Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:
If you were looking to watch an Islander game on NBCSN or NBC network during the 2014-15 NHL season, don’t hold your breath.
The NHL’s broadcast partner released its schedule for the upcoming season with plans to air 103 regular season games. None of which will feature the Islanders. In recent memory, it is the first time the Islander have not been on the NBCSN schedule.
The Islanders are coming off a tough season that saw them go 34-37-11 and miss the playoffs after making it in 2013. Still, it is hard to fully understand why the Islanders will not make at least one appearance, especially with this being the franchises final year at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. A trip at least once by the network would have been nice to see just for the old barn on Hempstead Turnpike to get at least a little send off nationally.
Beside the Islanders — though it is still early — look to be a team to be reckoned with in the Metropolitan and could be making a push for the playoffs late in the season. NBC or NBCSN could possibly flex the game if there is some intrigue to a late season contest, but that is unclear.
New York’s other two hockey will be making appearances on NBC and NBCSN… The Devils will have two home games broadcasted on NBCSN and the Rangers will make 10 appearances on NBCSN and three games will be broadcasted on NBC.
It’s understandable why the Rangers will be featured so frequently. They did just go to the Stanley Cup Final — to the dismay of Islander fans everywhere — and the league will want to milk that for all it’s worth. Makes sense, but the Devils had a rough season and don’t look to be a threat in the Metro this year.
The idea that New Jersey gets two nationally broadcasted games and the Islanders don’t just does not make sense. The opponents for those two games, by the way, are Columbus and Buffalo.
Not necessarily games that get tongues wagging.
It would seem it is still a respect thing when it comes to the Islanders. They had a bad season after having a good one so NBC decided it was not worth highlighting them on their networks.
Hopefully that will change in Brooklyn.
Former Islander forward Thomas Vanek is reportedly connected to a federal gambling investigation in Rochester as a witness (Post, July 22).
An NBC affiliate reported Monday that Vanek was seen walking out of a Rochester federal court after being connected to an investigation with the Marina Restaurant and Bar. The investigation is centered on 23 counts of gambling against three men, including the restaurants co-owners.
Vanek’s agent, Steve Bartlett remains steadfast that the 30-year-old Minnesota Wild forward is nothing more than a witness.
Bartlett relayed a statement from Vanek and his attorney:
“Representatives of the U.S. Federal Government have asked for my cooperation in an investigation. I am not the subject of any investigation or prosecution. I will fully cooperate with the U.S. Federal authorities in their investigation or in any proceedings arising out of it.”
Ryan Pulock is looking for his next challenge — hopefully as a member of the New York Islanders (NHL.com, July 18).
The 19-year-old defenseman finished last season as the all-time leading goal-scorer among defensemen for the Brandon Wheat Kings in the WHL, scoring 64 goals and tallying 146 assists in 261 games over four seasons.
Pulock, who played three games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers after the WHL season ended in 2014, could start the 2014-15 season with Bridgeport as well. One thing is for sure, he’ll be facing stiff competition at the NHL training camp in September.
“There’s a lot of good other [defensemen],” Pulock said at Islanders development camp last week. “For me, I just want to come in and have a good camp and push for a spot and just do all I can to be on the team and see what happens from there.”
Though he has plenty of work left to do, Pulock’s improvements last season with the Wheat Kings caught the eye of Eric Cairns, director of player development.
“I think he’s doing a really good job developing his overall game,” said Eric Cairns. “He’s obviously an offensive defenseman with a very heavy shot. He’s put a lot of time and focus into his play away from the puck defensively. His habits have improved and it’s just been a year. He’s starting to push his pace a little bit harder, a little bit faster. He is a good skater; he’s a very powerful skater. Just in one year I’ve seen a lot of development in his game.”
While Pulock is looking to take the next big step in his career, ultimately he is just focused on moving forward any way he can as a player.
“This summer I’m trying to get bigger and stronger and faster,” Pulock said. “My defensive game needs some work. I think it’s improved over the years but it’s an area for me that I can continue working on.”
The Islanders signed Casey Cizikas to a two-year deal and Calvin de Haan to a three-year deal, the team announced.
Cizikas’ deal is worth $2 million over two years, while de Haan’s is worth $5.9 million over three (Staple, July 15).
de Haan, 23, scored 16 points (three goals, 13 assists) in 51 games this past season as a rookie with the Islanders. The Carp, ON, native’s 21:01 average time on ice placed fourth on the team and third amongst Islanders defensemen. His minutes continually progressed as he took on an increased role on the penalty kill and was matched against opponents’ top offensive units.
For more de Haan info, click here...
A 6’1, 187-pound defenseman, de Haan began the 2013-14 season with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League. He scored three points (one goal, two assists) in 17 games before earning a callup to the Islanders on November 28. In 76 career AHL games, de Haan has 21 points (three goals, 18 assists).
The Islanders selected de Haan in the first round, 12th overall, of the 2009 NHL Draft. He played three seasons of junior hockey with the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League, serving as captain in his third year. de Haan was named to the 2008-09 OHL First All-Rookie team.
On the international stage, de Haan represented Team Canada at the 2010 and 2011 World Junior Championships, winning silver medals at both events.
Cizikas, 23, scored 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) in 80 games this past season with the Islanders. The Toronto, ON, native established career highs in assists, points and games played during his second full season with the club and third professional campaign.
For more Cizikas info, click here...
In 140 career NHL games, the 5’11, 189-pound center has 35 points (12 goals, 13 assists). He appeared in six games with the Islanders during the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Pittsburgh Penguins, scoring four points (two goals, two assists), which included his game-clinching goal in Game 4.
In 83 American Hockey League games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Cizikas has 66 points (25 goals, 41 assists). He played in the 2012 AHL All-Star game as a rookie.
The Islanders selected Cizikas in the fourth round (92nd overall) of the 2009 NHL Draft. He played four seasons of junior hockey with the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors of the Ontario Hockey League, was named to the 2007-08 OHL All-Rookie Team and played in the 2010 OHL All-Star Game.
On the international stage, Cizikas represented Team Canada at the 2011 World Junior Championships, winning silver. He won gold with Team Canada-Ontario at the 2008 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge
The Islanders have placed Kirill Kabanov on unconditional waivers, the team announced.
Kabanov played with Bridgeport and Stockton last season, with seven goals and four assists in 25 games.
Kabanov was drafted No. 65 overall by the Isles in the 2010 NHL Draft. He signed a three-year entry level contract with the Islanders in 2011.
Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:
This move shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to anyone. The behavioral issues were just too much for the Islanders and, even though there is no doubt Kirill Kabanov is a talented player, the team has decided to cut ties. Kabanov was alway a pleasant person to talk to in the locker room during prospect camps or training camp. He made for a good story and was always friendly when I encountered him, but something just never clicked with Kabanov. The Islanders knew what to expect when they selected Kabanov in 2012, unfortunately things just did not pan out the way they hoped for.
There have been “multiple” interested parties looking to buy the Islanders, according to IPB founder and Sports Business Journal reporter Chris Botta (Twitter, July 14).
Isles owner Charles Wang is weighing the offer and deciding if he wants to sell, Botta said.
Wang is in talks to sell a majority stake in the team, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie (IPB, March 28).
According to an earlier report of Botta’s Wang has set a value for the club of $375 million and is attempting to sell a 75% stake in the team and the option to purchase the remainder in five years. He also thinks that it looks like Wang is looking to sell as soon as possible (IPB, April 25).
Defenseman Matt Donovan has accepted a qualifying offer from the Islanders (CapGeek, July 15) Brett Gallant also accepted a qualifying offer from the Islanders (CapGeek, July 15).
Donovan’s one-year, two-way deal is worth $826,875 at the NHL level and $65,000 at the AHL level. Gallant’s deal will pay $75,000 in the AHL and $605,000 in the NHL.
In 52 games with the Isles, Donovan had two goals and 16 points. Galant did not tally a point in four games with the Islanders last season.
Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:
It is not really a surprise that both have accepted their qualifying offers. The terms seem fair for both Gallant and Donovan. Gallant is another enforcer in the system that the Islanders can call up when needed or — like last year — when they suffer injuries. Donovan played well last season, but a one-year, two way deal gives the Islanders flexibility with the young defenseman. They have the option to send him up and down as needed and it gives Donovan the chance to prove himself a bit more before earning a better deal next offseason.
NHL.com’s Brian Compton welcomes one of the Islanders young stars, forward Brock Nelson to the show. The guys discuss how Brock is keeping busy in the offseason, the improvements he’s making on the ice, and if he prefers playing center or wing. Plus, Brian catches up with defenseman Kevin Czuczman during mini-camp at Nassau Coliseum.
For the show rundown, click here...
- Islanders mini-camp recap
- Forward Brock Nelson calls in
- Defenseman Kevin Czuczman interview
SNY’s new show, Oh Yeah…, reflects on the Ranger fans classic reaction to Denis Potvin during his career with the Islanders.
Oh Yeah… takes viewers on a trip down memory lane by re-visiting the most entertaining, offbeat, and perhaps forgotten local sports topics over the past 40 years with each episode devoted to a specific year. New episodes air Sundays at 10 pm on SNY.
The Islander prospects took part in the annual Blue & White Scrimmage Thursday night at Nassau Coliseum.
Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:
Overall it was a success for everyone one involved. The players enjoyed the chance to play a competitive game, the fans got to see hockey in july and the Islanders were able to get 4,000 fans to come to Nassau Coliseum in the middle of summer.
As for evaluating talent during Thursday night’s scrimmage — or for that matter during the course of the week long mini camp — it is always a challenge. These camps are for the coaches to learn a little bit about the players and instill in them a little bit of what NHL life is like. For the players it’s the same thing. They are getting to know the organization and learning what it takes to be a pro athlete.
The scrimmage is the first real chance to see how the prospects play in a competitive situation, but even then it’s hard to make any concrete assessments. With just two days of practice how comfortable can everyone be with one another yet. To read more of this story, click here