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by Staff Writer / New York Islanders
Posting (12/14/09 - 10:40 a.m.) - The Islanders have annouced that goaltender Rick DiPietro will not dress in the Sound Tigers' game on Tuesday against the Portland Pirates.  He was originally scheduled to make his third and final start of his two-week AHL conditioning stint but due to soreness.  He is being evaluated today by team doctors.

Posting (12/11/09 - 9:15 p.m.)
- The Islanders have tallied your votes on the new goal song and after narrowing the choices to two, the song Bro Hymn by Pennywise is the winner.  Starting Saturday night against the Boston Bruins, the Islanders Game Operations staff will play the new song when the Islanders score a goal. 

Posting (12/11/09 - 5 p.m.)
- The Islanders have announced that both Tim Jackman and Sean Bergenheim will miss up to 1-2 weeks with injuries suffered in the team's loss on Tuesday to the Philadelphia Flyers. 

Jackman delivered a big hit to Flyers' captain, Mike Richards during the first few minutes of the game and was ruled to have a hip pointer injury.  Bergenheim inured his rib during the game when he attempted to snap a shot on goal.  After the shot, Bergenheim pulled up and skated directly to the bench, hunched over in pain and did not return.  Both players returned on the team bus after the game as the rest of the team continued on to Toronto to play the Maple Leafs the following night.

Posting (12/10/09 - 9:20 p.m.)
- The Islanders have recalled Jesse Joensuu from loan after the 6'4, 207 pound winger began the season with the organization's AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.  Joensuu has played in a total of 28 games for the Sound Tigers this season, tallying 16 points (five goals and 11 assists).  He is expected to join the team at practice tomorrow morning at Iceworks.

Joensuu earned his first career call-up to the Islanders last season, playing in seven games and scoring the first NHL goal of his career in his first game, against the Colorado Avalanche on March 2 at the Nassau Coliseum.  He also had two assists during his seven game span with the big club. 

Last season was his first full year of professional hockey in North America.  Joensuu scored 20 goals and 19 assists for 39 points in 71 games.  He also played in five Calder Cup Playoff games last spring, recording two goals and an assist, including his first career post-season point in Game 2 of the Sound Tigers' East Division Semi-Final series against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at the Nassau Coliseum. 

Posting (12/10/09 - 2:30 a.m.) -
The team just landed from Toronto and has gotten confirmation from ESPN that Islander defenseman, Brendan Witt will appear onthe station's morning show, "First Take."  Witt will be a special guest discussing the car accident that he was in during the team's most recent game in Philadelphia, Tuesday.  To get the whole story of what went down and to learn who and if any NHL player hits harder than that GMC SUV, tune in from 10 a.m. through noon.

Posting (12/9/09 - 2:40 p.m.) -
Check out what was going on at this morning's pregame skate:

- First, there wasn't much skating at the pregame skate at all as Blake Comeau and Rob Schremp took the ice with assistant coach Scott Allen and were put through a tough skate to get the players' legs ready for the game tonight.  Both net-minders, Dwayne Roloson (expected starter) and Martin Biron were on the ice as well taking shots as Goalie Consultant, Sudsie Maharaj looked on. 

- Tonight when the Islanders take the ice at the Air Canada Center, they will wear their home navy blue jerseys.  The Toronto Maple Leafs will wear their road white jerseys.  Garth Snow was contacted earlier this week to get approval for the Maple Leafs to wear their road whites. To give the Toronto fans a new look instead of the constant home blues, the Maple Leafs will wear white.   

- When John Tavares sees his family tonight after the game, his mother Barb is going to be in for a surprise.  As many of you saw Tavares take that hit from behind by Philadelphia Flyers' defenseman, Chris Pronger, when the Islander rookie got up, he did so without half of his front tooth. 

"I was surprised it didn't hurt more then it did," Tavares said this morning.  "My whole face was smeared into the boards, you can see it clearly in the highlights."

- As the Islanders left the Wachovia Center last night, it was a scary scene as Tim Jackman and Sean Bergenheim limbered behind.  Jackman is out with a hip pointer injury and Bergenheim has an injured rib.  Both took the bus back to Long Island last night after the team was dropped off at the Philadelphia airport to fly to Toronto. 

Posting (12/8/09 - 10:45 a.m.) - Think you're tough?  Check out this story from this morning about Islander assistant captain Brendan Witt getting hit by a car, posted on Katie Strang's blog.

If you've seen the movie, "The Pursuit of Happyness," when Will Smith gets hit by a car, loses his shoe and then bounces up and continues on his way to work because he doesn't want to be late, that was Witt's morning...except for the part about loosing his shoe.

Posting (12/7/09 - 6 p.m.) -
Not much to report today.  The team practiced at Iceworks this morning and they took a bus to Philadelphia, arriving this afternoon around 4:45.  As usual, the autograph seekers were waiting for each of the players to go by and sign their various memorabilia as they entered the hotel.  After Matt Moulson, the final player off the bus, entered the hotel, the players went up to their rooms but the autograph seekers did not leave.  They pulled out their other pieces of memorabilia as the Denver Nuggets basketball team exited the hotel in preparation for their game tonight at the Wachovia Center against the Philadelphia 76ers.

As Moulson stepped into the elevator, Nuggets star forward, Kenyon Martin was stepping out.  If you think the Islanders are big, stand them next to an NBA player and the height difference is remarkable. 

Linked below are interviews from today's practice at Iceworks:

Josh Bailey

Kyle Okposo

Scott Gordon

Posting (12/5/09 - 4 p.m.) -
As posted late in last month's archive for Islanders Authorized, the team has not granted the Russian Hockey Federation’s request for Islander defenseman Anton Klementyev (currently playing with the Sound Tigers) to participate in their pre-camp leading up to the World Junior Championships in January. Garth Snow explained why below...

"We are looking for cooperation regarding the release of Kirill Petrov from his obligation to Kazan of the KHL," Snow said.

Posting (12/5/09 - 3:30 p.m.) -
Below, Nate Thompson's father, Robert reveals some of his fondest memories with his son at a young age. 

Nate loved to fish.  I started having him out on the water when he was about 2 and a half years old.  He actually caught his first fish on a toy Snoopy poll that was nothing more than a stick with some string on the end.  I remember him calling me over every few minutes because he'd have a fish take a snag at his line and then swim off.  So after a few snags, I'd let him be on his own but would continue to look over at him.  Well all of a sudden I look over and his poll is going up and down because a fish had hooked himself on Nate's line.  I ran over and very carefully we pulled the fish in because if it pulled hard, the line would have broken.  Fortunately the fish had to of been tired before it hooked himself so we were able to get it in but right as we got it on shore, the line snapped.  I tackled it because I was not going to let his first fish get away and from that moment on, he was hooked on fishing forever. 

It was almost a two hour drive to the Russian River where we fished so I'd get off of work at about 5 and we'd head down there and be fishing around 8:30 and then return home around midnight.  Of course Nate would sleep all the way there and then back but we had fun during our time fishing. 

Nate was also an exceptional football player.  He was fast.  The coaches started him out as a safety and then he went to running back.  One season he scored 17 touchdowns in eight games.  We were talking on this trip and he brought up the fact that he missed playing football but when he was in sixth grade, he sprained his knee and missed a few weeks of hockey so that was the end of his football career.

Posting (12/4/09 - 10:15 a.m.) By Carmine Vetrano -
When Greg Moore became a free agent last summer, he wanted to find a team that gave him the best chance to make it to the NHL. Meanwhile, the Sound Tigers were looking for a veteran to lead a young team that was set to include seven rookies.

It was a perfect fit.

“I became a free agent in the summer and was shopping around to see what organization would best fit my goal to reach the NHL,” Moore said. “I did some homework and felt the Islanders organization was a good fit for me. I liked how they developed young guys.”

Moore signed with the Islanders after playing within the New York Rangers’ organization for the last three seasons. He played over 70 games in each of his three years with the Rangers’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack and scored at least 20 goals each of the last two seasons.

The Lisbon, ME native immediately was given a leadership role, as head coach Jack Capuano put an “A” on his jersey as one of the team’s assistant captain, which he shares with fellow first year Sound Tiger Greg Mauldin.
“I have never been one to wait until Christmas and put three A’s on guys,” Capuano said. “Talking to people and getting to know Greg during training camp, I thought it was a perfect fit for our organization. He has gained tremendous experience from his three years in the AHL and can show a lot of our young guys what it takes to get to the next level.”

Capuano attributed much of the Sound Tigers’ fast start this season, opening 4-0-0-0, to Moore’s veteran leadership. 

“He is the first one on the ice at 9:15 for a 10 a.m. practice,” Capuano said. “He is out there all the time working on his game and that is what you want one of your leaders to do. He leads by example and knows when to be vocal and when to get on the ice and show everyone what he’s preaching.”

It did not take long for Moore to pencil his name in on the stat sheet and endear himself to Sound Tiger fans after playing for the hated Connecticut rival, Wolf Pack.   Moore picked up an assist in his first game as a Sound Tiger (a 4-3 OT win against the Lowell Devils) and registered his first goal against the Worcester Sharks in his second game for the club, also a Sound Tigers win.  On October 24, with the Sound Tigers’ took on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, their opponent in each of their last three playoff appearances.  Moore was welcomed back onto the ice by the Sound Tiger fans as the number one star after scoring the decisive overtime goal to beat the Penguins.

The enthusiasm that this young Sound Tiger team has is what Moore credits the team's fast start to. “The fact that we have so many young guys is a big reason we’ve had success this season. They’ve brought their excitement and energy to the games,” Moore said.

After playing for the U.S. National Under-18 team for two years, Moore spent four years at the University of Maine where he played in 154 games, racking up 107 points before his departure to the Connecticut capital.
“Maine is a top school that competes at a high level every year with the best teams in the county,” Moore said. Attending Maine forced me into big games and key situations. It made my transition from the college to pro game much easier.”

Originally a fifth round pick of the Calgary Flames in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, Moore had a career year with the Wolf Pack in the 2007-08 season, netting 26 goals and tallying 66 points. Moore’s outstanding play earned him an NHL call-up as he appeared in six games for the Rangers. To cap off his stellar season, he was selected to represent the Wolf Pack at the AHL All-Star Classic, playing for the PlanetUSA team.

With the prospect of another successful season in Connecticut, and the opportunity at the ring of a phone to make the hour and half drive to Long Island, Moore is excited to wear the blue and orange this year.

“It has been fun to play on the Rangers’ side of this rivalry but I couldn’t be happy to have come over to the Islanders’ side,” Moore said.  “Every time we take the ice together as a team, we have fun competing for each other, which makes it fun to come to the rink everyday.”

Posting (12/3/09 - 3:05 p.m.) -
  Are you wondering how to get Josh Bailey to do something?  His father, Chris has a good idea.  As a kid, young Josh loved hockey.  Wanted to play the sport in the fall, winter, spring and summer but according to his dad, he was not given that opportunity.

"I wanted Josh to be well rounded in other sports than hockey," Chris said.  "I tried to get him to ball (baseball) as much as possible because I loved the sport and didn't want him to get burned out of hockey.  We were a pitcher/catcher combo."

In fact, Chris played in several men's fast-pitch windmill leagues and recalled a time when he was playing in the outfield and his wife was sitting in the stands with Josh, who was two years old at the time.  Josh had gotten scared and started crying so his team had to juggle the positions so that Chris could play third base and continue to walk over and give his young son some attention.

As Josh got to an age where he could start to play baseball, Chris would go to his son and ask him to practice pitching.  Josh would moan and whine, so Chris made a deal with him.

"When Josh was growing up, he loved Pokémon cards," Chris said.  "I promised Josh that if he could strike out nine (imaginary) guys before he walked nine, I'd go out and buy him a pack of Pokémon cards."

Needless to say, out they went and after a while it didn't take much bribery to get Josh "The Ace" into the back yard to practice.  A long dry patch of grass began to develop where Josh pitched from, stretching to where his father crouched down to catch. 

As time passed and the family eventually moved to their current home in Bowmanille, ON, Josh and his brother joined a baseball team full of hockey players.  Chris signed on to coach the young team full of players who had never played baseball before.  Error after error, walk after walk was a painful pattern for the team so Josh began to become turned off from America's pastime.  Until the final game of the season.  Josh's team had lost a lot of games but went up against another team full of first year players who had won the provincial championship at the younger age bracket.

A 7-5 lead with Josh on the mound was something that Chris knew could get them the win over the startled defending champions.

"They had the bases loaded and Josh walked a guy in to make the score 7-6," Chris said.  "He just turned to me and shook his head so I went to the mound and proceeded to tell him that this was where he needed to dig deep and put that little bit of extra effort in to get the next guy out."

Well Josh wasn't the only one putting in a little extra effort as he delivered to the plate, the batter pounded a ball into the outfield but his teammate made an amazing catch and then threw the ball to third to double up the runner who had left early while trying to tag up.  Josh and his team would go on to win the game, their only victory of the season. 

As the two drove home from the game, Josh looked at his father and said, "Dad, that's it, I'm done," and after that the baseball career of Josh came to an end.  He would go on to play lacrosse and roller hockey but grew out of them with his love for the ice.  Pretty good decision, judging on where he is today.

Posting (12/3/09 - 12:10 a.m.) -
The Islanders have gotten offical word that defenseman Mark Streit has been nominated by Swiss TV for the Swiss Sportsman of the Year Award in Switzerland.  The award will not be presented until December 12 but as the honor is presented, Islanders Authorized will be the first to inform you if he's won.

Posting (12/2/09 - 12:00 p.m.) - The word “pre-gaming” can have many different meanings.  For a hockey player, it entails the entire preparation before pulling on the Islander jersey for pre-game warm-ups.  For Islander die-hard, Mike Isserlis, he describes the entire pregame experience as “Islander Awesomeness.”

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For a player on game-day, everything flows like clockwork.  The team is told to arrive at the rink no later than two hours prior to the puck dropping.  If you’re Brendan Witt you’ll sometimes arrive three hours early but for Islander forward Kyle Okposo, his timing is set to the last possible minute, that if he takes too long to stretch, play soccer or tie his skates, he may not make warm-ups. 

“I’m worried that one day they’re going to decide to have warm-up five minutes early and I’ll be screwed,” Okposo said.  “My worst nightmare is I’ll be running back and all the boys will be going out to warm-up without me.  I get kind of nervous sometimes but I’ve been doing it for awhile so I’ve got it down pretty good.” 

There are several Islander die-hards that have their pre-game routines down “pretty good” as well.  Isserlis begins his night by pulling on his 1982 Mike Bossy jersey and jumping on the train from New York City to Penn Station where he sits and waits for the 4:30 train to Mineola. 

“If the Rangers have a home game that day I like to spend a few minutes giving and taking some verbal harassment,” Isserlis said.  “This generally ends with me jumping on the train giving the good old fashion 1 in 70 chant.”

At just about the time Isserlis is getting on the train, Okposo is strolling into the Coliseum for the game.  He has taken care of everything he possibly can at the morning skate, except for taping his game stick, which he has set aside for when he arrives.  He gets into his workout gear, (t-shirt and shorts) and joins the team in a game of soccer in the open area next to the home tunnel. 

While Okposo is playing soccer, Isserlis is arriving at the Mineola train station where his buddies pick him up to begin the night. 

“I usually get in around 5 p.m. and we grab some beers (possibly some MOULSONS this season!) and head to the Coliseum parking lot early,” Isserlis said.  “We always try to grill before the game and try to add to the tailgating tradition which has been gaining steam in the lots adjacent to the Marriott for the past 4 or 5 years.” 

Back at the Coliseum, the Pele’s juggling the ball in the home tunnel call it a game and go back into the dressing room for the coach’s team meeting.  Head Coach Scott Gordon and his staff usually go through the opposing team’s special teams systems and some of their tendencies before they let the players go and do their final preparations for the game.  As Isserlis and his crew are out sharing a few "Moulsons,” this is where Okposo’s story changes from most players. 

“I did a lot of work with Stim Machines on my legs and upper body this summer so I like to keep it in my routine to warm-up,” Okposo said.  “After that, I go back to the change room and grab my I-pod.  I put it on and run to the back portion to the rink.” 

It’s hard to find him but if you search hard enough, he’s there.  If you’re sitting in the stands and go through the Zamboni tunnel, it will put you in the loading dock.  Make a hard right and just keep going.  The open area is staggered with big pillars that provide the miniscule light that Okposo uses to stretch and run his sprints. 

At exactly 6:21 p.m., if you take a quick stroll through the Islanders’ hall-way or dressing room, you’ll see Jack Hillen (fully dressed) parked in his customary chair outside of Equipment Manager Scott Boggs’ office, Sean Bergenheim (fully dressed) leaning on his shin pads in the runway as he concentrates before taking the ice for warm-ups and Jon Sim (also fully dressed) doing his stretches at the top of the Islanders tunnel. 

If you turn your head, you’ll miss him. 

Okposo comes flying by with his music peaking and you can tell he is ready for the game.  Or is he?  Half the team is dressed and ready to take the ice but Okposo is just putting his I-pod away and getting ready to get his equipment on. 

“If I just go straight through, it takes me three and a half minutes, the most…four.  My bottom stuff, shin pads, socks, garter belt, they take the longest.  Once I’ve got them on, my skates take the shortest time.  I tape up my wrists, throw my upper stuff on (shoulder pads and elbow pads) and I’m out the door with Streiter (Mark Streit) and Hunts (Trent Hunter) behind me for the 6:30 warm-up.” 

Just in time to be greeted to the ice by Isserlis and his Islander die-hards from section 303 for a night of “Islander Awesomeness.”
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