Who should the Isles want in the first round?

Brian Erni

There are only 11 games remaining in the regular season, and Islanders fans have the playoffs on their mind. First and foremost, let’s acknowledge how great that feels. But getting down to brass tax, it seems conversations have turned to who New York’s most favorable match up is in the first round.

Let’s get this out of the way: After I saw the 83-win 2006 St. Louis Cardinals beat the Mets in the NLCS after I spent the whole month of September hoping they would lock up the NL Central over the Houston Astros, I don’t root for any particular match up anymore. There’s no point. No matter the sport, it seems that any club you think you want your team to play always turns it up a notch, as the Sports Gods laugh at a team’s best laid plans. That said, it’s tempting to think that the Isles’ last playoff opponent may be the best first round get.


The Penguins are banged up. Both Evegeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist are out with minor injuries that will keep them sidelined for a week. But if they linger at all, it will push them right up against the start of the postseason. Marc-Andre Fleury surrendered 14 goals in a span of three games the last time these teams crossed paths in the playoffs, and — truth be told — they’ve been a pretty easy out since winning the Stanley Cup in 2008-09, evaporating in the first or second round in all five years except for one. But, they’re still the Penguins, with two of the world’s best players on their roster and gobs of playoff experience.

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The realities of the Islanders’ current slump

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at New York Islanders

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

There is some panic in Islanders land. The Isles have dropped three straight games and have fallen five points behind the New York Rangers. The Pittsburgh Penguins have also moved within two points of the Islanders for second.

A quick glance at their present situation might make things seem like it is time to panic, but in reality things are no where near as bad as they would seem. Below we will take a look at what is actually going on with the Islanders:

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GEICO SportsNite: Islanders looking to rebound

Islanders head coach Jack Capuano and forward Anders Lee discuss the team’s need to create more offense to break out of a three-game slump.

NHL: Edmonton Oilers at New York Islanders

Halak not on trip to Chicago, Poulin called up

Jaroslav Halak has not made the trip to Chicago with the Islanders, who have called up Kevin Poulin from Bridgeport (Staple, March 16).

According to reporter Arthur Staple, the injury to Halak is not considered serious.

The Islanders take on the Blackhawks on Tuesday night in Chicago at 8:30.

Halak, who has played 50 games so far this season, allowed two goals on Friday during a loss to Ottawa.

Bailey’s vision on the ice being noticed by teammates

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

Josh Bailey isn’t the flashiest player on the ice and his name doesn’t end up on the score sheet every night, but he has become a big contributor to the Islanders success over the course of the season.

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at New York IslandersBailey is set to surpass the numbers he put up last season, already nearly doubling his total goals (scoring eight last year and 15 this year) and he is one point shy of tying his total points from last season (38). Bailey’s line mates have taken notice to the elevation in his game.

“He’s one of the most skilled players I’ve ever played with,” Kyle Okposo said. “This is probably the best I’ve seen him play. Overall this year he has been awesome. He’s been doing it all. I think he really worked on his game. He’s really put in that conscious effort to be hard and be good every night… I think he’s just going to keep getting better.”

Although Bailey is not scoring goals every single night, the 25-year-old’s play making ability has been catching the eye of his teammates. It something that Okposo, John Tavares, and Anders Lee all noted when asked about him. It is something that often gets overlooked when fans or media are talking about a players performance.

Bailey’s vision on ice has led to scoring chances and has helped the Isles top line regain its’ offensive jump.  To read more of this story, click here

Islanders Point Blank Podcast: CM Punk calls in

Boychuk signs for seven! Brian Compton and Christian Arnold discuss the Johnny Boychuk signing and the team’s recent struggles on the ice. Plus, Brian chats with former wrestler and huge Blackhawks fan CM Punk leading up to the Isles-Hawks game on Tuesday night.

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SI: Snow on track to be GM of the Year?

Will Garth Snow be named the league’s top executive for 2014-15?

In the wake of the Johnny Boychuk extension, SI’s Allan Muir points towards Snow’s October acquisitions of his top pairing defensemen as Exhibit A in the case for Snow as the NHL’s General Manager of the Year.

“By locking in Boychuk and fellow summer heist Nick Leddy, Snow now has his top-four defensemen under contract for at least the next three years — Travis Hamonic and Calvin de Haan are both signed through 2017-18 — with the all of them counting $15.4 million collectively toward the cap. Compare that to what a team like the Flyers are paying and it’s easy to see what a bargain that is.”

Brian Erni

For as much grief as Garth took for his activity — or lack thereof — prior to the 2013-14 season, this year’s moves deserve the highest praise. Snow has not only turned the NHL club into a serious Cup contender, but there is plenty of youth on the horizon that can make this team viable for years to come. That’s important in a cap league, where your window of contention has be extended by slotting up-and-coming talent into spots previously by higher priced veterans.

The majority of his tenure as GM, Snow has operated with no room for error, being hindered by financial limitations or because some players just didn’t want to come to this franchise. But this season, with his core group developing and the long rebuild finally paying off, he’s been able to operate from a position of strength, whether it has been dealing from a surplus of prospects or shelling out big bucks to retain his own talent. It’s hard to argue with the results.