Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Even knowing their history, the Islanders rolled the dice again in a meaningful way this past week. With the rest of the hockey world distracted by the NHL playoffs, the Islanders notified the Buffalo Sabres that they would use their first-round pick, fifth overall, in the 2014 entry draft and defer until 2015 transferring the first-round they owe them in the Thomas Vanek deal. The Islanders scout players like the rest of the league, so they are aware that not one but potentially two generational players could be up for grabs in 2015 – Connor McDavid of the Erie Otters and Jack Eichel of the U.S. under-18 national development team.
It is the sort of draft that only comes along once in a while, one that can shift the fortunes of a franchise in one fell swoop, one that gets general managers dreaming about ping pong balls and the luck of the lottery draw.
And now, assuming they stay bad for at least one more year, the Sabres will get two cracks at McDavid and Eichel – and wouldn’t it be something if they ended up with both? Hockey in Western New York might never be the same.
The Islanders, meanwhile, are gambling that the return to health of John Tavares and the decision to sign goaltender Jaroslav Halak to a four-year contract, thus stabilizing a woefully erratic position, will make them a playoff team - or if not a playoff team, close enough that the chances of winning the draft lottery and moving into a top-two position are negligible.
more plus other hockey topics like the Washington Capitals and Jeff Carter...
from Arthur Staple of Newsday,
Jack Capuano said he wants to see a little more effort from the few veterans still left on the active roster for Sunday's season finale here.
"I would hope they're aware," Capuano said of the evaluations he, his coaching staff and general manager Garth Snow are performing on what remains of the team that muddled through this lottery-bound season. "I would hope they know they're still being watched closely, because obviously this season wasn't good enough."
So who will still be an Islander when the team convenes in September for the 2014-15 season? Who is on the bubble? Here are educated analysis/guesses on what the team may look like next season:
As long as Charles Wang controls the Islanders, Garth Snow is his man as general manager. Despite the negotiations of late -- and it’s believed that Wang is hoping for other suitors besides Philadelphia wealth manager Andrew Barroway to be involved- - nothing seems imminent, so Snow isn’t going anywhere.
from Josh Kosman and Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
The New York Islanders’ latest effort to find a buyer is getting a lift from the team’s new landlord in Brooklyn.
Owner Charles Wang is in talks to sell the money-losing NHL franchise to Philadelphia lawyer Andrew Barroway for $225 million, plus another $75 million if the Islanders hit certain revenue targets, The Post has learned.
While Wang has been open to a sale for several years, there has been limited interest in a team that lost more than $10 million in a single season and has among the lowest attendance in the league.
But this time could be different because of a revenue guarantee from Barclays Center, where the Islanders are set to start playing in 2015. In October 2012, the Islanders inked a long-term deal to move the team from Nassau County to Brooklyn.
via the New York Islanders,
New York Islanders Owner, Charles Wang statement regarding recent reports of selling his majority stakes in the franchise.
In recent months, there have been numerous expressions of interest in the purchase of the New York Islanders. As I have consistently stated, I have been and remain willing to listen. However, potential buyers expressions of interest in the team or even my listening to them does not mean that any deal will be reached.
Bishop's terrible clearing pass went directly to Travis Hamonic of the Islanders, who put the puck in the net from center ice, but Brock Nelson was ruled offside.
from Arthur Staple of Newsday,
The last stretch of the Islanders' season isn't just for evaluating the young players who have been rotating through the lineup.
Evgeni Nabokov, for example, isn't signed for next season. He's had two injuries, including a groin problem that cost him a month and left the Isles hanging during their ugly November and December.
But he showed on Sunday a little bit of why the Islanders might be interested in a fourth season employing the 38-year-old in a backup role next season.
Most obvious were the 41 saves in a 2-0 win over the Blue Jackets, including 33 in the final two periods. Nabokov has lamented not making the key save at key times. His .912 even-strength save percentage ranks ahead of only the Devils' Cory Schneider and Martin Brodeur among NHL goaltenders who start a majority of their team's games.
from Shawn Mitchell of Puck-Rakers,
“I think at this time of the season, you’ve got to find a way,” Richards said. “You’ve got to dig down. And if your energy isn’t quite at the level it needs to be at then It comes down to game management.
“You’ve got to manage the game better, in how you play, how you handle the puck, the decisions that you make.”
Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson said the Jackets’ effort wasn’t up for question, but “if you can’t come to play for at least 20 minutes a night then you ought to take up Putt-Putt or something,” he said.
“Push yourself for 20. Guys tried. But (the Islanders) only needed one to win. That’s a tough pill to swallow, when you can’t score one goal.”
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
It's not too often you see a crowd cheer when an opposing team scores, but that's exactly what happened in Matt Moulson's emotional return to Long Island. The heart-and-soul forward, who was traded by the New York Islanders to the Buffalo Sabres in return for Vanek -- a shocking blockbuster trade that stunned just about everyone -- tallied twice in his first game back against his old club, boosting the Minnesota Wild to a critical 6-0 win over the Islanders.
Moulson received a boisterous response from the Islanders faithful when he was announced as the first star of the night and raised his stick in salute to the fans.
It was a fitting tribute for Moulson, who said yesterday he had wanted to remain on Long Island for the rest of his career. That trade will remain a puzzling one, and it was clear in his return that Moulson is still stung by the way he was unceremoniously shipped out of town. Nice for Moulson to have such a big night in his first game back against his former team, and nice for the fans to give him the recognition he deserves.
more from the ESPN hockey crew including Burnside on the Senators and Devils, LeBrun on the Canadiens, Leafs and Lightning and Custance on the Capitals...
from Ian MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun,
Anyone who couldn't believe what they saw Monday from the Vancouver Canucks hasn't been paying attention the last two months.
You may have been horrified, disgusted, disillusioned, sad or angry, but shocked? No, not with these Canucks. Not with the way their disintegration has been accelerating in recent weeks, how a team that was one of the best in the National Hockey League only a couple of years ago has completely dissolved before our eyes – and the eyes of coach John Tortorella and general manager Mike Gillis – this winter.
The collapse on home ice against the New York Islanders is merely the grotesque next step of a team that long ago lost its way and only barrels deeper and more hopelessly into the abyss week by week.
On the day Gillis sent a letter to season-ticket holders re-stating the organization's goal to win the Stanley Cup, the chalice hasn't looked as far away in 15 years as it did Monday night when the Canucks were outscored 7-1 in the third period by a lousy Islander team long ridiculed for its ineptitude.
Watch the game highlights below and also John Tortorella post-game...
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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