Grantland has assembled their NHL Playoffs All-Bust team, a collection of players that didn’t live up to expectations in the second season.
The Islanders representative? Kyle Okposo.
“After putting up 51 points in just 60 games during the regular season, Okposo was limited to just three in the Islanders’ first-round loss to the Capitals,” writes Sean McIndoe. “He still had an impact, knocking Eric Fehr out of the series with a big hit, and he was still recovering from the eye injury that threatened his season, so it’s hard to really call him a bust. But our list needed an Islander, so Okposo’s our guy.”
Okposo had two goals and an assist, all of which came in the first three games of the series. He was held off the scoring sheet in the final four games.
If you watched this series start to finish, you know Okposo doesn’t deserve to be on this list. In fairness to McIndoe, he basically qualifies his selection of Kyle by saying as much. Okposo was quite effective in the Isles’ seven-game loss to the Caps. His best effort was probably his six shot performance in the Game Four overtime loss, but Braden Holtby just stood on his head to give Washington that pivotal victory.
I was really encouraged with what Okposo gave the Islanders in the playoffs. There was no guarantee he’d be the player he was when he had the retina surgery, and his play in the postseason has quelled those fears. Now that he has a full offseason to recover and a training camp to get re-conditioned, I’d expect another big year for Okposo in 2015-16.
First it was seats from Nassau Coliseum, now it’s a glove from the Islanders’ bench (Newsday, May 18).
Nassau County Police are looking for a man they believe stole a players’ glove off the Isles’ bench following their 3-1 win over the Washington Capitals in Game 6, which took place on April 25. Authorities say the fan was a white male with a beard and was wearing an Islanders hat, blue hooded sweatshirt, and blue shirt (Nassau County Police, May 18).
It is unclear which Islanders’ player the glove belonged to. The game was the final professional hockey game that took place in the history of the Nassau Coliseum.
Police are encouraging anyone with information on the suspect to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS.
Forwards Anders Lee and Brock Nelson will return home from their trip to IIHF World Championships with Bronze Medals after Team USA beat the Czech Republic 3-0. It is the second time in three years that the United States has medalled in the tournament.
Both Lee and Nelson had successful tournaments with the United States. Nelson led Team USA in scoring with 10 points (six goals, four assists) in 10 games. The Minnesota native was also tied four fourth amongst all players in the tournament in goals and 12th in scoring. Lee finished with five points (one goal, four assist) in 10 appearances.
“It’s a credit to my line mates and my team. Everybody worked hard and everybody bought in,” Brock Nelson said about his performance.
The two Islanders’ forwards had breakout seasons in 2014-15. However, in the playoffs Lee and Nelson failed to make the impact that either was hoping for. Lee was also benched for Game 6 and Game 7 against the Washington Capitals, which is part of why he decided to play in the World Championships for the United States.
Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:
This is the ending that Nelson and Lee wanted to have for their season. The duo wanted to end things on a positive and not head into the offseason with the sour taste of the playoffs still lingering.
Both players had career years in 2014-15 and the will surely get a boost from playing so well during the World Championships. Some people look down at the tournament because it is made up NHLers who’s teams have failed to make the playoffs, but the competition this year was not easy. Nelson and Lee performed very well during the tournament and played a hand in the surprising success the United States had.
The World Championships isn’t the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but Nelson and Lee picked up more valuable experience that will help them continue to develop. A bronze medal wasn’t their goal at the beginning of the year, but it is certainly a better ending than the 2-1 Game 7 defeat in Washington.
Updated: May 19, 11:25 a.m.
Ex-Islanders owner John Spano Jr. pleaded guilty on Tuesday for allegedly trying to defraud Image First Healthcare Laundry Specialists, an Ohio-based company that provides laundry services to health care facilities (May 17).
Spano allegedly collected $67,000 in sales commissions on fake contracts and nonexistent sales, according to the report.
He faced 44 counts of forgery and one count of theft. He faces up to 16 years in prison.
Spano, 50, conned his way to buy the Islanders in 1996. The FBI investigated him after he made excuses for not making a $5 million down payment that would lead to the formal transfer of ownership.
He pleaded guilty in federal court to theft and forgery charges. He was sentenced to nearly six years in prison and ordered to pay $11.9 million in restitution to the Islanders, banks and victims of his other schemes.
In October 2013, ESPN 30 for 30 films produced “Big Shot,” which profiled Spano’s failed purchase. (Oct. 22, 2013, 10:30 a.m.)
The Islanders are selling the ‘ice’ that was used during the team’s final game at Nassau Coliseum on April 25 (Derespina, May 14).
The tubes of melted ice, which come with a certificate of authenticity, can be purchased for $20 each plus shipping and handling.
The Islanders have not yet reached out to the representatives for G Michael Neuvirth about bringing him back (NBC Sports, May 14).
According to his agent, Neuvirth is interested in becoming a starting goalie elsewhere, and is ready to test free agency.
After being acquired by the Isles, Neuvirth played in five games in the regular season, going 1-3-1 with a 2.94 GAA. Neuvirth then appeared in one game against the Capitals in the Playoffs in relief of Jaroslav Halak.
The Isles acquired Neuvirth from the Sabres in early-March in exchange for goalie Chad Johnson and a conditional draft pick in 2016.
If I had to guess, the Islanders will try to retain Neuvirth. It’s just a matter of which teams will try to entice him with a starting role. Neuvirth was certainly more than serviceable in his stint as a starter for the Sabres (2.28 GAA and a .938 save percentage in nine starts in February), so a team looking to bring in someone to compete with their incumbent goaltender might promise more playing time.
As long as Jaro Halak stays healthy, Neuvirth is nothing more than a back up option, but I do think he would get more work than Chad Johnson did early last season. Johnson was pretty awful for the Isles, and it forced Jack Capuano to lean on Halak more than he wanted to in the early stages of the fall. If Garth Snow can find a way to retain Neuvirth, he’ll probably be a much more stable option than Johnson proved to be.
Kyle Okposo has one year left on his contract, and that makes locking up the team’s top right winger long-term a top priority.
According to David Pagnotta, chatter should pick up soon in regards to the Islanders offering Okposo a contract extension (Pagnotta, May 13)
Okposo, 27, signed a five year, $14 million deal back in May 2011.
In 60 games this season, Okposo scored 18 goals and had 33 assists for 51 points, and added two goals and an assist in the playoffs. He missed 22 games after having surgery to repair a detached retina.
As we know, Garth Snow is very adept at keeping his dealings close to the vest, but it makes all the sense in the world that the Islanders would start to go to work on keeping Okposo here for the long haul. He has great chemistry with John Tavares, and — after some worries that he may not be the same player after his eye surgery — Kyle finally got his legs under him toward the end of the regular season and had a very good series against the Caps.
The going rate for Okposo may be tough to gauge, but you would have to think if he hit the open market next season he’d be highly sought after. It will be interesting to see how these negotiations play out and if Okposo does indeed have a new deal when the Isles open camp in the fall.