Saturday, March 28, 2009

10 of 11 for Kyle

A quick note after a bruising, well-played game against Philadelphia. Including tonight's 4-3 shootout loss, Kyle has tallied at least a point in 10 of the team's last 11 games. While he claims to not be thinking about personal milestones (cough), we certainly are. With 7 games remaining he has to this point tallied 17 goals and 19 assists for a total of 36 points.

The stat meter on the right is updated after every game. As Kyle drives towards a 20 goal rookie season and a 40 point campaign, we hope you'll check it often.

Friday, March 27, 2009

We Didn't See That Comin'

The Islanders, mired in last place in the NHL with 56 points on the season, took on one of the NHL's best teams (and defending champions), the Detroit Red Wings, on Friday (3/27). A recipe for a sure Islanders loss, right?

Wrong. The Isles blanked Detroit 2-0 on their ice. Joey MacDonald practically stood on his head for 60 minutes and got some help from the goalposts, but he emerged with his first NHL shutout. The Isles made a shorthanded goal from Frans Nielsen (assisted by KO!) and a Josh Bailey goal count, and held the league's best power play unit in check. The Islanders registered 14 blocked shots to aid Joey's 42 save effort.

While the performance didn't help the "Drive for Tavares/Hedman" that everyone likes to talk about (ourselves included), it will bring a certain pride to this young Islanders team. They can pat themselves on the back for doing what no NHL team has done to the Red Wings since 2007, namely shutting them out in their own rink.

Joey Mac can also take pride in the fact that he's the first Islander goaltender since Billy Smith in 1981 to blank the Wings. Wow!

The Islanders can and should be celebrating this win for a while. Or at least until Saturday night at 7PM, when they welcome in the powerful Philadelphia Flyers.

Friday, March 20, 2009

7 Straight

Though the Islanders reverted to their early-season ways of blowing a lead on Friday night (3/20), we're pleased to report that Kyle extended his point scoring streak (with a goal and an assist). The mark now stands at seven games after a 5-4 loss to Carolina, a seesaw battle in which the Isles succumbed on two late Hurricane goals.

Whereas earlier in the season an Okposo point was looked upon as an occasional pleasant surprise, one now looks to the post-game boxscores with an eagerness to see how many points Kyle might have netted in the contest. As we've said many times before in this space, his growth as a player has coincided with the growth of the team. That is what has gotten fans who were formerly despondent excited again about this franchise.

Staying at the right wing position for a moment, we were pleased to learn earlier in the week that Tim Jackman signed a one-year contract extension. The move keeps him on the Island for a very reasonable rate of $550,000 and is understood to be a one-way contract. While Jackman is not a top scorer on the team, his leadership, work ethic, and toughness have been heralded by both people within the organization and fans.

On the subject of leadership, many are opining on whom may be the team's captain next season. We'll expound on this subject some more in the near future, but rest assured that it is our firm belief that Kyle has earned the right to wear at least the assistant captain's "A" next year. With 11 games remaining in this year's campaign, though, we'll have plenty of time to dissect this subject further in the summer.

Finally, old friends Chris Campoli and Mike Comrie welcome the Islanders to Canada for the final time this season tomorrow night (3/21), as Ottawa is the scheduled opponent. We'll see if Kyle can make it a lucky 8 against his former mates!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

KO With OT Winner in MTL

It's hard having divided loyalties. On the one hand, we're personally elated that Kyle beat Canadiens' goalie Carey Price in overtime on Thursday night (3/12) to give the Isles a 3-2 win. Okie has *again* scored in four straight games this season, which is amazing considering his age and NHL (in)experience.

However, as Howie Rose pointed out on the home telecast, there is a camp of fans that believes the Islanders need to be dropping these games, not dominating the opposition. This is especially true on nights when the other bottom-feeders are winning. These victories are meaningless in comparison to the *huge* wins we could be enjoying in the next few seasons. And mortgaging a big part of the rebuild by playing spoiler at the end of this season just doesn't seem that appealing to those in that camp, Okposo Net included.

So yes, it is absolutely great to see Kyle and the other young guys working, scratching, clawing away, and finally mobbing each other after a hard-fought victory like the one in Montreal. Yes, we'll admit Kyle's 16 goals in 55 games is superb. We like the way the future is shaping up. Just realize that good things await at or near the top of the 2009 Entry Draft. Things vital to this team's rebuild. So for the next 14 games or so, let's not get crazy, okay boys?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Kyle Nets His Fifteenth

A quick update after another good effort by the young Islanders squad. KO netted his 15th goal of the season on Tuesday (3/10) night in a 3-2 overtime loss to Toronto. He has scored in three straight games, his longest goalscoring streak since late January. Although we're reluctant to call him the "leader" of the young Islanders, it doesn't take much intuition to notice that as his play has become more consistent so has the overall play of the team. That said, we in no way wish to shortchange the efforts of Josh Bailey, Blake Comeau, Jesse Joensuu, newcomer Mike Iggulden, or anyone else contributing to the effort every night. Make no mistake, Garth Snow and Scott Gordon finally have this team moving in the right direction.

Staying with the "15" theme, the Isles have only that many games remaining in the season. Next up is Montreal on Thursday night (3/12). Until then, we hope you're enjoying watching the Islanders make positive strides with each passing game.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Kyle With a Goal as Isles Roll

You can't ever figure sports out. In a game that figured to be an uphill climb to say the least, on Saturday (3/7) the Isles made easy work of superhuman New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur. While Okposo Net was unable to attend the game due to other commitments, we are happy to report that KO had a goal in the 7-3 drubbing.

Also of note was Bridgeport leading scorer Mike Iggulden playing his first game with the Isles. The newest #36 contributed 2 assists in the win.

Brodeur wasn't around to see the Islander kids celebrate; he was pulled in favor of backup Kevin Weekes after two periods.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Traded: Guerin (Really This Time)

Word from TSN is that captain Bill Guerin has finally been traded to Pittsburgh for a conditional draft pick. The pick in this summer's draft would be a 5th rounder if the Penguins miss the playoffs, a 4th rounder if they make them, and as high as a third rounder if the Pens win a round.

There you have it. Bill Guerin fetches no higher than a 3rd round pick for the Isles.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Introducing: Jesse Joensuu

Due to the Bill Guerin trade limbo, the Islanders have called up young Finnish prospect Jesse Joensuu. The 6'4" Joensuu is expected to make his NHL debut this evening (3/2) against Colorado. This year with Bridgeport the winger has scored 17 goals in 56 games. You can view his entire career ledger here. Please note that Joensuu was drafted in the round immediately following the selection of Kyle Okposo.

However slowly, some of the Islanders' recent draft picks are making their way to the big club. We wish Joensuu the best as he joins the NHL fraternity this evening.

(Picture courtesy of

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Traded(?): Guerin

It's now Sunday (3/1) morning in New York and we know just about as little as everyone else on the matter of a potential Bill Guerin deal. Rather than rumor-mongering and speculating, we'll tell you what we do know:

- Bill Guerin warmed up but did not play against Buffalo at home on 2/28.
- He was born in Worcester, Massachusetts on November 9th, 1970.
- According to the NYI media guide, he was named the Islanders' 11th captain on July 9th, 2007.
- He's 6'2", weighs 220 pounds (100 kilograms!), and was drafted by the Devils in 1989.

Other than that, we know nothing!

On a serious note, we were told that GM Garth Snow would have an announcement regarding a pending trade this morning. It appears we'll find out about the details of said deal at the same time as everyone else. Until then, how about a little music while you wait?
(With talk of trading our captain and this story surfacing today, we went with the above selection. Please enjoy the haircuts).

P.S. - Yes, kids, there was a time when people really liked this stuff, as this song topped the Billboard charts in June of 1975...