POSTED ON Wednesday, 09.28.2011 / 12:00 PM ET
It was announced today that the New York Islanders placed five players on waivers. That includes forwards Trevor Frischmon, Tomas Marcinko and Tim Wallace and defensemen Dylan Reese and Ty Wishart.
POSTED ON Wednesday, 09.28.2011 / 9:21 AM ET
A total of 62 players ended up playing for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers during the 2011-12 season. Some played as few as one game, others appeared in more than 70. The vast majority of those players had various changes of scenery, whether they were call-ups to Long Island or demotions to East Coast or Central Hockey League teams.
One of only a handful to have spent his entire season with the Sound Tigers was David Ullstrom. The rookie forward appeared in 67 games with the Sound Tigers, the third most on the team. The Sound Tigers had a roster that was in flux for most of the season, but Ullstrom was a constant presence that could be relied on by the end of the year. Although he never got the NHL call up he had been hoping for, he took plenty of positives away from his first pro campaign in the U.S.
“I was really happy with last season,” said Ullstrom following an on ice session at Islanders training camp. ”When the season first began, I wasn’t really to sure what to expect. As the year went on, I grew as a player. I was happy with my production after Christmas, I got to understand the system and the game a little more. It's so much different than back home, and as time passed and I got to know the guys more it got better.”
Ullstrom signed his entry-level contract during the summer of 2010. The Islanders fourth round pick (102nd overall) from the 2008 NHL Entry Draft had played previously with HV71 Jonkoping of the Swedish Elite League, but his role was relatively limited. That was far from the case last season, when Ullstrom played big minutes and was used in every situation.
“I saw a lot of opportunities from the start, I was really excited by the amount of minutes I saw,” Ullstrom said. “I had a lot of responsibility whether it was as a center on one of the top lines, or being on the power play and even some time on the penalty kill at the end of the year.”
Those opportunities arose due in part to the large amount of injuries sustained by the Islanders during the season. By the second half of the 2011-12 season, the Sound Tigers roster was merely a shell of what it was in October. The team’s struggles in the second half were something that Ullstrom had never experienced before, but knows there’s plenty to take away from the end of the season.
“It was my first time playing on a team that didn’t make the playoffs,” Ullstrom explained. “Back in Sweden, I always played for successful teams. It was very different in that way, but it was something I’m going to take with me and remember. This year I think we’re going to be a lot better. There’s a lot of solid, young talent and if I don’t make the Islanders out of camp ill go to Bridgeport. I think both teams will very good this year.”
Last season, Ullstrom’s numbers came in waves. Despite his solid overall numbers to conclude the season (17 goals, 24 assists), Ullstrom only had one goal from Dec. 1 – Feb. 13., but broke out of that with six goals in a three-game span, earning AHL Player of the Week honors.
“Consistency is a huge thing for me,” Ullstrom said. “That’s something I know I have to improve. I had a lot of different linemates last season so it was hard to develop a lot of chemistry at times. I had some good streaks last season, but I need to have more consistency if I’m going to be successful and make it to Long Island.”
Ullstrom saw many of those who were closest to him make that step to the NHL. Last season, he was roommates with fellow rookies Travis Hamonic, Kevin Poulin, and Rhett Rakhshani, all of whom saw different amounts of time with the Islanders. Despite not getting that call, Ullstrom was encouraged to know the opportunities to move up were there.
“It was huge to get to live with Hammer and Pouls and Rhett, they all got their chances. It was nice to see them succeed, and obviously I want that chance this year. It’s exciting though because the Islanders want to promote from within, and I want to be a part of it. Hopefully I can make the team out of camp and if not, I’ll hope I get that call from Cappy at some point.
Just like other players at Islanders Training Camp, Ullstrom’s goal this season is simple.
"My main goal is obviously to make the Islanders out of camp,” Ullstrom said. “But if not, I’m going to play my best for the fans in Bridgeport and if I get my chance, I’ll try to prove that I’m good enough to play at the NHL level.”
POSTED ON Wednesday, 09.28.2011 / 9:14 AM ET
Webster Bank Arena announced today it will host a “Grab Your Buds” pre-game party on Oct. 1 in support of the Islanders/Bruins preseason game at 7 p.m.
The event, which is sponsored by Budweiser, will begin at 5 p.m. on the plaza in front of Webster Bank Arena and will feature a wide variety of activities and entertainment for all ages.
“This event is a great precursor to the Islanders/Bruins game and the perfect way to kick off the hockey season,” said Bridgeport Sound Tigers President Howard Saffan. “We want the fans to come down early and celebrate a great night for Webster Bank Arena and the City of Bridgeport.”
The Zambonis, “North America’s Favorite All-Hockey Band”, will open the festivities with a live performance beginning at 5 p.m. Other highlights and activities will include the New York Islanders I.C.E Tour, various inflatables sponsored by Big Y, and performances by professional magician Bryan Lizotte.
The Stratford Fire Department will also be conducting a “Pass the Boot” fundraiser for the Andrew J. and Henrietta Panetteri Burn Center at Bridgeport Hospital.
Budweiser will be offering beer specials and fans will also be able to enjoy cupcakes from Toppings among other food and drink options.
The Sound Tigers regular season kicks off Saturday, Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. against the Portland Pirates at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport. For information on partial or season ticket plans as well as group outings, contact the Sound Tigers at (203) 345-2300 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Islanders will have a meet-up on the ferry ride over to the Sound tigers. Click here to learn more about the "I'm on a boat #IslesMeetup."
POSTED ON Tuesday, 09.27.2011 / 5:11 PM ET
Last week, we posted a blog about the goalie masks, but Kevin Poulin's was still at the painters. Today, it arrived on Long Island. Here it is:
|Going with the same style as last year, Poulin only made a few changes to this year's mask. Mike Bossy and Billy Smith were pictured on last year's, but the Isles goalie decided to expand his "Islanders tribute" theme by inlcuding images of Bryan Trottier and Denis Potvin.|
To read the whole story and see all six of the Islanders goaltenders masks, click here.
POSTED ON Monday, 09.26.2011 / 5:22 PM ET
Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano confirmed the the first group on the ice at Iceworks would be the 20-man roster traveling to Calgary for tomorrow's exhibition following the club's second on-ice session. Shortly thereafter, the team boarded the bus to the airport.
If you missed it, here's the lineup:
As for the starting goaltender, it will be Evgeni Nabokov, though Mikko Koskinen will likely see time.
Capuano said, "He’s (Nabokov) played so much hockey and he understands we want to give the young kids a look as well. We know what he’s going to bring to the table he’s going to play, I don’t know if he’s going to play the whole game out there right now, but he’s going to play a majority of the game and as we move on he’s going to play more and more."
POSTED ON Monday, 09.26.2011 / 3:13 PM ET
Today's second on-ice session was ramped-up from the first group’s session. After the team defeated the Devils 6-2 on Saturday, they were given the day off to rest on Sunday. As a result, Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano skated the guys (who weren’t headed to Calgary for the exhibition) extremely hard.
“It was a good practice after a day off,” said Islanders defenseman Mike Mottau. “We worked on some stuff defensively, that’s when we did some one-on-one drills where we had to get up ice and come back quickly, get some speed.”
He added, “We briefly touched on some in-zone coverage and communicating with our forwards down low, so it was a good defensive day for us. At the end we did a little conditioning skates. It’s always good after a day off to skate it out and get ready to go back at it tomorrow.”
Despite having a good, hard practice, Islanders forward Matt Moulson said the day of rest was a welcome break from the intense on-ice and gym sessions.
“Obviously the day off was well needed,” Moulson said. “We’ve been going pretty hard, skating every day, so it was good to get some rest. Plus, we’ve talked about getting rest throughout the season this year and making sure we work hard when we are back to work. It was a real good work day today.”
Now that the team has begun their second full week of camp and there’s less than two weeks until opening night, what are the players focusing on individually? What's the mindset?
“I think just working on things you need to work on personally and as a team,” Moulson said. “We have to make sure we are ready to go October 8 with whatever that may be, system wise for the team aspect or personally working on things in your game you need to get going for the season.”
He added, “It’s been high intensity high pace every single practice we’ve had. I’m sure it’s going to be the case for the next two weeks so just making sure you’re making good decisions at a high pace.”
POSTED ON Monday, 09.26.2011 / 12:26 PM ET
The team is back at Iceworks for training camp. Here are the lineups from today's second session:
POSTED ON Monday, 09.26.2011 / 10:06 AM ET
Practice is under way here at Iceworks. Once again, there will be two sessions, with the first group most likely headed for Calgary later this afternoon. Capuano will confirm after the practice. They'll play the Islanders third exhibition of the 2011 preseason against the Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Tuesday night at 9 p.m. Eastern.
Kevin Poulin and Anton Klementyev are also on the ice, but will not be traveling.
POSTED ON Monday, 09.26.2011 / 9:08 AM ET
Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano has not made any announcements yet regarding the roster, but he did indicate to the media on Saturday that goaltender Evgeni Nabokov will soon be seeing some game action.
Follow us on Twitter for updates from the rink. Rosters will be posted soon.
POSTED ON Saturday, 09.24.2011 / 3:41 PM ET
For the Islanders top selections in each of the past two NHL Entry Drafts, having the opportunity to play in tonight’s preseason matchup against the New Jersey Devils is pretty exciting. What’s going on in the head’s of Ryan Strome and Nino Niederreiter? To show they belong in the lineup come Oct. 8 for the regular season opener.
“I’m a skill guy, but I think right now it’s important that I show that I fit in and play good defensively and be accountable on all ends of the ice,” said Strome, who was selected fifth overall in 2011. “It’s important that I give the coaches that mindset that if they put me out there, they can be comfortable.”
As Strome will see his first NHL action tonight, centering a line for Jay Pandolfo and Tim Wallace, he said there are definitely nerves, but he knows he has to play his game and prove he belongs out there.
He added, “Watching the game last night, it was a lot faster and a lot more physical. I think I’ve adjusted pretty quickly here. I’ve never played in a game, but hopefully I can adapt to all of the different changes out there.”
The situation is slightly different for the Isles fifth overall selection in 2010. Niederreiter played in preseason games last season and suited up for the Islanders during nine regular season games in the 2010-11 campaign before being sent back to his junior team, the Portland Winterhawks.
“I just want to play as best as possible and just make the little things, that’s all I can do,” Niederreiter said. “Preseason is a pretty high, intense level. It reminds me of last year, but it’s definitely different. I think I’m more prepared for it (this year).”
Niederreiter will play on the top line alongside last year’s leading scorer, John Tavares, and his linemate, Matt Moulson, in tonight’s game.
"Obviously, I have the pleasure of playing with Johnny and Moulson, that’s going to be amazing,” he said. “It’s the first game for them. I already had two rookie games under my belt (this year), so tonight is the first time we really can see if we have good chemistry or not.“
Niederreiter’s play in those two rookie games was noticed by Head Coach Jack Capuano. His expectations for Niederreiter tonight are to play loose and play his game, complimenting Tavares and Moulson.
“He’s been good, he’s in a great shape,” Capuano said of Niederreiter. “He’s paying attention to detail. I think I can see it in his eyes. He’s not a guy that I’ve spent a lot of time around, but he’s all business. He’s serious. He wants to make a push hard.”
He added, “I want to make sure that’s he’s not out there tight and nervous. He’s at the point now where I think he knows what he needs to do.”
Nerves or not, Niederreiter said, “It’s definitely going to be great and I’m just very excited.”