Game Day (6): Maple Leafs at Islanders, 7 pm

Nassau Coliseum — Uniondale, NY
TV: MSG Plus 2 Radio: WRHU 88.7 FM, WRCN 103.9 FM

The Least You Should Know About the Maple Leafs… Toronto is looking to halt a two game losing streak. The Leafs dropped a pair of games in a home and home with the Detroit Red Wings… The Maple Leafs have killed off 15 consecutive penalties since their October 11 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins… The Leafs are without David Booth, Cody Franson, and Brandon Kozun due to varying injuries. The Maple Leafs are 1-0-0 on Tuesday’s this season.

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Back at Nassau Coliseum the Islanders are looking to keep their early perfect home record alive and pick up that fifth win that they did not get against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.

Jaroslav Halak will be back between the pipes against the Leafs. It will be Halak’s fifth start this season. On the other side of the ice Jonathan Bernier will start in net for the Leafs. He is 0-2-1 in four games played.

A decision on if Lubomir Visnovsky and Travis Hamonic can play against the Leafs will be made later on Tuesday. “He’s feeling pretty good right now. Obviously he’s gone through one full day of practice. We’re still evaluating Hamonic and we’ll make that determination later,” Islander Head Coach Jack Capuano said when asked about the status of Visnovsky.

Capuano did add later that there is “a good chance” that Hamonic will play tonight.

The Islanders will need to step up their power play efforts. In Saturday’s loss the Islanders power play went 0-for-7 and will face a Maple Leafs team that has only allowed three goals a man down. The Isles penalty kill will also need to keep the Leafs off the board. The two power play goals given up on Saturday proved to be the difference between a win and loss and the PK has been the topic of conversation since the season started.

“It’s a subject that I don’t even want to discuss anymore,” Capuano said in response to a question about the PK. “Because I think the more that we talk about situations the worse it gets. We just have to make sure we take care of the details and get a big save when we need it.”

“Most important is don’t take any or don’t take many,” Thomas Hickey said referring to penalties. The Leafs are 5-for-22 on the man-advantage.

Capuano: Grabovski is day-to-day

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Injured Forward Mikhail Grabovski might be back sooner than people expected. Grabovski skated prior to the Islanders optional morning skate on Tuesday and Islander Head Coach Jack Capuano said he was day-to-day.USATSI_8103441_110579513_lowres

“I don’t know if it’s going to be long term,” he said referring to the injury. “He’s day-to-day. He’s here every morning getting his rehab and actually went on the ice there a little bit. We’ll know a little bit more as each day goes by.”

Capuano characterized Grabovski’s skate on Tuesday morning as a “light skate, but it’s a good sign that he’s progressing.” Grabovski left last Thursday’s game against the San Jose Sharks after being hit hard by John Scott. He originally passed a concussion test, but woke up on Friday with concussion like symptoms.

Seeing Grabovski back on the ice is a good sign — as Capuano had said — although it still could take some time for him to make it back to the line-up. As a result of the injury Colin McDoanld made his 2014-15 debut on Saturday in the Islanders 3-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Grabovski will miss the Islanders first game against the Toronto Maples. He spent five years with the Leafs before signing with the Washington Capitals during free agency in 2013.

The 30-year-old had two goals and an assist for three points to start the season with the Islanders prior to the injury.

Islanders Point Blank Podcast: Mick Vukota calls in’s Brian Compton and Christian Arnold of discuss the team’s first loss of the year to Pittsburgh. Plus, Brian catches up with former Islander Mick Vukota as the two reminisce about Nassau Coliseum and Mick’s playing days on the island.

For the show rundown, click here...

  • Isles suffer first loss to Penguins
    • 0-7 on the power play
    • Could Anders Lee replace Mikhail Grabovski?
  • Mick Vukota calls in (8:00)
  • Boychuk returns to Boston on Tuesday
  • Will new owners buy into Barclays? (21:51)
  • One thing that has caught my eye…

Practice report: Hamonic leaves early, changes to lines

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

There was some news from practice in Uniondale. Some of it was good and some of it was not so good.

To start with the good news, it sounds like Lubomir Visnovsky is very close to returning to the Islanders line up. He has been sidelined with back problems since the preseason and was placed on injured reserve on October 7. On Monday Islander Head Coach Jack Capuano told both Arthur Staple of Newsday and Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post that there was a “good chance” that Visnovsky plays on Tuesday.

If Visnovsky plays on Tuesday it will be the first time he sees game action in the 2014-15 season.

The Bad news is that Travis Hamonic left Monday’s practice with an injury. Capuano did not have an update, according to both Staple and Cyrgalis, after practice.

Hamonic left the ice and then returned, but left a second time after feeling discomfort and did not return.

The discomfort could stem from a hit he suffered during Saturday’s 3-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. He left the game in the first period, but did return in the second and played the remainder of the contest. Capuano will likely have an update on the Islander defenseman prior to Tuesday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Capuano made some adjustment to the lines during Monday’s practice:

The most notable change is the decision to switch Frans Nielsen and Brock Nelson. For the first four games Nelson was centering the second line, while Nielsen played on the third line. Capuano moved Nielsen up and Nelson down.

It is unclear if those changes will stick for Tuesday’s game.

New Isles owners could buy into Barclays Center

The incoming Islanders owners could purchase a stake in the Barclays Center, according to the Sports Business Journal (Oct. 19).

Bruce Ratner is possibly looking to sell his stake in the arena.

Sports Business Journal estimates the overall value of the arena at $750 million. Ratner’s interest, which he shares with approximately 100 other investors, would be valued at a little more than $400 million. Kaplan lists Mikhail Prokhorov or new Islanders owners, Jonathan Ledecky and Scott Malkin, as potential buyers of Ratner’s interest.

Read more on SNY’s Nets blog…

ESPN special highlights character of Travis Hamonic

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

Travis Hamonic is one of the many character guys in the Islanders locker room. That character was on display on Saturday when he quickly jumped in to defend teammate Frans Nielsen after a questionable hit by Steve Downie in the Isles 3-1 loss to Pittsburgh.Screen Shot 2014-10-19 at 11.37.46 PM

On the ice, Hamonic has become one of the best defenders in the NHL, but off the ice is a world class person because of the experiences he has gone through in his life. At the age of 10 he suffered one of the worst losses a kid can go through: the death of a parent.

The now 24-year-old Islander defenseman lost his father, Gerald, to a heart attack on the night of September 15, 2000.

His story was the subject of an ESPN special that aired on Wednesday during the network’s newsmagazine show E:60. What makes Hamonic’s story so compelling is not just his tale of having to deal with the loss of his father at such a young age and reaching his dream to play in the NHL, but what he is now doing for kids who are going through the loss of a parent themselves.

Hamonic takes time to meet with kids who have lost parents after every home game. To read more of this story, click here

Some thoughts on the Islanders first loss of the year

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

The Islanders undefeated streak was going to end at some point, unfortunately for them it came to an end on Saturday night in Pittsburgh. Missed chances on the man-advantage and two power play goals allowed sunk the Isles Thursday night in the Steel City. Despite two goals given up, Jaroslav Halak had a strong game.

For the game recap click here.

Below are some quick thoughts and notes on Saturday night’s loss: To read more of this story, click here