Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Free Agency Opens Tomorrow

In case you were unsure about the date, the NHL's free agency period opens tomorrow, July 1st. General Manager Garth Snow will have some work to do this off-season, as his Islanders will look to bulk up their defense, as well as trying to improve other areas. Hopefully Garth can find some nice value forwards too, as the team has been woefully lacking in left-side scoring over the past few seasons (though Matt Moulson's breakout campaign last year was a delightful surprise). Overall team speed may need to be addressed too.

While we all wait on the team's minor league prospects to develop, many fans feel that making the playoffs in 2010-2011 should and can be a realistic goal for the team. With a deep free agent class about to set off a spending frenzy, we'll be watching and hoping that Garth is active in the coming days. If he is, we'll have the news right here as soon as any deals are confirmed.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Complete Islanders 2010 Draft Results

The Islanders' final 2010 haul looks like this:

(Round 1) 5th Overall - NINO NIEDERREITER (W)
(Round 1) 30th Overall - BROCK NELSON (C)
(Round 3) 65th Overall - KIRILL KABANOV (LW)
(Round 3) 82nd Overall - JASON CLARK (LW/C)
(Round 5) 125th Overall - TONY DeHART (D)
(Round 7) 185th Overall - CODY ROSEN (G)

Isles Select Kirill Kabanov in 3rd Round

After trading both of their 2nd round picks to move up, the Islanders' first move on Day 2 was an interesting one. They selected Russian winger Kirill Kabanov at #65 (3rd round). Kabanov is projected as being a top-notch talent with maturity issues.

The move is another swing for the fences by Garth Snow, as we've seen in past seasons. It's definitely a low-risk, high-reward selection for the team.

You can view Kabanov's statistics here.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Insider's Look at Updates and Upgrades

One of the nice aspects of the annual New York Islanders Draft Party is the 'behind the scenes' arena tour they give the public on draft night. The fans are allowed access to the team tunnels, changing room, trainer's room, and Hall of Fame area in the hallway.

Most of these areas are routinely ignored by the media and bloggers. For us they are just spaces in which to conduct player interviews and for speaking with members of Islanders management. For fans, though, especially younger ones, seeing these spaces can be a treat.

Since it was open we availed ourselves of the chance to go on the tour (minus the annoyingly long line) and saw what's new and improved in the arena's bowels. Many of the upgrades shown below have taken place since mid-April, the end of last season. And though most of the changes were slight, we're glad we roamed around. We snapped some photos and added some (hopefully) informative descriptions next to each. Click on any of the images to make them larger.

In case you haven't heard, the Islanders will be going back to their classic style sweaters next season. Here are the *great looking* home blues laid out in the dressing room.

Here is this blog's namesake modeling the new white road version on the arena scoreboard during the draft party.

As the players enter, they are greeted by a magnetic board on which the current standings are updated each day. We can only hope that this is an accurate prediction of the 2010-2011 Eastern Conference standings!

A new "Smart" board has replaced the old whiteboard to assist coaches in the player's dressing room.

The team has updated the "honors" board in the hallway immediately outside of the Isles' dressing room. Not shown are the nine plaques on the wall to the right which list the accomplishments of each member of the Islanders Hall of Fame.

Hopefully the team will need to update this dressing room display in the near future. We've been saying that for a while now, though. Maybe our recent drafts have brought us closer to that reality.

What We Know About Brock Nelson

To this point (nearly 11:30 PM in the Eastern time zone), we know this much about Islanders' first rounder Brock Nelson:

- He is listed at 6'3" tall and weighs 205 pounds. Plays center.
- Hails from Warroad, Minnesota, a small town (population 1,722) that's actually farther north than International Falls. (Have a look at a Google Map here).
- Is slated to attend University of North Dakota.
- Has already spoken by phone with Kyle Okposo.

In our book, he's off to a great start!

Islanders Make Trade, Select #30

Just when we thought the shop had closed for the night, Garth Snow turns out Day 1's lights with one of his patented draft pick swaps.

The Islanders trade their two second round picks to Chicago (numbers 35 and 58 overall) for the final pick in the first round (#30), and select center Brock Nelson.

Nelson is a Minnesota high schooler who measures in at 6'3" and 205 pounds. We will post his pre-draft statistics they become available.

Live from the Draft Party

We will bring you the news as it happens. As of right now, the Islanders are due to pick fifth. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Edmonton has chosen Taylor Hall at #1 and we expect Tyler Seguin has gone at #2 to Boston. But we're only really concerned with the Isles. And we'll update again with their pick.

UPDATE #2: Isles are on the clock. Columbus just took Ryan Johansen at #4.

DRAFT PICK: Swiss winger Nino Niederreitter is the selection. There was some crowd grumbling, as most fans expected Cam Fowler (eventually taken #12 by Anaheim) to be the man.

By 9 PM, the draft party has mostly emptied out and the Isles will pick again tomorrow at #35 overall. Comments and questions are welcomed below.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

...And the Regular Season Schedule Too

The regular season schedule is now available, as per the Islanders' official website.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Draft, Draft Party, and Preseason Schedule Announced!

This is a quick reminder that on Friday (6/25) evening at 7 PM EDT the 2010 NHL Entry Draft will be taking place. Unfortunately Okposo Net will not be traveling to Los Angeles to witness the selections live, but we will be live at the Nassau Coliseum draft party to bring you the Isles' pick as it comes in.

Speaking of the party, if you don't already have your free ticket(s) reserved (and why wouldn't you?) please head over to this link and reserve them now. Like we said, they're free, and it's a fun way to spend part of your Friday night.

In other news, the team announced their preseason schedule today. They'll be playing at various locations mentioned in the release, which is nice for some of our out-of-town fans.

We look forward to seeing you on Friday as the Islanders take another step in their building process. And no, we have no idea what Garth might do or who the team might select. That alone should be reason enough to show up at the Coliseum!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

One-on-One With Kyle Okposo

While we've been dormant for a while, our friends in the blogosphere have been hard at work. One friend in particular, Rob McGowan of The Hockey Writers, submitted this terrific interview with Kyle from earlier today. Rob asks Kyle about various subjects, including his experience with the US team in Europe, his summer plans, and who he's pulling for in the Stanley Cup Finals. It's a nice piece, especially at this time of year when the only talk surrounding the Isles is that of the upcoming entry draft later this month. Enjoy it, and many thanks to Rob for allowing us to share it with you.