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Posted On Saturday, 10.11.2014 / 12:55 PM

By John Kreiser - Columnist / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Hurricanes at Islanders

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Back in the day, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum was known to the locals as "Fort Neverlose" because the New York Islanders rarely lost there.

The Islanders hope to channel some of that old-time success when they host the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday in their final home opener at the Coliseum before the franchise moves to Brooklyn next year.

The Islanders missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season despite having a winning record on the road because they were just 13-19-9 in what used to be one of the toughest buildings in the NHL for visiting teams. That includes two losses in as many games to the Hurricanes, who are 11-1-2 in their last 14 visits to Long Island.

"That's something that has to change. We know that," forward Kyle Okposo said Saturday when asked about the Islanders' struggles in their own building. "We have to be better at home. Last year we would have been right there if we had a halfway decent home record."

Posted On Monday, 01.27.2014 / 2:42 PM

By John Kreiser - Columnist / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Capuano keeping Islanders' focus on Bruins

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Fans of the New York Islanders already are getting excited about their team's showdown with the New York Rangers at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday in a 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS2).

But for coach Jack Capuano and his players, there's still the matter of a game against the Boston Bruins on Monday to deal with before they can turn their attention to the outdoor game.

Capuano admitted after his team's morning skate at Nassau Coliseum that while the Islanders are keeping their focus on Boston, it's tough not to be cognizant that their next game will be a franchise first.

He also admitted he had seen some of the Rangers' 7-3 victory against the New Jersey Devils at the Stadium on Sunday.

"I watched a little bit of it," he said. "It's 200-by-85 [rink size]. To me it's the atmosphere. It's the crowd. It's Yankee Stadium. It's the Bronx. You're in one of the greatest venues in the world. It was pretty amazing what the NHL did. As far as the hockey goes, it was a big two points for both teams. I thought the ice was great. It was a fast-paced game."

Posted On Monday, 01.27.2014 / 12:34 PM

By John Kreiser - Columnist / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Visnovsky back for Isles; Nabokov to dress

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky will be back in the lineup for the New York Islanders when they host the Boston Bruins on Monday after missing more than three months with a concussion.

In addition, goaltender Evgeni Nabokov was activated from injured reserve and will dress for the first time since leaving the Islanders' 7-3 victory against the Dallas Stars on Jan. 6 with a lower-body injury. Coach Jack Capuano said Nabokov will back up Kevin Poulin against the Bruins but might start Wednesday when the Islanders play the New York Rangers at Yankee Stadium as part of the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS2).

"Kevin will be in net [Monday]," Capuano said after the morning skate. "[Nabokov] is getting where he needs to be. He'll back up. [Visnovsky], if things go well, and they did this morning, he'll be back in."

Posted On Thursday, 01.16.2014 / 6:18 PM

By John Kreiser - Columnist / - Road to Sochi blog

Tavares OK with playing wing for Canada

Though John Tavares has spent his entire NHL career as a center, the New York Islanders captain knows there's no guarantee he'll be in the middle when he takes the ice for Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics next month.

And he's OK with that.

Canada is loaded with talent down the middle, including Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews and Ryan Getzlaf. That could result in Tavares spending his time in Sochi on left wing, though he said this week he "hasn't heard anything" about his ultimate position.

"Really, the only thing I know is from the camp in the summertime, they had me at center," he said. "They talked to me about playing the wing and being versatile. I know there’s a possibility being in a different spot than I’m accustomed to.”

Posted On Saturday, 11.16.2013 / 6:52 PM

By John Kreiser - Columnist / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Red Wings' Alfredsson scratched due to groin injury

UNIONDALE. N.Y. – Forward Daniel Alfredsson was a late scratch by the Detroit Red Wings for their game against the New York Islanders on Saturday night.

Alfredsson had to be scratched after injuring his groin in warmups before the Red Wings' 4-3 shootout loss to the Washington Capitals on Friday night. He made the trip to New York, but said after the morning skate that he might not be able to play.

Posted On Saturday, 05.11.2013 / 7:12 PM

By John Kreiser - Columnist / - Penguins-Islanders series blog

Nielsen, Nelson in lineup for Islanders

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- New York Islanders center Frans Nielsen is in the lineup Saturday for Game 6 of his team's Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Pittsburgh Penguins (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

Nielsen, who centers the Islanders' second line and plays on both special teams, left Game 5 on Thursday with a lower-body injury and didn't skate Friday.

Rookie Brock Nelson is making his NHL debut, taking the place of healthy scratch Jesse Joensuu.

Posted On Saturday, 05.11.2013 / 1:49 PM

By John Kreiser - Columnist / - Penguins-Islanders series blog

Islanders have confidence in Nabokov

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Evgeni Nabokov's first appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2010 has had its ups and downs. Though he's been pulled by New York Islanders coach Jack Capuano in Games 1 and 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Nabokov will be back in goal for Game 6 on Saturday at Nassau Coliseum (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

Capuano left no doubts that Nabokov remains his man, even though he has a 4.69 goals-against average and .847 save percentage.

"He's gotten us here. He's played a lot of hockey for us down the stretch," Capuano said of Nabokov, who was 23-11-7 in the regular season, with a 2.50 GAA and .910 save percentage. "He's a veteran guy with experience. I think if you look at the last two months, I thought defensively we were pretty good, pretty solid, and he was a big reason why."

Posted On Saturday, 05.11.2013 / 1:22 PM

By John Kreiser - Columnist / - Penguins-Islanders series blog

Islanders expect another boost from home crowd

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The New York Islanders' return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs has brought the noise back to Nassau Coliseum. They hope the roars that raised the roof of the old barn on Hempstead Turnpike in Games 3 and 4 will help them win Game 6 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

The Coliseum is the oldest non-renovated facility in the NHL. It's small (16,170 capacity) and lacks the amenities of newer buildings. But its low roof means that the noise generated by a packed house has nowhere to go but back toward the ice. The result is the kind of noise you rarely hear in a newer, larger building.

"Playing at home for us has been great," Islanders captain Mark Streit said after the morning skate Saturday. "The fans have been unbelievable. It's been so loud and energizing in here. It's a big advantage for us."

Posted On Friday, 05.10.2013 / 6:50 PM

By John Kreiser - Columnist / - Penguins-Islanders series blog

Crosby honored to be Hart Trophy finalist

Not even missing the Pittsburgh Penguins' last 12 regular-season games was enough to keep captain Sidney Crosby from being named a finalist for the Hart Trophy, given to the NHL's regular-season MVP.

Despite missing the last quarter of the season, Crosby joined Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals and John Tavares of the New York Islanders as the three finalists.

Posted On Monday, 05.06.2013 / 7:34 PM

By John Kreiser - Columnist / - Penguins-Islanders series blog

Penguins hope Orpik will return soon

UNIONDALE, N.Y. – Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma won’t discuss injuries, so he wouldn’t say whether shutdown defenseman Brooks Orpik will be ready to go in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the New York Islanders.

Orpik and another prominent injured Penguin, forward James Neal, were on the ice in full gear for Pittsburgh’s optional afternoon skate at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Monday, but Bylsma said after practice that the question of injuries was “not a discussion point.”

However, he left no doubt that the Penguins miss Orpik, who has yet to play in this series due to a lower-body injury suffered two weeks ago.

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