Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What's the Worst Position for the Isles?

Apparently, the answer is up by three goals. Once again, the Isles blew a three-goal lead, this time losing to the Penguins 5-3 behind an Evgeni Malkin hat trick.

The story was the same as in past games - the Isles looked good for the first 40 minutes, and then it came apart in the third period. As we all know, this team is very much a work in progress, but it doesn't make yet another blown lead feel any better.

On the plus side, rookie center Josh Bailey had two assists, and it would seem that he will not be returning to Windsor on Saturday, instead earning his roster spot. Trent Hunter also looked solid in the first two periods and has played very well during the first quarter of the season.

No word yet on Kyle's injury, but we presume he should be back within the next couple of games.

A Happy Thanksgiving to all of our readers!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Trivia Time!

As long as Kyle's not going to be playing for a few games, we'll break out the first installment of "Kyle Trivia." It's time to prove how much you know about this blog's namesake. The question can be found on the right hand side of the page. You can find the correct answer in the comments section below after you've voted. Good luck and no cheating!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Kyle Injury Update

Okposo Net just returned from an Islanders Booster Club meeting where we were the guests of Gary Harding and his lovely wife Claire. Many thanks to them and their associates for creating a fun and festive time for all those in attendance.

Kyle was the featured speaker for the evening, and he appeared at the dais wearing a small, black wrist brace. When a youngster queried him on how the injury happened, Kyle was only willing to say that he became "tangled up with another player" at some point during the Vancouver game and injured himself.

When we had a moment after the event to chat, Kyle played down the severity of the injury, seeming confident that it is minor and believing that he won't be missing very much time.

While we're not orthopedic specialists, we're confident in saying that the injury appears to be some sort of wrist sprain rather than a fracture.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Okposo Out for One Week

According to B.D. Gallof, Kyle Okposo's injury in last night's 2-1 win over Vancouver will cause him to miss about a week. The injury is to his arm, but per new Islanders injury policy, exactly what the injury is will remain unclear. In order to find new and creative ways to not tell fans the medical status of certain players, Islanders management was recently huddled around a table with the game "Operation." No word on whether the patient's nose lit up red.

The injury occurred in the third period and prevented Kyle from taking part in the shootout, where he likely would have been one of the 3 shooters. If the Isles aren't downplaying the extent of the injury, he should miss 2-3 games at most.

As an aside, this injury policy really needs to go away. I realize that the NHL is OK with the lack of disclosure, but given the DiPietro situation earlier this year, you are doing fans a disservice by hiding information from them most of the time. At a time when NHL teams should be bending over backwards to be fan-friendly considering the economy and their reliance on gate revenue, this is one easy way to be straight with the fans.

Kyle to Appear at Booster Club Meeting

If you are interested in asking Kyle a question (or maybe even scoring an autograph), you'll want to attend the next Islanders Booster Club meeting at the Long Island Marriott. That will take place this coming Wednesday (11/19) at 7:30 PM.

We've been told that admission at the door will set you back just a measly fin ($5), so peel yourselves away from the keyboard for a few moments and come out for a fun, interactive night.

A more official-looking release can be found here, courtesy of the team website. If you need directions (it's next to the Coliseum!) please follow the links from that page as well.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Kyle Scores; Isles Win!

Thursday night saw a refreshing change for the Islanders; Kyle scored a power play goal and the Islanders won the game! While the underground lair at Okposo Net was empty all Thursday night (hence we didn't get to see the game), the recap details the goal, noting that youngster Josh Bailey assisted on the play.

Kyle had the presence of mind to retrieve the puck and toss it to Bailey (first NHL point) as a keepsake. Nice move, Kyle.

Hopefully Kyle will exhibit some more nice moves on Saturday night when the Isles again take on Ottawa, this time in New York. Okposo Net promises to be there and not miss a shift!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bailey Debuts; Isles Lose

Tuesday (11/11) marked the 90th anniversary of the end of World War I, commonly remembered these days as Veterans Day. The Islanders played a special 2 PM game versus Philadelphia to help mark the day. While retired General Colin Powell and many uniformed military personnel were on hand, once again the Islanders' guns fell silent in a 3-1 loss.

Prior to the game, Islanders fans learned that 2008 first-round draft pick Josh Bailey would make his NHL debut in it. Though he recorded no shots in 12:30 minutes of ice time, it was refreshing to see the youngster finally get into an NHL game. Unfortunately, he took two costly penalties which highlighted his inexperience at the NHL level.

Other than the Bailey debut, there wasn't too much to excite the midday holiday crowd. While the Islanders outshout the Flyers 36-32 (with Bill Guerin leading the way with 7 SOG), there was no third period lead to blow this time around. Daniel Briere and Mike Richards netted goals against Isles goaltender Joey MacDonald, and even though Trent Hunter put a puck in for the Isles with 3:40 left to play, that was as close as they would get. A Philadelphia empty netter sealed the deal and sent the fans on their way to the parking lots.

The power play, a source of concern with the Islanders, went 0-for-8 in the game.

Kyle Okposo played on a line with Richard Park and Andy Hilbert, recording 2 shots on goal. Kyle has just a solitary goal so far in 15 games, and if this keeps up we may have to do the unthinkable and de-banner him at the top of this page. Don't let it come to that, Kyle!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

After One Furlong...

The Isles played their 10th game of the 2008-2009 season on Saturday night, which means they've now completed about 1/8 of the regular season schedule (for those of you who didn't spend your youth at horse racing tracks, a furlong is 1/8 of a mile).

After dropping a three (3) goal lead in the third period to Montreal in said 10th game for a 5-4 loss, the Isles also dropped into their worst start in franchise history, at 2-7-1.

While 10 games is a small sample size, we've seen a lot of things this season that are trending very poorly for the remaining 7/8 of the season. While most of you are quite familiar with everything negative that has swirled around this club recently, we'll try to quickly highlight a few of the positives we've noticed so far.

First off, the play of Mark Streit has been as good as advertised. With 9 points (4 goals) and around 26 minutes of ice time per night, the Swiss d-man has held up his end of the bargain. Not too long ago we were ridiculed on the TSN forums for defending this signing as being affordable and sensible; so far we feel vindicated. Streit has brought a booming shot and a power play presence to the team not seen since the Aucoin/Hamrlik days. Worries about Streit's defensive inadequacies have been mostly quieted as well.

Secondly, the play of the veterans. We're thinking specifically of Bill Guerin and Doug Weight here, but you can throw Trent Hunter into the grouping as well. While the first two are 37 years old (Guerin will be 38 next week) and will be free agents next year, neither has mailed it in despite the team's dreadful start. Sitting atop the offensive leader boards, both Weight and the captain have led the way for the "kids" as designed by GM Garth Snow. Just because their leadership and scoring knowledge has not yet "trickled down" to the younger prospects is not their fault. As an added bonus, Mr. Guerin is always good for a post-game quote or two.

As for Hunter, with 7 points he has gotten off to a nice start, numbers reminiscent of his 2003-2004 campaign. If he can keep or accelerate this pace, his recent 5 year/$10 million deal will look brilliant.

Next, kudos to coach Scott Gordon for having the mettle to play Kyle Okposo on the top line recently. While Kyle's production has been somewhat lacking, one cannot question the aggressiveness and desire he brings to every shift. He has been physical and has had a multitude of scoring chances this season. He will just need repetition and the increased comfort level of more NHL experience before those chances are converted into points for himself and his teammates. But we applaud Gordon for seeing what we have seen from Kyle and rewarding him for it.

Lastly, the crowds have not abandoned this team (yet). This one comes with a few caveats, though. While the Isles have averaged over 13,500 fans per game so far that number still puts them dead last in league attendance. Also, as a few people have mentioned in various other places, a significant share of those in the building on some nights have come to root for the opposition (Rangers, Montreal, etc.). While we don't mind taking their money, let's also keep in mind that even if the Islanders sold out all 41 home dates in a season it would still only place them at 20th in league attendance (due to the Coliseum's 16,234 seating capacity). However, at times last season we recall paid attendances of 9,000 or fewer, so we'll see if the Isles can stave off that situation again. So far, so good.

There's also one other positive we're fond of mentioning around here, even if it runs counter to our principles of being Islanders fans. There is a pretty nice reward potentially waiting for us at the end of the season if things keep up. His name is John Tavares.

See you all (hopefully) at Monday's game versus Columbus!

(P.S. - Nice move on the "new" third jerseys. We haven't encountered a fan yet who doesn't like them).