Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:This year’s minicamp — held earlier this month — would have been defenseman Scott Mayfield’s fifth since being drafted by the Islanders 34th overall in 2011. Instead, the Denver University product watched from the stands on the final day of camp, which ended July 11.
“It’s good to come out here and watch everyone. Kind of see the younger group of guys,” Mayfield said during a conversation with Islanders Point Blank.
The Islanders defenseman was on Long Island for some offseason training as he prepares to battle for a roster spot in September. That has been Mayfield’s main focus since the season ended after a disappointing Game 7 loss to the Washington Capitals in the opening round of the playoffs.
“I want to be in the best possible shape and condition,” Mayfield said. “Just the biggest size I can be. The most weight I can put on and everything. I just want to make sure I’m ready to come in and fight for a spot.”
Mayfield opened a lot of eyes during his two appearances during the playoffs. Islanders head coach Jack Capuano surprised everyone by adding Mayfield to the lineup in Game 6 instead of Ryan Pulock. He saw 10:30 of ice time in Game 6 and then played 14:20 in Game 7.
Fellow defenseman Brian Strait was impressed by Mayfield’s performance in the postseason.
“To come in in that situation it’s not easy,” Strait said in April. “He goes out there and plays with that much poise and confidence, it’s awesome to see. I can’t wait to see what else he brings.”
Michael (@islanderjunkie) writes: Brian, If Kirill Petrov makes the Opening Night roster, is he the 13th forward, or is he in the lineup? If he’s in the lineup, which forward comes out?
Brian ErniThat’s a great question. As we discussed earlier this week, it seems like Petrov has the inside track on a roster spot. One would think that a logical lineup placement is on a line with Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolay Kulemin, which could potentially make Petrov’s transition to the NHL a little easier. But, that would create a state of flux among the ranks of the Islanders forwards.
Tavares, Nielsen, Strome, Lee, Kulemin, Grabovski, and Okposo (barring a last minute trade) seem to be locks. I’d assume Josh Bailey and Brock Nelson (assuming he has a deal in place) fall into that category as well, and I think the Islanders love their fourth line (for good reason). So that’s 12. Plus, there’s Michael Grabner, who — if healthy — needs to get in games, especially to justify the $5 million salary ($3 million cap hit). It seems like Petrov would have a hard time cracking the lineup, but I think therein lies the rub.
I don’t think Garth Snow, Jack Capuano, and the rest of the staff want any of their players — young or veteran — taking anything for granted. Guys like Nelson and Lee struggled down the stretch last year, while Grabovski and Grabner had a hard time staying on the ice. I believe an NHL-ready guy like Petrov is here to push the incumbent forwards to be better. There will be a lot of eyes on the competition on the blue line in camp, but don’t overlook plenty of the battles at the forward spots.
Overall, health will be a big factor in how the Islanders look on Opening Night, but I think if you asked the coaching staff, practically every job is up for grabs, so don’t sleep on what could be a very intriguing training camp.
Could Daniel Bryan, the man who made the YES chant popular, appear at an Islanders game in Brooklyn this year?
Bryan, who is promoting his new book, “Yes! My Improbable Journey to the Main Event of Wrestlemania,” appeared on the Boomer and Carton show this week, and Boomer had some harsh words for the YES chant.
“When the Islanders fans do it after they score a goal, it’s like nails on a chalk board,” Esiason told Bryan.
Bryan admitted that he’s not a hockey fan, but when Esiason suggested the Islanders invite Bryan out to their opener at Barclays Center on October 9, Bryan seemed receptive.
Brian ErniFirst off, please make this happen. How cool would it be for Daniel Bryan to lead a YES chant at Barclays Center? Whoever needs to make that call in the marketing department, get on it ASAP!
Can I just also say that I love that we have something that drives Rangers fans nuts? The Isles are a good, young hockey team that’s going to contend for a while, so they better get used to hearing plenty of YES chants over the years. I have this mental image what, if the Islanders win the Cup, Matt Martin can just wear his ring to Sunday dinners and start YESing before every meal. Hockey gods, this is all I want.
The start time of four 2015-16 Islanders’ contests have been amended by the NHL from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. face-offs (Staple, July 23).
The Nov. 25 game vs. Philadelphia, the Feb. 2 game at Washington, the March 8 game vs. Pittsburgh and March 21 game vs Philadelphia have all been pushed back a half hour. All four dates are weekday contests.
The Nov. 25 game will be the Flyers’ first trip to the Barclays Center and the March 8 game will be the Penguins’ first visit to the Islanders new home. The Islanders will skate at the Verizon Center for the first time, excluding the preseason, since the playoffs on Feb. 4.
Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:The time changes sure seem like a precursor to at least a few of these games ending up on the national broadcast schedule. The Islanders did not have a single game originally scheduled for a national TV audience last year, but that changed after the team’s hot start. This year the schedule would indicate that the Islanders are going to get at least a few games on NBCSN, especially with their new digs in Brooklyn and successful 2014-15 campaign.
NBCSN broadcasts usually have a 7:30 p.m. face-off, though some have started at 7 p.m and others at 8 p.m., and the opponents that the Islanders face on those dates are usually seen nationally quite a bit during the season. The Flyers were featured 16 times on NBC Sports Group properties last season, the Penguins 19 times and the Capitals 13. Adding to that, the Islanders and Penguins have usually held spirited affairs against one another in recent years, and the bad blood developed with the Capitals from last year’s opening-round playoff series makes that game attractive to a national audience.
Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark is hinting at an announcement that will make getting to Barclays Center much earier.
Yormark took to Twitter on Thursday to hint that he has an agreement with the Long Island Rail Road that will make Islanders fans “happy.” (Jul 23)
Yormark has worked together with the LIRR before to add more trains for the Islanders two preseason games in the building.
Brian ErniThis likely will not only involve adding more trains on gamedays, but will include adding direct trains from major hub stations like Hicksville and Babylon that will go directly to the Atlanta Terminal without forcing fans to change at Jamaica. As a Suffolk County resident, that would make me very happy.
Everyone who will be taking the train from Long Island to get to the game knows that the change at Jamaica is the worst part. It’s one thing to hop on mass transit with a few cold ones and know it’s a quick stop to the arena. But the change at Jamaica, especially on the way back, can be the worst part. When I attended the first preseason game in 2013, I foolishly took the train from Ronkonkoma. No problem going, but coming back, I waited for 45 minutes on the platform for another Ronkonkoma train. If that can be avoided, that’s a major coup for Yormark, and should help ease the concerns of Long Islanders who are hesitant making the trek to Brooklyn.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman plans to attend the Islanders’ regular-season home opener on Oct. 9 at Barclays Center, Newsday’s Neil Best reports (July 22).
Bettman said it’s his job to attend big events, such as this one, around the league.
“I’m generally in places where something special is happening,” Bettman said at a conference at Prudential Center. “Whether it’s hoisting the Stanley Cup banner, whether it’s the first game in a new building, that’s what I do.”
Despite the move from Nassau Coliseum to Barclays Center, Bettman said he is excited to see the new venue take shape as a hockey arena.
“I think everybody’s very excited about their future in Brooklyn,” Bettman said. “It’ll be different but it’s a nice place to go and the Nassau Coliseum was and is past its due date and so the Islanders needed a new facility. Was [Barclays] built especially for hockey? No, but it’ll be great.”
However, not everyone is happy about the move to Brooklyn. Former Islander Pat LaFontaine, who also spoke at the conference, said is disheartened by the relocation.
“It’s heartbreaking,” LaFontaine said, “to know what they’ve achieved in that building and that place has become a very iconic place and the fact the team last year was able to revive that feeling again, I think made it more difficult.”
Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:This is a big event for the NHL and the Islanders, so Gary Bettman’s presence should come as no surprise. Commissioner Bettman has seen the Islanders through several efforts to get a new building out on Long Island and he has been no stranger to making visits out to Nassau Coliseum to take in a game in the past.
As Bettman expressed, the first game at Barclays Center will be a special event for everyone involved. The Islanders didn’t leave the region, but the relocation to Brooklyn is a a drastic change for the franchise that has had a lot in common with its suburban home on Long Island. It wouldn’t be a shock to see the commissioner at a few other games during the course of the season as well, especially the Rangers first visit to Barclays Center in December.