Tuesday, April 28, 2009

We're Moving Up!

Just like George and Weezie, the Islanders are moving on up. In the upcoming NHL entry draft, that is.

With Anaheim's elimination of San Jose on Monday (4/27) night (early Tuesday morning in New York), the Isles have snagged the 26th selection in the opening round. The Isles had already controlled San Jose's pick regardless of the Sharks' fate, but we now know that "Team Teal" won't be making the Conference or Stanley Cup Finals, events that could have altered the slotting. As an update to this post, the Isles now control a plethora of early and hopefully franchise-altering selections:

(Round 1) 1st Overall
(Round 1) 26th Overall (Formerly belonged to San Jose)
(Round 2) 31st Overall
(Round 2) 37th Overall (Formerly belonged to Toronto)
(Round 2) ~60th Overall (Final slot to be determined by Boston's playoff finish)
(Round 3) 62nd Overall
(Round 3) ~88th Overall (Final slot to be determined by Pittsburgh's playoff finish)
(Round 4) 92nd Overall
(Round 5) 121st Overall
(Round 6) 151st Overall
(Round 7) 181st Overall

Wow. 7 picks in the first 3 rounds, including the converted Bill Guerin-to-Pittsburgh pick.

Getting back to Anaheim for a moment (and a deserved 'thank you' to them), the NHL Western Conference Semifinals opponents are as follows:

Anaheim vs. Detroit
Chicago vs. Vancouver

As nearly everyone is the New York area knows, the Eastern Conference side is still up in the air.

Lastly, though June 26th is still a long way off for Islanders fans, opinions regarding the #1 overall selection have been flying all over the Internet. Former Blog Box member Jon Jordan shares an opinion similar to ours. You can read it in his newest piece here, and as always, Let's Go Islanders!

Monday, April 27, 2009

No Points for Kyle as US Rolls

A quick update now, as Kyle was held pointless in today's win over Austria. Next up for the United States is Sweden on Wednesday.

Through two games of the World Championship Kyle has recorded 4 shots on goal and one assist.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Kyle Active as Americans Win

The IIHF World Championships are underway in Switzerland, and in his first tournament game Kyle Okposo recorded an assist against Latvia. The US won the game 4-2, with KO having played nearly 16 minutes and registering two shots on goal. The assist, which came on fellow Shattuck-Saint Mary's alum Jack Johnson's goal, tied the game at one goal apiece.

After falling behind again later the game, the US rallied and went ahead for good on Johnson's second goal of the day. While we were unable to watch the game due to time zone differences, it certainly appears that Kyle's line played a significant role in the win.

The US will take on their next challenge in the form of Austria on Monday (4/27) morning (Eastern Daylight Time). We hope to have a more complete game recap for that one, but at the very least we will provide a postgame report on Kyle's performance when it goes final.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Kyle Nets One as Sound Tigers Drop Two

Assigned to Bridgeport to help with their playoff effort, Kyle made his 2008-2009 season debut in the AHL on Friday (4/17) night. While he didn't score in that game, he was able to net a goal during Saturday's (4/18) tilt. Unfortunately, even with Kyle's help the Sound Tigers dropped both games. Adding to the pain (literally and figuratively) was news that Mike Iggulden was injured during Game 2.

While Bridgeport tries to fight back against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Okposo will be off to Switzerland to join the United States team at the IIHF World Championships. Check this page often for Kyle's overseas stats and any other Kyle-related news that may emerge from the tournament.

As a supplement to our coverage, please check out the always excellent blog penned by Greg Logan for some quotes from Kyle heading into the tourney.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Today, April 16th, 2009, is Kyle's 21st birthday!

We hope you'll join us in wishing him the happiest of birthdays and many more. Apparently there won't be too much time for partying, though, as Greg Logan reports that 'Okie' will be off to Switzerland after his two games with Bridgeport.

It's quite an honor to play in the IIHF World Championships and we hope he does his country and franchise proud.

There are just no off days for this guy, huh?

Once again, Kyle, happy 21st from your friends at Okposo Net!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Kyle News and Draft Thoughts

While we're sobering up from our post-draft lottery partying, it's a good time to mention that Kyle's fans will still have some additional chances to see him on the ice this season.

The Islanders announced this week that Okposo will join the Bridgeport Sound Tigers for their upcoming playoff series. Bridgeport will be playing two games at Nassau Coliseum this weekend (Friday and Saturday), so it's an affordable and local way to see Kyle in action. Please proceed to the Sound Tigers homepage for tickets or visit the Nassau Coliseum box office during business hours.

Unfortunately Okposo Net can't be there to cover the games, but we'll try our best to provide post game wrap-ups of Kyle's performances.

As for the move itself, we hate to play the spoiler, but we're a bit unsure of what it accomplishes. While it will increase the gate and profile of the Isles' top farm team (and likely improve the team's chances), there could be some drawbacks. Of course there's always a minor risk of injury, and it seems a bit suspect sending arguably your best offensive NHLer down to the minors after his season is complete. While Kyle may appreciate the ice time and competition, we don't think many other teams in the area would make this kind of move. For example, could you see David Wright being sent to Buffalo in September to help the Mets' farm team with a playoff run? Not likely.

Again, it's not a terrible move, but if something went wrong the Islanders would never hear the end of it.

On to the draft lottery, which, as you may know, the Islanders won! While there are some people arguing for the Isles to choose defenseman Victor Hedman, the clear pick is John Tavares.

One might say that defense wins champions, and that's true, but when your offense runs second-to-last in the league in goals scored for consecutive years, you need scoring forwards. Tavares is that, plain and simple. He is the finisher that Kyle needs to elevate his game. And for good measure, when healthy, we don't feel the team's defense is that dreadful anyway. The blueline needs some help, but the offense was non-existent this past season. In our minds, there is no debate.

And now, to brighten your mood, we present the full 2009 NHL Entry draft selections that the Islanders currently hold. There should be PLENTY of chances to upgrade the team in many areas. Some selections have not yet been determined, but we are projecting the order with the most likely scenarios taken into account (please see the notes where applicable). Without further ado, and to the best of our knowledge, here they are:

(Round 1) 1st Overall
(Round 1) ~30th Overall (Final slot to be determined by San Jose's playoff finish)
(Round 2) 31st Overall
(Round 2) 37th Overall (Formerly belonged to Toronto)
(Round 2) ~60th Overall (Final slot to be determined by Boston's playoff finish)
(Round 3) 62nd Overall
(Round 4) 92nd Overall
(Round 4) Conditional (Improves to 3rd round if Pittsburgh defeats Philadelphia in playoffs)
(Round 5) 121st Overall
(Round 6) 151st Overall
(Round 7) 181st Overall

This order, of course, assumes the Islanders do not participate in any trades. Seeing the above, don't you think a team can improve itself fairly rapidly?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

We're #1!

The Islanders have WON the #1 draft pick! The presumptive pick is John Tavares. Garth, no trading down, please!

More Okposo news later.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Kyle Returns For Final Two

Healed from his groin injury, Kyle Okposo skated in the 3-2 loss to Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon (4/11). While he didn't record any points, he was actively involved in several scoring opportunities and registered three shots on goal.

With 18 goals and only Sunday's content remaining in the regular season, it will take a great game from Kyle to reach the 20 goal plateau. Additionally, should he record two points of any variety he will attain the 40 point milestone, which would be a nice accomplishment for the rookie winger.

Of note, the Islanders have never finished a season without a player recording 20 goals.

We wish him the best of luck on Sunday and congratulate him on an outstanding season, personally speaking, this year.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

We're Number 30!!!

The Islanders went into Pittsburgh on Thursday (4/9) night knowing they were only a regulation loss away from clinching last place in the NHL. And guess what, folks, THEY DID IT! With a 6-1 drubbing in The Igloo (a.k.a. Mellon Arena) the Isles have secured themselves no worse than the #2 pick in 2009 Entry Draft!

In most seasons and cities this situation might be greeted with varying degrees of disappointment, hand-wringing, and rumors of front office and/or coaching changes. Not so for the 2008-2009 New York Islanders, whose season, it seems, has been leading up to this very moment for months. Instead of despair and gloom in Islanderland, there is a festive mood and a cautious optimism about. Why? Simply...


We don't need to tell you about the potential skill that either player would bring to the franchise. That subject has been written about to death. We will mention that adding to this excitement is the fact that GM Garth Snow told the fan base he had a plan, explained the plan (intending to build mainly through the draft), and has stuck to it. Just this week Garth added young talent to the organization, some of whom will hopefully blossom into superb NHL talent. Let's also remember the generous haul of draft picks, of which many are early rounders, that Snow is sitting on. For Islanders fans you can't imagine how refreshing these thoughts are.

As with any draft in any sport, of course things can go awry. Scouts can be wrong. Young players can suffer injuries or even worse, as we tragically witnessed today in baseball. However, for the first time in a LONG time it feels as if things will be okay for the Islanders.

The draft order will be determined on Tuesday (4/14) night at 8 PM. Personally, we want John Tavares (the Isles' offense is more anemic than their defense). If it's a #2 and Hedman though, that's fine. Everything is going to work out from this point forward. And what better place could have been chosen to set these events in motion than the building where this fan last felt really, really good about the direction of his Islanders?

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Suggestion for Kyle

Next time the coach puts him in the shootout:

(FYI, that's Linus Omark, who currently plays for Lulea HF in the Swedish Elite League. He was drafted by Edmonton in the 4th round of the 2007 NHL entry draft).

Saturday, April 4, 2009

KO Still Nursing Injury

Kyle has been scratched for Saturday (4/4) night's tilt against Tampa Bay. He is still listed as day-to-day with a groin strain. Should the Isles happen to lose this game in regulation, they will secure no worse than the third overall pick in the 2009 draft.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Okie Out for Montreal Game

Our buddy Greg Logan states that Kyle will miss Thursday (4/2) night's home game with a groin strain.

Kyle had an on-ice mishap on Wednesday night where it was feared for a while that he was seriously hurt. That luckily proved not to be the case, and he returned to the bench and the ice in the 5-3 loss to Washington.

With Colorado, losers of 8 games in a row, in 29th place and apparently mailing in the rest of their season, we can't say we're complaining about the Isles perhaps being a bit too careful with their stars. Should anyone else wish to join Sean Bergenheim, Mark Streit, and Kyle on the sidelines with a pull or strain, that's okay with us.