Isles mascot challenged to ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

When it comes to hockey news, August is a barren wasteland. So we bring you a “non-hockey” hockey story.

If you have spent anytime on the internet over the last few days you’ve seen numerous hockey stars taking part in the “Ice Bucket Challenge.” Participants dump buckets of ice water onto their heads to help raise awareness for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. NHL stars such as Craig Adams, Zdeno Chara and Sidney Crosby have all accepted the challenge… And now the Islanders have gotten in on the fun via their AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Apparently Storm was challenged by Hartford Wolf Pack mascot, Sonar. Part of the “Ice Bucket Challenge” is to also challenge friend to complete it within 24 hours. So who did Storm challenge next? Well among other AHL mascots, Storm challenged the Islanders’ mascot, Sparky the Dragon. We will see if Sparky is up for the challenge soon enough.

Can you tell it’s a slow Islanders’ news day week month?

Capuano still believes in Josh Bailey, but Isles need him to produce

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

There is no question Josh Bailey struggled in the 2013-14 season, but the Islander Head Coach Jack Capuano has not lost faith
in the 24-year-old forward. The Islander coach was asked during an interview with Islanders about Bailey’s struggles last year and how the team was planning to help him take the next step in his development.

USATSI_7833466_110579513_lowres“As a coach I believe in these players and everybody is going to go through it,” Capuano said to Andy Graziano about Bailey’s struggles. “No matter what sport it is. You’re going to go through a tough stretch… When Josh is given the confidence and playing the way that he can play he can help our hockey club. I think it’s the past. I think Josh knows the second half of the year was good for him. Obviously he didn’t get off to the start that he wanted to and be consistent in the play that he wanted to. The potential is there, so as a coaching staff it’s our our goal and our job to make sure that we maximize each player’s potential.

“And I see Josh just growing as a player and getting better. I feel he’s going to have a much better year.”

Bailey did not have the year everyone was hoping for despite starting the season strong. In the first 12 games Bailey recorded eight points (four goals, four assists) before his point production plummeted off the map. He would go a span of 44-games, from October 25th to January 23rd, without a goal. Bailey would go another 14-games without finding the back of the net after that. To read more of this story, click here

Islanders offseason moves earning praise among hockey media

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

It’s not too often that the Islanders receive praise from any national media outlet, especially when it comes to their offseason moves.

Following their 2013 playoff run, the Islanders had one of their least impressive offseasons they have had in quite some time. Believing that they had the talent already on the roster, general manager Garth Snow signed Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Peter Regin as the Islanders “major” free agency moves. As everyone knows, that did not work and Regin and Bouchard were shipped off to the Chicago Blackhawks in early February. To read more of this story, click here

No news on possible sale of team; Barroway no longer interested

The NHL confirmed that it’s up to the Islanders to announce the team’s ownership status. The Islanders say nothing has changed (Steven Marcus, August 5).

1:50 p.m.: Andrew Barroway, the Philadelphia hedge fund manager previously interested in buying the Islanders, has “ceased negotiations” to purchase the team (Marcus, August 5).

Talk of the team’s current owner Charles Wang attempting to sell his majority stake in the team have floated in the last few years, gaining steam again in February and March of this year.

Still, nothing has been announced as of yet, despite reports over the last few months.

Wang has been the majority owner since 2004. The team will be moving to Barclays Center in Brooklyn after this season, regardless of ownership status.

Photos: Cool Islanders Memorabilia

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

On Thursday we looked at a great moment in Islander history; Bob Nystrom’s game winning goal in Game 6 of the 1980 Stanley Cup Finals.10314465_10202892310802343_2932508409974613545_n

Well, one lucky Islanders Point Blank reader has a piece of history from that day. IPB read Barry won an auction last year held by Heritage Auctions for Nystrom’s game worn jersey. As was noted in IPB’s article last year, the jersey shows obvious signs of wear and tear and has the Olympic patch on the left arm commemorating the 1980 winter games held in Lake Placid. Nystrom’s goal began the Islanders run of four straight Stanley Cups, which eventually ended in 1984.

Barry also owns a handful of other collectible jerseys, including  a game worn Denis Potvin sweater, a Butch Goring jersey from the 1982 Stanley Cup Finals and a John Tonelli jersey worn during the 1984 Stanley Cup Finals against the Oilers.

To read more of this story, click here


Brock Nelson could take on top-line role

The New York Islanders have a spot open in the top line after Thomas Vanek declined a long-term contract with the team, and that spot could be Brock Nelson’s for the taking (NHL, August 1).

Nelson, a 22-year-old forward, played 72 games for the Islanders last season, ending his rookie year with 14 goals and 12 assists.

“It’s a long ways away yet, but time goes fast and you just gotta work hard,” Nelson said. “If I’m given that opportunity, [then I need] to be ready and take advantage of it. [I have to] be as ready and prepared and be ready to play at a high level because they’re great players and they make a lot of plays offensively. If I end up there, it definitely wouldn’t be a bad thing. But I’ve got to be ready and there’s a lot of guys that could fill in that spot.”

Islanders coach Jack Capuano won’t decide who will fill that vacancy in the top line until after training camp, but Nelson’s size is a definite positive.

“It’s always tough for me to take a 6-foot-3 guy like Brock Nelson out of the middle,” Capuano said. “He really established himself as one of the top young centermen in the League for me. He’s so smart, he’s got great intelligence of the game. But if we have to do that and try him on the wing on Johnny’s line to see how that goes, we’re open to do that as well.

Of course, for a rookie like Nelson, who was the No. 30 pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, he’s just looking to be in the lineup.

“That’s been a popular question, but I feel pretty confident and comfortable at both positions,” Nelson said. “I think the only thing you think a little differently is maybe [at] center you’re a little more responsible defensively, but I think that’s something that I’ve tried to incorporate into my game no matter where I’m at.”

Great Moments in Nassau Coliseum History: May 24,1980

The Islanders will begin play of their final season at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in October and to commemorate the final year, Islanders Point Blank will take a look back at some of the greatest moments in the old barn’s history. Each week we will highlight one memorable moment, whether it be hockey related or not.  So, let’s begin…


Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

It should come as no surprise as to which moment we start off with; Bobby Nystrom’s overtime goal to clinch the first of four Stanley Cups the Islanders would win from 1980 to 1983.

For any Islander fan — young or old — they know the call by CBC’s Jim Robson by heart. “Pass right on the stick of Tonelli. Coming in with Nystrom… Tonelli to Nystrom… He scores!”

The day was May 24, 1980. The Islanders and Flyers were tied at four at 7:11 in overtime of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals. John Tonelli entered the Flyers zone and feed the puck to “Mr. Islander” Bobby Nystrom, who put the puck past goaltender Peter Peeters. The crowd erupted, the players celebrated in jubilation and an NHL Dynasty was born.

In a New York Times interview in 2013, Nystrom called Game 6 his favorite memory of playing at Nassau Coliseum:

“I would have to say my favorite moment playing at the Coliseum was Game 6 against the Philadelphia Flyers. In the warm-up, the crowd was as loud as any crowd I’ve ever played in front of. I had chills running up and down my spine and almost broke out in tears while I was skating around trying to get ready for the game. The fans stood on their feet and cheered continuously for the entire warm-up. The ending of the game wasn’t that bad either.”

Nystrom’s goal remains the most famous in New York Islander history. The goal began the Islanders four year run as kings of the National Hockey League and put Long Island on the map. It also united Long Islanders as Steve Jacobson wrote in Newsday back in 1980:  To read more of this story, click here


Recap: Jack Capuano on TSN Radio

Jack Capuano was a guest on TSN Radio with Steve Simmons and Jonas Siegel on Thursday.

Here’s what he had to say:

  • On the kids at dev camp, “it’s hard to go in and evaluate the kids, we like to let them get adjusted to Long Island and to get them used to our strength and conditioning and nutrition. Just listening to you guys about some of the young picks that we had, they are skilled players and as advertised and they handled themselves quite well.”
  • On Grabo and Kulemin, “I made a couple of calls and I haven’t really spoken to them one on one. Grabo was a guy that Garth and I talked about two years ago. It’s come to fruition now and Garth had some great talks with him and Kulie is a guy who is a big body and a power guy and has scored some goals and was used on the PP in Toronto, so we always talk about the departure of Parenteau, Moulson and Vanek and how we will adjust our lineup and who will play with 91. Greg Cronin is part of our staff now and we like to bring in character guys and guys who want to come in and make themselves better everyday.”

To read more of this story, click here


Poulin, Isles avoid arbitration

Kevin Poulin and the Islanders avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, two-way deal (SportsNet, July 24). The Islanders have confirmed the deal.

Poulin will be paid $650,000 at the NHL level and $175,000 at the AHL level.

$270,000 is guaranteed.

Poulin, 24, appeared in 28 games last season with the Islanders and posted an 11-16-1 record, along with a .891 save percentage and a 3.29 goals-against-average.

From the Isles: To read more of this story, click here