Frans Nielsen, and Brock Nelson. And, of course, there’s a new goaltender to: Jaroslav Halak.
It helps, too, that the team’s captain, 24 year-old John Tavares is 100% healthy. You probably recall he missed the important stretch run last season after suffering a debilitating knee injury while playing for the Canadian team in the Sochi Winter Olympics when Latvian defenseman Arturs Kulda pinned him against the boards and Travers wound up tearing his left knee’s medial collateral ligament. After several months of recovery, Travers is confident that he can lead his team like the captain he is.
from Eric Wilbur of Boston.com,
As part of one of the worst moves the NHL has seen since Arizona hockey, Johnny Boychuk was traded to the New York Islanders for a pair of draft picks, in addition to a conditional 2015 third-round pick if the Islanders trade the defenseman to an Eastern Conference team this season.
Just throwing this out there: Does that include the Boston Bruins?
Less than three weeks ago, Thursday night’s game against the Islanders was little more than an early-season throwaway game for the Bruins. That was before Peter Chiarelli went and angered the masses by trading popular defenseman Boychuk to an NHL franchise that might as well be in Siberia for all the relevance they should muster this season.
Now, Thursday night is as much about Bruins fans welcoming Boychuk back to his old haunts as it is sticking it to Chiarelli, who created the very salary cap shambles that forced him to surrender a top-four defenseman on the eve of what might be another run at the Stanley Cup.
Meet John Ledecky and Scott Malkin.
from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,
“It’ll be awkward. I’ve played with him for a while, and some guys have played with him for five plus years,” said Seidenberg. “It’s definitely going to be a bit of a different feeling when guys have to fore-check him, and have to hit him. Or when I stand in front of the net and he shoots.
“It’ll be different, but in the end it’s about winning a hockey game. We’re focusing on that. It’s funny and it’s awkward. If you have to chip a puck behind him and them hit him, that’s when it feels a little bit weird or different.”
The Bruins have played against former teammates before: Phil Kessel, Tyler Seguin, Tim Thomas and Andrew Ference among others. Ference has probably the closest thing to the popularity and goodwill felt toward Boychuk in the B’s dressing room. He was a member of highly accomplished Bruins group for five seasons that won the Cup and friendly with everybody on the team.
So, it should be one of the more emotional returns for an ex-player to TD Garden, but Claude Julien didn’t expect to need to say anything different or special to his players in preparation.
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
“Every team’s going to go through spells throughout the year when they lose some games, but the good teams find a way to not lose three, four in a row,” Okposo said. “They find a way to eliminate that, and they find a way to get points. That’s one thing that we have to learn from. It has to be this year. We have to learn now, because not playing in the playoffs isn’t fun. We want to get back there.
“Last year was tough. Once you get in the playoffs, you never want to go back (to missing them).”
Only one more chance to get back to the playoffs in Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Only one more chance to cram the fans into the old barn, to feel the shake.
“I love playing there,” Okposo said. “I love it. It’s loud. It’s intense. It’s not like some of the buildings that are brand-new and kind of dull and quiet. It’s got a lot of character.”
from Allan Kreda of the New York Times,
The Islanders opened with four straight wins for just the third time in franchise history, and that momentum to begin their last season at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum — despite their first loss at Pittsburgh on Saturday — made Brett Yormark happy.
Yormark, the chief executive of the Nets and Barclays Center, the Islanders’ new home starting next fall, could not ask for better timing to embark on an extensive marketing plan to attract new fans in Brooklyn.
On Monday, Barclays Center will begin a “Brooklyn Scores” campaign through direct mail, social media, cable television commercials and print advertising to persuade potential fans in the city’s most populous borough to try live hockey next season. About 20,000 direct mailers — 75 percent in Brooklyn with the rest in Manhattan and Queens — will be sent out periodically over the next four months, with an emphasis on season-ticket sales.
from Cory Wright at the Islanders website,
John Tavares and the New York Islanders woke up Friday morning as the only 4-0 team in the NHL and as the first Islanders team to start a season with four straight wins since 2001-02.
The Islanders humble captain insisted that it’s only been a week - that the team needs a bigger sample size to gauge themselves - but admitted he sees the potential of something special if the Islanders can build on their good start.
“I think we see what the potential could possibly be if we do the right things, understand the way we need to play and everyone understands their role individually,” Tavares said.
There is a lot to like about the Islanders fast start. They toppled one of the league’s best teams, the San Jose Sharks; they are 3-0-0 against the Metropolitan Division, 2-0-0 at home and are getting scoring up and down the revamped lineup.
from Mike Ozanian of Forbes,
Charles Wang has lost a lot of money with the New York Islanders since buying the NHL team in 2000 for $130 million, and he has explored selling the team several times. But last week Wang finally struck gold when he sold the team to Jonathan Ledecky and Scott Milkin. Under the terms of the deal Ledecky and Malkin will initially own a minority stake, but will assume majority control two years from now, with Wang staying in as a minority owner.
Price tag: $485 million, according to multiple sources familiar with the transaction but who are not authorized to speak about it publicly. That is a rich valuation when you consider that a year ago Vincent Viola acquired another troubled NHL team, the Florida Panthers, for an enterprise value (equity plus net debt) of just $160 million (the reported sale prices of the Panthers at the time of the deal–from $230 million to $250 million–were not enterprise values).
Islanders report upper-body injury for Grabovski, will not return.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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