Conacher excited for chance on top line

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

Uniondale, N.Y. — When the Islanders opened training camp, the talk was about who would play along side John Tavares and Kyle Okposo.

Carolina+Hurricanes+v+New+York+Islanders+Q986WS3sItVlPopular opinon pegged Brock Nelson as the man who would fill the role. Some thought maybe Ryan Strome would get the nod, or even, maybe, Josh Bailey. Corey Conacher was not part of the discussion, but here we are a mere two days away from the Isles opener against the Carolina Hurricanes and Conacher will be the one playing alongside the Islanders two stars.

“It’s pretty special,” Conacher said about the opportunity to play on the top line. “I’ve gotten this opportunity before, in Tampa when I first started my career, and I just have to try to take advantage of this opportunity. I don’t want to get away from playing my game, but at the same time I want to make sure those guys are comfortable with me being on the line.”

The trio have been practicing together during the week and Conacher was on the top line in the Islanders 5-3 preseason victory over the Bruins last week. His play during the game, as well as his effort in practice, was enough for Islander Head Coach Jack Capuano to give him the job for the time being. To read more of this story, click here

Bettman believes Isles are on the right course

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

The Islanders are moving in the right direction, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said on WFAN Tuesday afternoon.

“I think the Islanders’ prospects are strong,” he said during an interview with Mike Francesa. “They’re putting together a good, young team and they’re movingbettman-gary-130612-thumb-620xauto-326845 to a state-of-the-art arena. Even thought it wasn’t specifically designed for hockey it will certainly improve things for them and their fans.”

The franchise is coming of its most successful offseason in quite some time. General Manager Garth Snow improved the Islanders at every position that had holes. He brought in goaltenders Jaroslav Halak and Chad Johnson to shore up goaltending. Snow added Nikolay Kulemin and Mikhail Grabovski to add more scoring, and traded for top-4 defenseman Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk.

They are also set leave the Nassau Coliseum, their home since 1972, for Brooklyn’s Barclays Center next year. In addition, the Islanders recently announced a transition in ownership over the next two years. Charles Wang will move from a majority ownership role to allow new owners Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin to take control.

The deal to sell the team to Ledecky and Malkin was approved last week, but is still to be finalized between the parties.

“Charles’ intention is to stay in as well, but as life moves I think he wants the opportunity to focus on other things,” Bettman said. “With Scott Malkin and Jon Ledecky, the franchise is getting two really first-rate, quality people, who are enthused about hockey in New York and the Islanders in particular.” To read more of this story, click here

$30,000 one-day fantasy hockey contest

To celebrate the start of the NHL season, Islanders Point Blank is offering you a great opportunity to win a share of $30,000 by picking a fantasy hockey team for Thursday night.

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Islander lines set for opening night


Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

One thing a lot of Islander fans have been watching has been the line combinations that Jack Capuano has been using during practices in the preseason.

Capuano has done a lot of mixing and matching throughout training camp, but has finally come to a decision on the lines for opening night. On Tuesday Arthur Staple broke the news to the Islanders faithful:

To read more of this story, click here

Isles announce 23-man roster; Send Lee and Pulock to Bridgeport

The Islanders announced their 23-man roster on Tuesday, which has 14 forwards, seven defenseman and two goalies.

Forwards: Josh Bailey, Eric Boulton, Casey Cizikas, Cal Clutterbuck, Cory Conacher, Mikhail Grabovski, Nioklay Kulemin, Matt Martin, Colin McDonald, Brock Nelson, Frans Nielsen, Kyle Okposo, Ryan Strome and John Tavares

Defensemen: Johnny Boychuk, Matt Donovan, Travis Hamonic, Thomas Hickey, Nick Leddy, Griffin Reinhart and Brian Strait

Goalies: Jaroslav Halak and Chad Johnson

Injured Reserve: Matt Carkner, Calvin de Haan, Michael Grabner and Lubomir Visnovsky

The team sent Anders Lee and Ryan Pulock to Bridgeport.

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

For the most part the roster is not a surprise.

Everyone knew Bailey would make the lineup, despite his woes last season and his less than stellar preseason. The team also did the right thing by keeping Strome on the roster. There was some chatter that he may not make it, but in the end it was all for naught. Reinhart also managed to impress the coaching staff enough to crack the roster.

The one surprise was that Lee didn’t make the opening night roster, yet Boulton did. Boulton is a very one-dimensional player that plays five to six minutes when he is in the lineup. It is hard to say that he out-shined Lee for a spot. With all of that being said, he will likely be a spare part for the Islanders and it is possible Jack Capuano and the coaching staff did not want Lee to just sit around as an extra piece on Long Island when he could be playing in Bridgeport.

It would be truly be shocking if Lee wasn’t called up at some point in the season.

Islanders Point Blank Podcast: Arthur Staple calls in’s Brian Compton and Christian Arnold of Islanders Point Blank discuss the acquisitions of defensemen Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy. Plus, Brian chats with Newsday’s Arthur Staple about the trades, John Tavares’ left wing, and the team’s renewed hope for the playoffs.

For the show rundown, click here...

  • Boychuk / Leddy trade reaction
  • Newsday’s Arthur Staple calls in (3:30)
  • Travis Hamonic on Boychuk & Leddy (12:20)
  • Isles season predictions (15:08)

Carkner and Visnovsky to IR

Matt Carkner (upper body) and Lubomir Visnovsky (upper body) were both placed on injured reserve, the Islanders announced.

This move brings the team down to 25 players on their roster.

The team needs to have their final roster set by 5 p.m. on Tuesday.