The Islanders concluded their preseason schedule in front of 8,400 fans in Bridgeport and a bunch online who struggled with a webcast feed that wouldn't cooperate for the first period.
Eventually the visuals came up (audio would wait until the third), and a few people who were at the game chimed in our game thread with their observations from a pretty decent Islanders lineup's 3-2 loss to a pretty decent Bruins lineup.
Lots of notes, quotes and links below, as the Islanders have to make some tough decisions that could be announced as soon as Sunday.
UPDATE: Oh, they've been announced. 17 players in the first cut, plus Micheal Haley makes 18, leaving 28 left in camp, plus the three on IR (Katic, Rakhshani, Colliton).
From my vantage point:
- The FnGO (Frans Nielsen, Michael Grabner, Kyle Okposo) line was flying right where they left off last year. Although Okposo fired wide multiple times, which is even worse than the post.
- It's simply a joy to see Mark Streit play hockey again. He does so many things well -- and he does them with urgency. There is no Kovalev to his finesse plays. Late in the third he earned a powerplay while deking two Bruins off him from a virtual standstill at the point.
- Add Chris Clark to the growing list of players who probably wish they hadn't decided to fight "little" Micheal Haley.
- Yeah, John Tavares is pretty good.
- Nice to see Martin Reasoner get in on the scoring. He'll get some goals this year, to add to a bunch of unsung work.
Comeau was still on the perimeter a bit too much for Jack Capuano's liking, I'll bet, but Comeau had a couple great shifts with the puck in the offensive zone, one of which led to Marty Reasoner's backhand goal after a hard bounce off the end boards in the second. Comeau and Josh Bailey are still finding their roles, and both need to drive the net and fire off some shots to get noticed.
Jack Capuano, on why the Islanders blew a 2-0 lead in the second:
"The first period, we played extremely well," said Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano. "The second period, what happens is, if you don’t change at the proper times, with the bench where it is, 30 seconds becomes a minute-and-a-half and (Boston) won the change game in the second period. That’s why the ice was tilted and they had their 16 shots..."
Travis Hamonic, on why that just won't fly [same link]:
"Come regular season, these are the games that we have to close out and we have to win," Hamonic said. "You learn from situations and games like this..."
And on being reunited with Andrew MacDonald, who made his first game appearance after hip surgery and showed a mix of rust and the reasons he's well-regarded:
"When I looked over in warm-up, we were kind of doing some of the little things and the quirks we do," Hamonic said. "I think our friendship grows off the ice, but with our styles of play, it seemed like tonight we picked up right where we left off..."
Much more in that game recap.
And locally, Michael Fornabaio's blog at the ConnPost had lots of notes, including this quote from Capuano on the cuts that now need to be made: "It’s tough. A lot of guys gave everything they had in camp,"
Fornabaio also has a nice piece on Micheal Haley's determined bid this summer to stick with the NHL club.
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Some of the big outstanding issues:
At forward: Does Jay Pandolfo get a contract? If so, a forward who was here last season will not begin the year with the big club. Nino Niederreiter's groin injury (receiving treatment, on-going evaluation) might create wiggle room, but ultimately at forward the Islanders have added Brian Rolston, Martin Reasoner and possibly Nino and Pandolfo while only losing Zenon Konopka and Jesse Joensuu from the end of last season. And Trevor Gillies, enforcer?
On defense: Is the surgery brigade healthy? Does a prospect stick with the team to open the season while a rehabber hits IR with a sudden malady? (While assignments should be made by Monday, health could still change things by Saturday night.)
In goal: I'm assuming the three-headed monster starts the season, but if so that creates one less option in the two groups above.
Of sartorial interest: Is a 3rd jersey still happening, and if so when will be the reveal? Some of us have to buy earrings to go with it, you know.
It's surely been a week of interesting talks in the Islanders offices, and Sunday should be no different.