3-10-14: What the heck is going on in Uniondale? GM Garth Snow traded defenseman Andrew MacDonald at the deadline to the Flyers for picks and traded Thomas Vanek to Montreal for a conditional pick and low-end prospect Sebastien Collberg. In all honesty, Snow should be fired at season’s end. The Islanders are a train wreck and that culminated this past week with losses to Florida, Edmonton and Calgary. Yikes! I wonder what John Tavares thinks about all of this?
3-3-14: The Islanders found a way to win their first game without John Tavares but were outscored 11-4 in the two losses that followed. GM Garth Snow has some big decisions to make before Wednesday’s trade deadline. First, is what to do with Thomas Vanek? Do they keep him and risk letting him walk as a free agent at season’s end? Do they trade him for assets? Clearly, he’s not re-signing in New York, so the Isles best bet is to trade him. Second, what about defenseman Andrew MacDonald? He’s coveted by many teams right now and the Isles would be wise to trade him.
2-10-14: The Islanders are 1-6-1 in their past eight games played and have given up four goals or more in five of those contests. Thomas Vanek turned down a contract extension last week meaning he’s almost certainly to be traded at the deadline, or wait until free agency. The Olympic break will be a welcome sign for the Isles. Maybe they can relax and gear up for a potential playoff spot run for the remaining stretch of the season.
2-3-14: The Islanders have lost five straight games and are now one of the NHL’s basement cellar dwellers. The Isles are eight points back of 25th-ranked New Jersey and just one point ahead of the Flames and Panthers. Like the Sabres, the biggest question facing the Islanders is what to do with UFA to be Thomas Vanek. There have been talks of trying to convince him to sign long term with the Islanders, but the most realistic scenario is trading him at the deadline for assets.
1-27-14: Despite two losses in their past two games played, the Islanders have vaulted themselves back into the fringe of playoff contenders. New York is 8-4-1 in January but 3-3-1 in their past seven games. The Isles probably need another winning stretch just to get within striking distance in the East. Their season is still alive, but compared to a month ago when it was dead, it's an improvement. Since Dec. 21, Thomas Vanek has nine goals and six assists in 19 games.
1-20-14: The team won one of three games this week, a shootout win over Tampa Bay, while dropping decisions to Florida and Philadelphia. New York's recent run may have sparked hopes of making the playoffs in the team's fans, but the Isles still sit seven points back of the final wild-card spot.
Evgeni Nabokov and Kevin Poulin have cost the Islanders a spot in the postseason. The team has .898-save-percentage goaltending. The league leading average is .914.
1-13-14: The Islanders have won four games in a row and seven of their eight to keep their playoff hopes on life support. Five of the wins have come against the Western Conference, with another coming against the Bruins. Even with their hot play, the Islanders are still quite a distance from a playoff spot. But anything is possible in the Eastern Conference. The Isles have won seven straight on the road, the second-longest streak in franchise history. They won eight in a row during the 1980-81 season, in which they won the Stanley Cup.
1-7-14: The Islanders appear to have pulled out of the slump that dropped them to the bottom of the Eastern Conference. New York has won four of their last six games and lost the other two contests by just one goal. Their recent successes are encouraging it maybe too little too late. The Islanders are more than 10 points outside the postseason. Much of New York's turnaround can be attributed to the return of Evgeni Nabokov, who is 4-3-2 with a .926 save percentage after coming back.
12-30-13: John Tavares 246 game consecutive streak of playing games came to an end last week, as he sustained a lower body injury. The Isles struggles continue as they’re 4-4-2 over their last 10 games and sit 15th in the Eastern Conference. How head coach Jack Capuano still has a job is baffling. Speculation is that former Flyers bench boss Peter Laviolette could be the guy to takeover if Capuano is fired. There have been brighter days on Long Island.
12-23-13: The Islanders went 1-1-1 record last week and propelled New York from 29th in the league standings all the way up to 28th. Somehow, the Isles aren't truly out of playoffs yet. The picture is grim, but the club is only 10 points back of third place in the NHL's Metrophorrible, I mean Metropolitan Division, and has 45 games to make that up. New York’s regulation win last Friday ended a streak of 16 games stretching over 38 days since the team's last one, back on November 12.
12-16-13: It could a race for between the Islanders and Sabres for the NHL’s worst team. The Isles have only one win in their past 13 games, a 3-2 shootout victory on the road against the San Jose Sharks of all teams last Tuesday. The Islanders have been outshot in six of seven games in December with the biggest differential came in the only game they won this month, a 48-28 margin against the Sharks. There have been brighter days on Long Island.
12-9-13: The Islanders free fall since trading for Thomas Vanek continues. They dropped an overtime game last week to Pittsburgh before heading west to take on Los Angeles and St. Louis. They were outscored by the Kings and Blues by an 8-1 margin. The Isles have lost nine-straight games, and have only one win in their last 16 games. I would not be shocked to see head coach Jack Capuano fired sometime soon, and the Islanders replace him with Peter Laviolette.
12-2-13: How is that Thomas Vanek experiment working out for the Islanders? Well not so good, as the Isles have gone into a complete free fall since acquiring Vanek from Buffalo in late October. The Isles have one regulation win in their last 13 games and had dropped six straight contests. Much of the Islanders poor play has come from their forwards, but goalie Kevin Poulin hasn’t been good either. He’s reached the .900 save-percentage mark in a game only three times this season and his numbers over the last two weeks are not good: 0-5-0, .850 save percentage.
11-25-13: The Islanders are another one of those teams who had high expectations to start the year and have failed to meet expectations so far. It was a miserable past week for the Isles as they dropped all three contests they played, including two games to their foes from Pennsylvania. The Thomas Vanek experiment hasn’t really worked out according to plan. Vanek has only three goals and three assists for six points in eight games as a member of the Islanders.
11-18-13: The Islanders entered last week losers of four straight games. They changed that last week as they had two wins in three contests. They beat Nashville in an evenly matched game and lost to Los Angeles. The Islanders penalty kill unit is dead last in the NHL. New York is clicking at a sorry 72.3 percent. The Islanders saver percentage when down a man is a horrendous .795. If New York wants to make the playoffs they must turn around the penalty kill.
11-12-13: This was a horrible week for the Islanders as they dropped four consecutive games to the Captials, Hurricanes, Blue Jackets, and Canadiens. They were outscored by a 16-6 margin and were outplayed in all four games. Colin McDonald was a nice story last season for the Isles but his year he’s been awful. He has registered one point in 12 games and is minus-9. Newly acquired Thomas Vanek also got hurt this past week with an apparent wrist injury.
11-5-13: The Isles started off the week with a loss to the Rangers, but finished the week with a shootout win over the Senators and solid win over the Boston Bruins. The Islanders are currently seventh in the Eastern Conference. Thomas Vanek has three points in his first three games as a member of the New York Islanders. The Isles are outshooting their opponents 36-19 five-on-five with Vanek on the ice. Defense and goaltending are still questions marks for the Isles.
10-29-13: Garth Snow’s trade of Matt Mouslon and two picks for rental player Thomas Vanek is a head-scratcher. I guess the Isles are of the belief that they can win now with the team they have assembled. The problem is see with the trade is why do you trade for a player who is a UFA at year’s end? Unless the Isles can convince Vanek to stay with the team this trade is a stupid one the organization.
10-21-13: The Islanders just can’t seem to get things going. They have just one victory in their last five games played. The Isles have gotten contributions from their top players such as John Tavares, Josh Bailey, and Matt Mouslon. Besides them, the Islanders are weak throughout their lineup. The loss of defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky to injury last Saturday will hurt. Everybody in the Metropolitan Division besides the Penguins has struggled. The Islanders are too talented and I expect them to be better as the year progresses.
10-14-13: The Islanders may not be the most skilled team in the entire league, but they have players who will burn you on the ice. John Tavares has established himself as one of the best players in the league. The Isles have much more to prove and show in this young season. They have some winnable games coming up against the struggling Sabres, Oilers, and Hurricanes. Cal Clutterbuck’s return to the New York lineup will be welcomed.
10-7-13: It’s been an okay start for the Islanders, who are trying to prove that they’re playoff worthy once again. Michael Grabner, John Tavares, and Lubomir Visnovsky have been good early on. Will Evgeni Nabokov prove to the Islanders brass that he’s the number one goalie? Or will the Islanders make a splash and trade for a goaltender?
8-22-13: Expectations have risen on Long Island for the 2013-14 season after the Islanders clinched their first playoff berth in six seasons last year. The Isles are a young team led by superstar center John Tavares. While defense still remains an issue, the Isles are expected to compete for a playoff spot in the east this year. On Dec. 3, the Islanders close out a four-game home stand with the team that sent them home for the summer, the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Islanders will participate in their first outdoor game in franchise history on Jan. 29 as they face the New York Rangers in Yankee Stadium as part of the Coors Light Stadium Series.
7-15-13: The Islanders have signed restricted free agent center Josh Bailey to a new five-year contract worth $16.5 million.
Islanders 2013 NHL Draft Summary:
Pick #15: Ryan Pulock, D
Pick #70: Eamon McAdam, G
Pick #76: Taylor Cammarata, C, LW
Pick #106: Stephon Williams, G
Pick #136: Viktor Crus Rydberg, C
Pick #166: Alan Quine, C
Pick #196: Kyle Burroughs, D