clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

An Islanders Primer for Western Conference Teams and Fans

Lighthouse Hockey: We watch the Islanders so you don't have to.

Man go in the cage. Cage go in the water. Sharks in the water...
Man go in the cage. Cage go in the water. Sharks in the water...
Ezra Shaw

The Islanders begin a five game road trip against some Western Conference teams that probably have no idea that the Islanders are still in the NHL.

So for Western fans and blogs that aren't in the know, yer ol' pals at Lighthouse Hockey have put together this primer to help you get better acquainted with a team that's often out of sight and out of mind.

Record: 8-15-5, last place in the Metropolitan Division (a.k.a. "the worst division in the league," a.k.a. "Reverse Pacific.")

Last playoff appearance: Last season. Yes, really. We can hardly believe it either. Look:


General manager: Garth Snow. You may remember him from such Western Conference teams as the 1998-2000 Vancouver Canucks:

Coach: Jack Capuano. One thing "Cappy" has in common with Western coaches is the ability to make Red Wings gargoyle Mike Babcock very angry.

Assistant coach: Doug Weight. Hey, you know that guy:

Notable Players:

John Tavares

#91 / Center / New York Islanders



Sep 20, 1990

G A P +/- PIM
2013 - John Tavares 11 21 32 -3 26

Team captain, best player, media spokesman, PR focus and savior. Soon to be pitchman for Gillette in Canada, making him the first Islander to be featured in a series of commercials since Mike Bossy sold Kentucky Fried Chicken in Quebec in 1983.

Kyle Okposo

#21 / Right Wing / New York Islanders



Apr 16, 1988

G A P +/- PIM
2013 - Kyle Okposo 8 17 25 1 16

Right wing having best statistical start to a season in his career. Often seen in the nightmares of Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

Thomas Vanek

#26 / Left Wing / New York Islanders



Jan 19, 1984

G A P +/- PIM
2013 - Thomas Vanek 8 10 18 0 18

New guy from Buffalo who has played well but who nobody likes because he was acquired for a guy everybody loved. Take a good look at Vanek now because he could be playing for your team in a few months.

Frans Nielsen

#51 / Center / New York Islanders



Apr 24, 1984

G A P +/- PIM
2013 - Frans Nielsen 10 12 22 -5 4

Defensively responsible center that was showing some extra offensive pop this season before a recent slump. Always looks worried (see FIG A above). Known to turn bloggers into stalkers.

Cal Clutterbuck

#15 / Right Wing / New York Islanders



Nov 18, 1987

G A P +/- PIM
2013 - Cal Clutterbuck 3 2 5 -4 14

Longtime member of the Minnesota Wild is back to torment you. Or us. Someone is gonna get tormented either way.

Everybody Else

#? / Right Wing/Left Wing/Center / New York Islanders




Invisible men. Could appear anytime to say "Boo!"

Notable injuries:

Defensemen Lubomir Visnovsky and goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, two of the three players on the team Western conference fans might now, are both hurt.

Notable trades with western teams:

Phoenix: In one of his rare moves that didn't cripple the franchise for a decade, former GM Mike Milbury traded imminently tradeable center Robert Reichel to the Coyotes for winger Brad Isbister. Isbister served a valuable role on the Islanders over the next few years as the "potential power forward prospect whose development we're all watching every minute but really isn't very good anyway."

St. Louis: Please! Send us one of your goalies! No not him. The other one.

Anaheim: Visnovsky is the easy one. Instead, we'll go back in time. During the Islanders' (even more) fallow 1990s, one of their better players was defenseman Kenny Jonsson. In 1999, Milbury convinced Kenny's brother Jorgen, a good player in his own right, to come over from Sweden to play. Sadly, one pretty good Swede couldn't make up for the roster's many, many other problems and at the end of the season, and with Jorgen strongly hinting that he would return home the next year, Milbury shipped him off to the then-still Mighty Ducks. Jorgen did go back to Sweden while Kenny played another few years on Long Island.

San Jose: Hm. Tough one. Nabokov doesnt really count as a trade. Rob Davison? Yup. The Islanders traded a 2008 7th round pick to the Sharks for him. What ever happened to that pick?

Los Angeles: The Kings have provided the Islanders with a lot of good players over the years. Almost like an extra farm club. Billy Smith, Butch Goring, Wayne McBean Alyssa Milano, Jason Blake, Matt Moulson and now Thomas Hickey all came to Long Island by way of L.A. But the Islanders sent the amazing Ziggy Palffy over there in a disgusting and demoralizing salary dump so it's not a total blowout.

Do the Islanders have a prayer of winning any of these games? No. The only possible good news for the Islanders is the knowledge that their trophy case has more Stanley Cups than all these teams combined.