Friday, February 18, 2011

Gotta Stay Away

In my continued absence, the Islanders have been on a roll.

Until last night (2/17), that is.

As I strolled past a television with ESPN playing, I noticed the Isles in an early 3-0 hole. They eventually lost 6-3 to a stronger Boston Bruins team, ending their four game winning streak.

Despite the loss, some positives have emerged of late.

The Islanders announced the signing of winger P.A. Parenteau to a one-year contract extension on Thursday. I would say that behind Michael Grabner, Parenteau has been the surprise offensive pickup of the year for General Manager Garth Snow. Coming into Thursday’s action, Parenteau had recorded 14 goals and 21 assists. Though it’s sometimes en vogue to criticize Snow, he really perfomed nicely by adding those two offensive pieces. In his official statement, Parenteau said that he was happy to be on Long Island and part of the Islanders organization.

On the scoring front, I noticed that while the goals haven’t quite yet flowed, Kyle did record a three assist game. For his truncated season total (remember, he missed the first 44 games) Kyle is at two goals and 7 assists.

Moving on, though it may not have been exciting to many others, Al Montoya made his Islanders debut recently. The former Rangers draft pick had played in five NHL games, all with Phoenix. The bad news is that due to circumstances beyond their control, the Islanders have used six (!) goaltenders this season. I don’t think anyone expected to see names like Montoya, Mikko Koskinen, or Nathan Lawson on the roster in 2010-2011.

Finally, I missed a wild game against Pittsburgh. Not only did I lose out on seeing my home team score 9 goals, but there were several wild scraps that resulted in well over 300 combined penalty minutes in the contest. The melees also resulted in suspensions for Trevor Gillies and Matt Martin, though I have no idea whether they were warranted or not. I’ll have to review the game footage at a later date.

So, to sum up, it seems that I have missed some pretty wild stuff. I hope the scoring continues. And if the winning keeps up, I'll gladly stay in exile for another month.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Okie Downs the Habs

The hockey world doesn't stop while I am out of touch. Unfortunately, events beyond my control have left me with an intermittent Internet connection while I am in Nevada for the month. I've tried to keep up with the Islanders news while I'm out of town, but it's hard.

Though I didn't get to see it, I am very proud that Kyle scored the game winning goal in the shootout against Montreal on Thursday (2/10) night. I am also very pleased that Mikko Koskinen recorded his first NHL win. I was there with a few of my fellow bloggers when the affable (and tall) Koskinen was drafted, in, of all places, Montreal.

I saw that the Islanders picked up Al Montoya in a minor league deal. I really only remember him for his famous goalie fight as a member of the Rangers.

The Islanders take on a depleted Pittsburgh team tonight (2/11), a very winnable game. I can only hope to catch highlights of the tilt. But I am pleased that the team has a small bit of momentum, confidence, and perhaps some of the shenanigans surrounding the goaltending situation are dying down a bit.

I'll say this: While the team might not be great this season, they certainly haven't been boring.

I'll be checking in when I can. Good luck to them.

Signing off from my desert outpost...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Okposo Reaches A Career Milestone

The All-Star break apparently gave Kyle Okposo the rest he needed to get back in form.

On Tuesday (2/1) night Kyle played his best game since returning from injury while leading the Islanders to an encouraging win. In the team's first game back from the hiatus, Kyle's sixth this season, he scored two goals and an assist. The Islanders won 4-1 in Atlanta against a fairly listless Thrashers team.

With the three points, he now has 100 for his career.

At first, defenseman Travis Hamonic looked as if he was going to be the story of the evening. With his team down 1-0, he netted his first career goal early in the second period. But Kyle rewrote the narrative as he reached the first significant step in hopefully rewriting the franchise's record books.

"It started to weigh on me a little bit, but it felt really nice to get that one," he said about his mini goal drought since returning. Okposo had mustered only one assist his first five games.

The goal seemed to awaken something in the forward, as he charged on just one minute later and assisted on a P.A. Parenteau goal. But Kyle wasn't content with stopping there.

His third point came at 11:19 of the third period, a delightful 2-on-1 goal aided by this year's best story, Michael Grabner. It was Kyle's third career three point game.

Unfortunately for Islanders fans, it seems as if Okposo reaches his milestones on the road. After the game, MSG Network's Rob Carlin took Kyle down memory lane, recalling his first NHL goal. That one was scored in New Jersey.

If he keeps having nights like this one, though, I don't suppose we'll hear too many complaints from the Long Island faithful.

News and Notes:

- Kyle became the 70th Islander in history to score at least 100 points with the franchise.

- Young goaltender Kevin Poulin recorded his third career NHL win, saving 25 shots and lowering his Goals Against Average to 2.37.

- John Tavares netted two assists, and looks to be next to break the century mark for points, currently having 92.

- Ex-Islander Freddy Meyer scored Atlanta's lone goal, though his team threatened for more in the first period and were denied by both Poulin and his goalposts.