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Morning Skate Updates: 1/29/15

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders


Halak Starts: Jaroslav Halak will start in goal for the Islanders against the Boston Bruins. The Islanders netminder has played in 12 of the team’s last 13 games and is 26-9-0 this season with four shutouts. Halak did not play in the Islanders 3-2 win over the Bruins on Oct. 23.

Same Lineup: The Islanders will roll the same lineup from Tuesday’s 4-1 win over the New York Rangers.

Projected Lines:    
91 John Tavares 12 josh bailey
27 Anders Lee 51 Frans Nielsen 18 ryan strome
40 Michael Grabner 29 Brock Nelson 86 Nikolay Kulemin
17 Matt Martin 53 Casey Cizikas 15 cal clutterbuck

Boychuk: Johnny Boychuk is set to face his former team for the second time since being traded to the Islanders on Oct. 4. The charismatic Boychuk had a throng of Boston reporters around him after today’s optional morning skate and shed some light on his first season with the Islanders.

Boychuk: After the first two practices, I knew what kind of team we had and how good we actually were. After the first couple of games, then you really knew how good we were.

We’ve been playing well. We have skilled, speedy forwards and some tough forwards. So you see some similarities in what we had back when we did win. We have good goaltending and good defense. There’s always a chance. We’ve played consistent this year and we just have to continue to do so.

Clutterbuck an Alternate: Cal Clutterbuck was designated an alternate captain in Kyle Okposo’s absence and started wearing the “A” against the Rangers on Tuesday. Clutterbuck said he’s never had an issue speaking up in a room or on the bench, but the letter gives him better authority to speak with the refs.

Nielsen Streaking: Frans Nielsen is riding a five-game point streak (one goal, four assists)

LIKE A BOSS: Tonight is Mike Bossy Mini-Locker Night (presented by Mohegan Sun) and the Islanders all-time leading goal scorer will be honored before the game. Bossy is one of six Islanders players to have his jersey hang in the rafters and is the sixth of those same Islanders to be honored this season. The sharp-witted Bossy spoke with the media this morning.

Bossy on Fort Neverlose: We’d go out there and we had such a good team and such good fans that I always felt we had a 2-0 lead before the first puck was dropped. We were an intimidating team. We were intimidating because of many factors: the talent we had, the work ethic we had, the size we had. We had a little bit of everything.

Bossy on his favorite Coliseum memories: “There are so many memories… the Stanley Cups on the ice here. My 50 in 50 on a personal note was exciting. Just the ensemble of everything that we did as a team. It was quite special that there were 16 of us that were able to win all four Stanley cups.”

Bossy on playing with Trottier: “Why it clicked when we started playing together, I don’t have the answer, I don’t think anybody does. Our games complimented each other, we both motivated each other also. I know that I wanted to – and he wanted to – be the best player on the ice when we hit the ice. When you have two guys like that playing within a system where it’s team first, it makes it pretty special.”

Bossy on the players’ relationship with the community: “They were always up for a free beer. So they’d head out to the softball games and do everything they had to solidify their place in the community.”

Bossy on Yes! Yes! Yes! I thought it was pretty special that the players have adopted it. It’s created a connection between the fans and the players. When you get the fans on your side, they may be a little more lenient in certain circumstances and little louder in others.

Bossy on scoring 50 goals: I have no doubt that I’d still be able to score 50 goals.
I always said, getting a quick release was for me, was far more important than aiming the puck. I always thought giving a goalie less time to prepare for something made him less able to stop the shot.

Bossy on the current Islanders:
This whole season is a little surreal. I don’t think anyone expected the team to be where they are today. In general these guys are more mature, they know how to handle more situations a lot better than they used to. They have a number of lines out there with good chemistry together and its working.

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