The Morning Skate: Draft Lottery Tonight, Toronto’s Nightmare

Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:

The NHL Draft Lottery takes place tonight in a made for TV special at 8pm. It’ll be on TSN in Canada and NBCSN in the States. As you might know from years of experience, this thing is 30-minutes long and it’s usually about 29 minutes too long. So, if you show up at 8:15 you won’t miss a whole lot. 

The Islanders representation tomorrow night will be Trent Klatt, who is the team’s head amateur scout. The team also holds the fifth spot in the lottery, meaning that there is an 8.1% chance that they’ll win the lottery and move up to the #1 spot. If they don’t win they’ll have the fifth pick unless someone behind them in the draft order wins, in which case they’ll move back to the sixth spot.

Also, as a special feature this year the Devils will be in the lottery but are ineligible to win it because of the whole Ilya Kovalchuk ‘cap circumvention we’re taking your first round pick but ok here you can have it back‘ thing.

Here’s how that will workTo read more of this story, click here


Tavares will begin skating next week

John Tavares has been cleared to begin skating again next week, he told reporters on Monday.

“I know my limitations,” he said (Savarino, April 14).

Tavares tore his medial collateral ligament and meniscus in his left knee during the Olympics. He did not have surgery.

Uncle: Disaster season ends with 4-3 shootout win and some hope

Box/TOI || Highlights || Fancy Stats

Keith Quinn, Islanders Point Blank:

As this season comes to it’s merciful end, at least we can say that the Isles went down swinging (literally and figuratively).  Some may frame it as ‘pressure free hockey’ and ‘too little too late’ or ‘same old story’, but this recent stretch is how you’d like to see your team playing throughout the year.  As always, if this can keep up and the lineup regulars come back in good form, this team is a goaltending upgrade away from the playoffs.

It’s a lot of ifs.

To read more of this story, click here

Mayfield Making Most of NHL Stint

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

When Scott Mayfield takes the ice Sunday night in Buffalo it will be his fifth an final time he does so with the Islanders this season.

Whether the rookie defenseman will start the 2014-15 campaign in the NHL will be determined later, but he has ben given his fair share of opportunities during his short stint this year. Through the four games he has appeared in so far he has seen good amount of ice time, with his highest time on ice coming on Friday against the Devils when he played 20:35.

Mayfield says that it was “different” coming into a new locker room with just five games left – the Islanders recalled him last Sunday – but the large number of familiar faces has helped the change.

“You’re kind of coming into a locker room with five games remaining with a whole different team kind of,” Mayfield said. “My transition was a little bit easier because I knew guys here. We have a lot of young guys so that helped out, but it’s different. It’s a different game out there, but it’s a great experience.”

The short jump to a new team is nothing new for the St. Louis native. After two years playing NCAA hockey for the university of Denver, Mayfield played the final six games of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers’ 2012-13 season.

This year has been his first pro season, and a solid season at that.

Mayfield appeared in 69 games for Bridgeport before being called up by the Islanders. In that span he has three goals and 14 assists for 17 points.

The advantage for Mayfield, not only are the large number of rookies on the team, but it has also helped that the Islanders keep their system in Bridgeport very similar to the one on Long Island.

“We do a few different things,” he said regarding the system. “ But I mean they try to keep it as unison as possible. It’s more the personnel difference that’s the biggest change.”

The chance to play in the NHL is a big opportunity for any young player, and that’s something that Mayfield understands and appreciates.

“It’s a great experience,” he said. “I mean we’re all getting an opportunity, myself included, and it’s a lot of fun. You kind of want to learn as much as you can going into summer. Know what you have to do this summer to get better and make a push for it next year.”

Bridgeport Game Postponed Due to “World’s Largest Foam Party”

Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:

Here’s something you don’t see everyday; a hockey game gets postponed because a concert the night before was too foamy. 

The Sound Tigers were scheduled to take on Adirondack tonight in Bridgeport, but the game has been postponed until Monday because of the poor condition of the ice. The culprit? “The World’s Largest Foam party” — Foam N’ Glow — which took place at the arena last night. According to an advertisement, the show promised attendees “high-energy music, ultraviolet dancers, fire performers, CO2 shows and foam into one mind-blowing combination.”

If you’re like me and not sure what kids are doing these days, it’s probably that.

Adirondack announcer Bob Rotruck tweeted a quick explainer on what happened:

There were apparently a lot of divots and grooves in the ice that made it unsafe for the players. The teams didn’t even get onto the ice to participate in pre-game warmups. Rotruck said crews had been working on the ice since midnight to fix the issues but no luck.

The game has been rescheduled for Monday in Bridgeport.

In other wacky minor league hockey news, here’s a giant beer can pyramid!

At Long Last, Justin Johnson Realizes NHL Dream

Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:

NEWARK, NJ — For some hockey players  the journey to the NHL is swift and clear cut and for others it may take a long time, have twists and turns, and that’s assuming they ever reach the NHL at all.

justin_johnsonThe Islanders’ Justin Johnson made his pro debut in Newark, New Jersey yesterday on a warm Friday night and for him the journey was more of the latter.

Johnson’s path to the NHL stopped and started, then took a few more stops, before finding the ice at the Prudential Center in an Islanders uniform. At the age of 32, he finally got the call to the Big Show and it was a moment he had been waiting on for a long time and wasn’t sure ever would happen.

“I definitely appreciate [the opportunity],” he said sitting in a visiting lockerroom stall, zipping up a big duffel of equipment for the team’s next trip to Buffalo.  “You don’t take it for granted. You just kinda work and work and you feel like you earn it kind of when it’s not given to you right away.”

For Johnson, the opportunity was anything but given to him. To read more of this story, click here

Islanders 3, Devils 2 (SO)

Box Score || Highlights || Fancy Stats

Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:

NEWARK, NJ — In some ways, it was youth against age at the Prudential center tonight for two teams left with only pride to play for in the final gasps of the regular season. The Islanders started a lineup of youth, with 11 players who had started the season in the American Hockey League or college and nine players in total that were 23-years old or younger.

On the other side, it could have been one of the final games for two living legends and future Hall of Famers in New Jersey’s 41-year old Martin Brodeur and 42-year old Jaromir Jagr. Even if not their final NHL games, quite possibly their final games in a Devils uniform, especially as the former seems to finally be showing his age after 21 seasons. Both players are free agents at the end of the season and among hockey’s elite; Brodeur leads the NHL All-Time in goaltender wins and Jagr sits in 7th on the goal scoring list. 

To read more of this story, click here

Game Day (81): Islanders at Devils, 7:30pm

(33-31-14)                (31-36-11)
Prudential Center — Newark, NJ
TV: MSG+2 Radio: 88.7, 103.9 FM

The Least You Should Know About the Devils… 42-year old Jaromir Jagr has played 80 games for the Devils and leads the team with 64 points. Jagr trails Mike Gartner by three goals for sixth on the NHL’s All-Time list… Ryan Clowe, Bryce Salvador and Adam Henrique all missed the team’s last game with injuries… The Devils finish up their season Sunday at home against the Bruins…

After a 2-0 win in Montreal last night, the Islanders are right back in action in New Jersey tonight against the Devils. The Devils have been knocked out of playoff contention since these two teams last met a couple weeks back on March 29.

Jersey is 3-1-2 in their last six including two shootout losses, which has been their achilles heel all season. They are 0-12 overall in shootouts, the only team in the NHL this year without a shootout win. If the Devils continue without a shootout win this year, they will be only the fourth team to ever go a full season without a shootout win. They will also be the most futile in single season, almost beating the others combined:

  1. 2013-14 Devils (currently 0-12)
  2. 2012-13 Leafs (0-5)
  3. 2012-13 Flames (0-3)
  4. 2006-07 Hurricanes (0-5)

As for the Islanders, Anders Nilsson is expected to start in goal tonight against Corey Schneider Martin Brodeur for the Devils. The rest of the lineup will be revealed later this afternoon but it should be the same as last night save for Johan Sundstrom. Justin Johnson has been called up to replace Sundstrom.

Projected Lineup:
Lee-Nielsen-Bailey Hickey-Hamonic Nillson
Persson-Nelson-Strome Carkner-Donovan Nabokov
McDonald-Cizikas-Martin Czuczman-Mayfield
Scratches: Sundstrom, Martinek, Clutterbuck, Grabner, Strait, Okposo, Visnovsky, Boulton IR: Tavares