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

Stats: 2014-15 point projections

The Hockey News has released their Fantasy “Pool Guide” for the 2014-15 with projections for the Islanders forwards:

  • John Tavares: 88 points (33 goals, 55 assists)
  • Kyle Okposo: 71 points (28 goals, 43 assists)
  • Ryan Strome: 52 points (20 goals, 32 assists)
  • Frans Nielsen: 46 points (17 goals, 29 assists)
  • Mikhail Grabovski: 45 points (20 goals, 25 assists)
  • Michael Dal Colle: 45 points (17 goals, 28 assists)
  • Josh Bailey: 43 points (10 goals, 33 assists)
  • Michael Grabner: 38 points (20 goals, 18 assists)
  • Brock Nelson: 37 points (20 goals, 17 assists)
  • Anders Lee: 30 points
  • Nikolai Kulemin: 28 points
  • Cory Conacher: 24 points
  • Cal Clutterbuck: 23 points
  • Casey Cizikas: 21 points
  • Colin McDonald: 18 points
  • Matt Martin: 16 points

Isles omitted from NBC and NBCSN broadcast coverage in 2014-15

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

6:08 p.m.: NBC Sports released a statement to Islanders Point Blank and regarding the lack of Islanders games being broadcasted nationally:

“The schedule reflects that the Islanders did not make the playoffs last year. But the schedule is subject to change and allows for teams to play their way onto it later in the year.”

So, it is still unfortunate the Islanders do not have a game nationally televised, but their reasoning makes sense. From a business standpoint and a logical standpoint, NBC Sports makes sense. The Isles aren’t the biggest draw on TV and did not make the playoffs, so they were the odd man out. There is also a chance for them to make it on if things change, and if they make the playoffs then they’ll have to be on NBC Sports.

Original Post: If you were looking to watch an Islander game on NBCSN or NBC network during the 2014-15 NHL season, don’t hold your breath.

NBC Sports

The NHL’s broadcast partner released its schedule for the upcoming season with plans to air 103 regular season games. None of which will feature the Islanders. In recent memory, it is the first time the Islander have not been on the NBCSN schedule.

The Islanders are coming off a tough season that saw them go 34-37-11 and missed the playoffs, after making it in 2013. Still, it’s hard to fully understand why the Islanders will not make at least one appearance, especially with this being the franchises final year at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. A trip at least once by the network would have been nice to see just for the old barn on Hempstead Turnpike to get at least a little send off nationally.

Beside the Islanders — though it is still early — look to be a team to be reckoned with in the Metropolitan and could be making a push for the playoffs late in the season. NBC or NBCSN could possibly flex the game if there is some intrigue to a late season contest, but that is unclear.

New York’s other two hockey will be making appearances on NBC and NBCSN… The Devils will have two home games broadcasted on NBCSN and the Rangers will make 10 appearances on NBCSN and three games will be broadcasted on NBC.

To read more of this story, click here

Former Islander Thomas Vanek connected to gambling investigation

Former Islander forward Thomas Vanek is reportedly connected to a federal gambling investigation in Rochester as a witness (Post, July 22).

An NBC affiliate reported Monday that Vanek was seen walking out of a Rochester federal court after being connected to an investigation with the Marina Restaurant and Bar. The investigation is centered on 23 counts of gambling against three men, including the restaurants co-owners.

Vanek’s agent, Steve Bartlett remains steadfast that the 30-year-old Minnesota Wild forward is nothing more than a witness.

Bartlett relayed a statement from Vanek and his attorney:

“Representatives of the U.S. Federal Government have asked for my cooperation in an investigation. I am not the subject of any investigation or prosecution. I will fully cooperate with the U.S. Federal authorities in their investigation or in any proceedings arising out of it.”


Pulock looking for a challenge

Ryan Pulock is looking for his next challenge — hopefully as a member of the New York Islanders (, July 18).

The 19-year-old defenseman finished last season as the all-time leading goal-scorer among defensemen for the Brandon Wheat Kings in the WHL, scoring 64 goals and tallying 146 assists in 261 games over four seasons.

Pulock, who played three games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers after the WHL season ended in 2014, could start the 2014-15 season with Bridgeport as well. One thing is for sure, he’ll be facing stiff competition at the NHL training camp in September.

“There’s a lot of good other [defensemen],” Pulock said at Islanders development camp last week. “For me, I just want to come in and have a good camp and push for a spot and just do all I can to be on the team and see what happens from there.”

Though he has plenty of work left to do, Pulock’s improvements last season with the Wheat Kings caught the eye of Eric Cairns, director of player development.

“I think he’s doing a really good job developing his overall game,” said Eric Cairns. “He’s obviously an offensive defenseman with a very heavy shot. He’s put a lot of time and focus into his play away from the puck defensively. His habits have improved and it’s just been a year. He’s starting to push his pace a little bit harder, a little bit faster. He is a good skater; he’s a very powerful skater. Just in one year I’ve seen a lot of development in his game.”

While Pulock is looking to take the next big step in his career, ultimately he is just focused on moving forward any way he can as a player.

“This summer I’m trying to get bigger and stronger and faster,” Pulock said. “My defensive game needs some work. I think it’s improved over the years but it’s an area for me that I can continue working on.”


Isles sign Cizikas and de Haan to multi-year deals

The Islanders signed Casey Cizikas to a two-year deal and Calvin de Haan to a three-year deal, the team announced.

Cizikas’ deal is worth $2 million over two years, while de Haan’s is worth $5.9 million over three (Staple, July 15).

de Haan, 23, scored 16 points (three goals, 13 assists) in 51 games this past season as a rookie with the Islanders. The Carp, ON, native’s 21:01 average time on ice placed fourth on the team and third amongst Islanders defensemen. His minutes continually progressed as he took on an increased role on the penalty kill and was matched against opponents’ top offensive units.

For more de Haan info, click here...

A 6’1, 187-pound defenseman, de Haan began the 2013-14 season with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League. He scored three points (one goal, two assists) in 17 games before earning a callup to the Islanders on November 28. In 76 career AHL games, de Haan has 21 points (three goals, 18 assists).

The Islanders selected de Haan in the first round, 12th overall, of the 2009 NHL Draft. He played three seasons of junior hockey with the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League, serving as captain in his third year. de Haan was named to the 2008-09 OHL First All-Rookie team.

On the international stage, de Haan represented Team Canada at the 2010 and 2011 World Junior Championships, winning silver medals at both events.

Cizikas, 23, scored 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) in 80 games this past season with the Islanders. The Toronto, ON, native established career highs in assists, points and games played during his second full season with the club and third professional campaign.

For more Cizikas info, click here...

In 140 career NHL games, the 5’11, 189-pound center has 35 points (12 goals, 13 assists). He appeared in six games with the Islanders during the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Pittsburgh Penguins, scoring four points (two goals, two assists), which included his game-clinching goal in Game 4.

In 83 American Hockey League games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Cizikas has 66 points (25 goals, 41 assists). He played in the 2012 AHL All-Star game as a rookie.

The Islanders selected Cizikas in the fourth round (92nd overall) of the 2009 NHL Draft. He played four seasons of junior hockey with the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors of the Ontario Hockey League, was named to the 2007-08 OHL All-Rookie Team and played in the 2010 OHL All-Star Game.

On the international stage, Cizikas represented Team Canada at the 2011 World Junior Championships, winning silver. He won gold with Team Canada-Ontario at the 2008 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge