Run autoscript: Rookie Camp preseason game
[Insert caveat about not reading into game that means nothing]
[Proceed with excited observations anyway]
Mikko Koskinen had a very, very bad night. The announcers, Islanders radio man Chris King and Bridgeport man Phil Giubileo, took pains to soften their critique of his rough outing ("some good saves early" and "he didn't get to play in the summer mini-camp"), but you certainly saw nothing from Koskinen to assuage concerns from last season's weak numbers at the NHL (.873) and AHL (.892) level. If Koskinen does not rebound, it's not like the Islanders lack insurance. The shots were apparently undercounted in the third period, but seven goals is seven goals.
At the other end in this 8-5 loss to the Bruins rookies, there was much to enjoy with the Islanders' more heralded forward prospects, starting with Nino Niederreiter, Ryan Strome, Casey Cizikas and Kirill Kabanov. The only bad news was Rhett Rakhshani suffering a concussion in the first period. A concussion ended his second NHL game and he already has a frame that requires playing elusively, so this bears watching.
More on the game from New England Hockey Journal scribe and hockey scout Kirk Luedeke here.
Note: The following comments are based on occasionally ISP-caused jerkiness on a Web stream, so as always: Please add to them, correct them, disagree with them in comments.
It was a special teams-filled game. The Bruins had a seemingly infinite run of powerplays in the second and third before the Islanders got a few more in the third. Nino converted two powerplay goals for the Islanders. The constant stream of minor penalties tended to break up the four-line flow I was hoping to watch.
Capuano in his post-game (video is below) remarked about the special teams affecting the game -- players not used to NHL-level enforcement, and not having practiced special teams -- and likewise wanted to focus more on 5-on-5, where he found Strome and Niederreiter (among others...he was asked specifically about Strome, Niederreiter and Kabanov) needing more guidance there.
As for gameplay sequence overall, Koskinen allowed one early goal in the first and two quick early ones in the third. The Islanders trailed 1-0 and 2-1 before making it 3-2 before the 2nd intermission. The Bruins tied it at 3-3 late in the 2nd. Then the floodgates opened in the third.
Forwards of Note
Nino Niederreiter -- I would say he was a little feisty fighting for space in front of the net, and he finished twice on the powerplay: If there is a description of what we can ultimately hope or expect Nino to be, that's it. He wasn't all over the place, but he doesn't translate as a puck hog at the NHL level.
Ryan Strome -- He does. He can manage the puck. He showed swiftness, two-way desire, and great hands. As billed.
Casey Cizikas -- Determined on the PK, a PITA who will be fun to watch no matter which level he spends most of this year. Definitely see how he has the tools to be a dangerous, annoying third-line guy.
Kirill Kabanov -- Dynamic display overall. Was credited with a goal on a deflection. Still can be muscled off along the boards -- but not for lack of trying. It's hard not to look at the way he and Strome move and think with the puck and dream of nice things once they fill out.
Justin DiBenedetto -- Wonderfully annoying gnat who combined with David Ullstrom and Rakshani to form a Bridgeport line early on, with Romano among those replacing Rakh in that slot after he left the game. Ullstrom looked good too; a combo of puck skills and glimpses of smart hockey awareness.
Defense of Note
They had a lot of special teams work, so I'll just say Matt Donovan didn't have a remarkable game. Calvin De Haan and Aaron Ness displayed good puck skills at the point but also had defensive hiccups along with Donovan. Ness definitely has that mobility a smaller defenseman needs to survive. Of the lot, Mark Katic looked like the more experienced pro that he is, and Andrei Pedan was active, showed a quick shot, a willingness to initiate contact. They all took opportunities to pinch in when they could.
Although Koskinen let a lot of stoppable goals in, two of the late ones were very good shots made possible by blown assignments from the defenders (the identity of whom I didn't catch in the live play). De Haan was victimized at least once and maybe twice though.
When he's down all the way, Koskinen covers post to post like a vacuum with those long legs sucking up pucks in street sweeper mode. But that's when he's down. Before then, we've seen in the past the five-hole get exposed. And as we saw tonight, when he's down he is vulnerable up high despite his large torso. A few shots were perfectly placed high inside the post. But a few were not.
Certainly everyone's pulling for him to rebound, but this was a bad first game in what looks to be a six-goalie camp.
Rakshani, DiBenedetto and Katic wore the A's.
As for non-prospect scuttlebutt from the night, here's Arthur Staple (temporarily replacing Katie Strang as Newsday beatwriter) on the captaincy:
For those who feel Okposo should be next 'C' of
#Isles: Team prefers a veteran in that role with such a young team. Kyle's time will come.
A nice, early test of his sources, if nothing else.
Again, I'm not as confident in my not-very-significant impressions of a not-very-significant game as I would be during the season with the benefit of DVR, replay and stat sheets. So chime in and share your own views to help set the record.
There's no boxscore for these games, but here are the goals as I remember them and as relayed on Isles Twitter:
5:04 - Spooner (Randell)
9:04 - Niederreiter PP (Strome, de Haan)
1-1 after one.
2:03 - Hood (Spooner, Cantin)
6:34 - Persson (Kabanov)
10-ish - Kabanov (deflection of Cizikas shot)
14:10 - Spooner PP
3-3 after second.
0:31 - Knight (shot in tight, I believe de Haan covering)
1:56 - Warsofsky (left alone in the slot, good shot up high)
X:XX - Riendeau PP
8:43 - de Haan (Cizikas, Theoret)
14:59 - Niederreiter PP (McNeely, de Haan)
X:XX - Campin
X:XX - Knight (ENG)
[Updated] Post-Game Reactions
Nino on the game, on what he needs to work on (skating, shooting, passing)
Ryan Strome speaks very quickly:
Kirill Kabanov on passing more than he shoots. That's the way it is:
Jack Capuano calls the game sloppy, dependent on special teams. He's going to rewatch on film -- and not going to get into the "X impressed me, Y didn't" game after one rookie exhibition: