Shots Plentiful, But Bridgeport Can’t Make Them Count

Kevin Schultz

Across the Sound in Connecticut, the Sound Tigers lost both of their games over the weekend, just like the big club. Bridgeport scored only one goal over the course of two games and while the power play was dismal, they threw a ton of pucks at the net and came up empty thanks to some hot goaltending.

Five Thoughts:

  1. Anders Lee looks pretty good — as he should, I know — even doing a sort of Kabanov deke around a defender on Saturday night. It didn’t end up in the back of the net, though.
  2. Andrey Pedan had three points in two games last weekend but was a healthy scratch for both games this weekend. There doesn’t appear to be an explicit reason why, but if you read between the lines he may be getting his own discipline for being late. If you recall, Pedan was the other Sound Tiger late to practice the day Kabanov was late and consequently punted to Stockton. Here’s what Fornabaio had on Wednesday: “No Andrey Pedan this morning in practice; Pellerin said he was on “earlier this morning for some skill development and conditioning skate. He wasn’t feeling well after the skate. He’s going to come back for a workout. He’s going to be doing a little individual work with me this week.” For one reason or another, looks like he got singled out by the coach. On Twitter, Pedan had some frustration but without context it’s impossible to know if that’s about sitting out or because he left dinner on the stove too long. To read more of this story, click here

Kabanov’s Trip to Stockton a Message to Shape Up

Kevin Schultz

Prior to Tuesday night’s game, the Islanders announced that they had re-assigned Sound Tigers forward Kirill Kabanov to the team’s new ECHL affiliate, the Stockton Thunder.

For Kabanov, the trip across country to a lower rung of the minor leagues isn’t about getting more playing time or honing his skills for the most part. It’s a message to shape up for a player with promising talent that has to get some things in order.

Michael Fornabaio, the Sound Tigers beat writer for the CT Post, noted that Kabanov missed practice that morning for personal reasons and has been late to practice on multiple occasions:

They’re framing it as a hockey decision; get him more minutes, work on his game in both ends, and so forth, sing along, and playing on the third line, he probably could use some more time. His “personal-reasons” absence this morning suggested more, and a source said Kabanov was late for a meeting and it wasn’t the first time.

A Point Blank source seconded Fornabaio’s report that the move to Stockon was for disciplinary reasons.

Kabanov was originally a third round pick in 2010, touted to have first round talent. His draft stock slipped as he became well known for off-ice issues but the line dividing what were real issues and which ones were fabricated is still blurry.

To read more of this story, click here

Isles to Return Griffin Reinhart to WHL

The Islanders will return Griffin Reinhart to Edmonton of the WHL, according to Arthur Staple of Newsday.

“We sent Griffin down since if he’s not getting in the lineup and getting those minutes he should go back to juniors and get that experience,” Jack Capuano said.

Kevin Schultz

With Cal Clutterbuck ready to return to the roster, the Islanders had to take someone off of it to make room. Waiver exempt Matt Donovan and Brock Nelson have played well enough to keep from getting sent to Bridgeport, and the Islanders generally don’t like to try and send veterans through waivers, leaving Reinhart as the option that made the most sense.

Reinhart didn’t make the top-six defenders out of camp and might have gotten a chance to play this week had the Isles not gotten off to a hot start; Jack Capuano rarely changes the lineup after a win.

The Post spoke to Reinhart yesterday, and he doesn’t seem keen at all on the idea. Usually players will tow a line of ‘whatever coach thinks is good for me is good for me':

To read more of this story, click here

Video: The First NHL Goal for Matt Donovan

During the second period tonight, Matt Donovan fired a point shot that trickled past Coyotes netminder Mike Smith to give the Islanders a 3-1 lead. It was a power play goal and was the first of Donovan’s NHL career in his sixth NHL game. After spending last the last two years in Bridgeport, Donovan made the big club out of training camp this season.

Donovan is from Edmond, Oklahoma and is the first player born and raised in the state of Oklahoma to score an NHL goal. Former Avalanche forward Tyler Arnason was born in Oklahoma City, but raised in Winnipeg.

The Isles currently lead 5-1 late in the second period.

Sound Tigers Split Opening Weekend

Kevin Schultz

The Sound Tigers kicked off their season with back-to-back games this weekend; they hosted Wilkes-Barre on Saturday night and just finished up another home match against Norfolk this afternoon. They split the weekend, surrendering a 2-1 lead last night to lose 5-2 and winning 4-3 in a shootout today.

Ryan Strome earned three assists on the weekend. He setup Anders Lee for a pretty one-timer on Saturday night, and notched two more today on Andrey Pedan and Joey Diamond’s goals. He seems to be right at home in the American League, and Corey Pronman thinks about as much on twitter:

Strome probably should have had a goal, too. He had a nice toe-drag on the power play in this afternoon’s third period but the shot was stoned by John Gibson.

Anders Nilsson got the back-to-back work for Bridgeport, stopping a combined 52 of 60 shots that he faced for a .866 save percentage (warning: small sample size).

To read more of this story, click here

Ryan Strome Misses Cut for Big Club, Vets Should Have Short Leash

Kevin Schultz

The Islanders announced their 23-man roster and three rookies made the cut: Brock Nelson, Griffin Reinhart and Matt Donovan. The former two are first-round picks from 2010 and 2012, and the latter is an AHL All-Star from last season. While those three certainly have solid pedigrees, one big name missing from the roster is 20-year-old, 2011 first round pick Ryan Strome.

The Islanders have done a complete 180-degree turn on how they develop their prospects over the last two seasons. Gone are the days of sticking Josh Bailey in the lineup fresh as an 18-year-old and Nino Niederreiter as a 19-year-old either for cap reasons or because, especially in Bailey’s case, the roster was bare. Now, they’re being increasingly patient with their prospects and holding back players who are quite likely ready for the big show. It’s a delicate balance of not handing the players a roster spot and letting them take it for granted and risking frustrating them, a prime example being Nino Niederreiter’s reaction to not being given a tryout in January.

Strome is a blue-chip prospect who has had a great development. He’s excelled in the OHL, hasn’t suffered any injury setbacks (knock on wood) and doesn’t have any off-ice issues. There’s really no reason not to give him a chance to make the NHL club. He put up 1.77 points per game in the OHL last year and now will have to wait behind the likes of free agent signees Peter Regin and Pierre-Marc Bouchard.

The Islanders never really gave him that chance to usurp them. To read more of this story, click here