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

Mikhail Grabovski out after suffering concussion

Islanders forward Mikhail Grabovski is out indefinitely after suffering a concussion.

He had originally passed a concussion test after leaving Thursday night’s game against the San Jose Sharks in the first period. But Grabovski woke up on Friday and was dealing with concussion like symptoms, according to General Manager Garth Snow.

A return date is unknown at this time. Grabovski will not be reevaluated until Monday at the earliest and will require a doctors clearance before returning to the ice.

Recap: Penguins 3, Islanders 1

Result:  The Penguins beat the Islanders 3-1 in Pittsburgh on Saturday night.

Need to know: Pittsburgh rallied from a 1-0 deficit with a pair of power play goals in the second period with Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist scoring. Malkin added a second goal in the third period for a 3-1 lead. Islanders’ Thomas Hickey scored in the opening period for the Islanders. Jaroslav Halak had 35 saves for the Islanders.

Links: Box | Recap

Next up: The Islanders host Toronto on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Game Day (5): Islanders at Penguins

Consol Energy Center — Pittsburgh, PA
TV: MSG Plus Radio: WRHU 88.7 FM, WRCN 103.9 FM

The Least You Should Know About the Penguins… Pittsburgh is coming off a 3-2 loss to the Dallas Stars on Thursday. The Penguins blew a two goal lead in the final forty minutes… The Penguins have the top rated power play in the NHL through four games. They are 6-for-13 (46.2 percent) to start the year… The Penguins top line of Chris Kunitz, Sidney Crosby and Patric Hornqvist have accounted for 61.5 percent of the team’s goals to start the year.

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

It’s a drive for five…. Wins.

The Islanders look to do something they have not done in franchise history on Saturday; win five straight games to start the year. Prior to Thursday’s win over the San Jose Sharks, only two previous Islander squads had won the first four games of the season. The Isles are the only team that is 4-0-0 entering Saturday night’s meeting with the Penguins.

Jack Capuano will have some slight changes in his line up with Mikhail Grabovski out indefinitely with an upper body injury. Nikolay Kulemin will move to the second line wing whee Grabovski was and Cal Clutterbuck moves to Kulemin’s spot on the third line. Colin McDonald will make his season debut and play on the fourth line. Jaroslav Halak will be in net for the Islanders.

The defensive pairs will remain the same from the previous game.

Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis could play against the Islanders. He left Thursday’s game against the Dallas Stars on stretcher after getting hit up high with a shot. A decision on his status will be made saturday afternoon.

The Islanders are 3-3-0 in their last six visits to Consol Energy Center. Below are the lines for tonight, courtesy of Arthur Staple:

Corey Conacher-John Tavares-Kyle Okposo
Nikolay Kulemin-Brock Nelson-Ryan Strome
Josh Bailey-Frans Nielsen-Cal Clutterbuck
Matt Martin-Casey Cizikas-Colin McDonald

Nick Leddy-Johnny Boychuk
Thomas Hickey-Travis Hamonic
Calvin de Haan-Brian Strait