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ISLANDERS AUTHORIZED

Here you will find daily updates, features, and other behind-the-scenes information that may not make the headlines, but is important, interesting and something that Islander fans need to know.

For all other Islanders news, click here.

ISLANDERS AUTHORIZED: November 2009 | December 2009



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Posting (1/29/10 - 4:20 p.m.) - Ah the joys of playing house-league hockey.  You wake up early in the morning, run into your parents room to roll them out of bed, get dressed from head to toe in all of your hockey gear and jump in the car for the big game.  This morning, the Islanders reached back to those house-league days as they practiced at the University of Pennsylvania ice hockey rink in the center of downtown Philadelphia. 

The Islanders boarded their usual bus to practice on the road and headed over to the Wachovia Center.  Due to the fact that the 76ers are taking on the Los Angeles Lakers tonight, the basketball floor was down in preparation for tonight’s game.  So the players filed into the dressing room, and after 25 minutes came out of the room, one by one, with their lower gear on and their skates, shoulder pads, elbow pads and helmets in hand. 

The team showed up to the Class of 1923 Arena and it was every man for themselves as they climbed under the bus to get their bags and load them into the small locker rooms.  Once they finished putting their gear on, they took the ice with about 20 students sitting in the stands watching. 

Scott Gordon led the team through several drills to get their legs going and then gave them the rest of the time to shoot around and have some fun. 

Islander checking liners Blake Comeau and Rob Schremp used the time to gang up on the goalies.  Both forwards were firing pucks at Dwayne Roloson’s skates and pads until Roloson had enough and squirted Schremp with a face-full of water.  After that they were chasing each other all over the ice and when Martin Biron saw how Roloson was being ganged up on, he joined in the fun. 

The four house-league players…I mean NHL players…kidded around for about 10 minutes until the wily old veteran Brendan Witt stepped in and saw to it that his goalies were not taken advantage of.  All Witt had to do was slowly skate over next to Roloson with a smile on his face and the pucks stopped flying.  Neither Comeau nor Schremp wanted to be the one hitting their assistant captain with a puck that got away. 

If you can imagine two hyenas pestering two lion cubs until the papa lion steps in puts and end to it.  It was funny how quickly those two hyenas (Comeau and Schremp) skated away with smirks on their faces. 

“Its fun to skate at arenas like this because we’re so used to these massive buildings full of thousands of fans,” Freddy Meyer said as he finished up practice at UPenn.  “It reminds me a lot of the old arena at Boston University where I played college hockey.  The ceiling was a little lower so it would get really loud.” 

Bring in the Toughness: At today’s practice was newly signed enforcer Trevor Gillies.  The left-winger skated with John Tavares and Josh Bailey today as the regular on the right side of that line, Kyle Okposo had the day off.  Interesting news today from Gillies is that amazing fight that is linked below in the last Islanders Authorized posting where Gillies takes on Jeremy Yablonski of the Binghamton Senators, it turns out that Gillies and Yablonski are best friends.  In fact, Yablonski was a part of Gillies’ wedding party.  He spoke to Katie Strang of Newsday after practice and mentioned that they’re able to get on the ice and want to knock each other’s heads off but off it, they’re the best of friends. 

Posting (1/28/10 - 3:55 p.m.)
- The Islanders have just agreed to terms with Trevor Gillies to a NHL contract. 

The Cambridge, ON native was signed by the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the start of the 2009-10 season and since then, he has played in 18 games, scoring a goal and accumulating 123 penalty minutes.  The 6'3, 215 pound Gillies has played one prior game in the NHL with the Anaheim Ducks (formerly the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim) and in that one contest he totaled 23 penalty minutes.

His most recent fight with AHL heavy-weight Jeremy Yablonski can be seen by clicking on the link below, directing you to Sound TigersTV.  The fight is about 45 seconds into the highlight reel.

Gillies vs. Yablonski

Trevor Gillies Bio

Posting (1/27/10 - 10:55 a.m.) -
Islanders' defenseman Jack Hillen will miss the next 6-8 weeks with a broken jaw and damaged teeth.  After taking an Alex Ovechkin slap-shot to the face last night, Hillen was rushed to hospital for further evaluation.  He was in surgery last night and into the morning to insert plates into his jaw. 

In his place, defenseman Dustin Kohn was recalled from loan this morning and will join the team as they prepare for their four-game road swing.  Hillen will stay in the hospital for today and will most likely be discharged tomorrow.

Posting (1/26/10 - 4:15 p.m.) -
As most of the players were napping and getting their pregame meals in them for tonight's matchup against the Washington Capitals, Islanders' prospect Calvin de Haan was in the dressing room riding the bike as he prepares for his season ending shoulder surgery that should sideline him for the next six months. 

de Haan played in 34 games for the Oshawa Generals this season and scored 24 points (five goals and 19 assists).  He also competed for Team Canada in their silver medal run at the 2010 World Junior Championships in Saskatoon, SK.  de Haan played in four games for Team Canada and was a combined +4 with one assist.

Posting (1/25/10 - 9:30 a.m.) -
Islanders Authorized just learned this morning that Sound Tigers' forward Pascal Morency has just become a father after his wife Melissa gave birth to their healthy baby boy named Joseph. 

You may remember Morency as the player who came off the bench in the Islanders' exhibition game on September 17 against the Calgary Flames.  Morency, known as the guy within the Islanders' organization who will do anything to defend a teammate, went after Dion Phaneuf after he buried Kyle Okposo with a big open ice hit that sent the Islander forward to the hospital.  Morency immediately came off the bench and challenged the bigger Phaneuf, but the Calgary defenseman did not respond and Morency was thrown out of the game.  For Morency, the game was a major milestone in his career as it was the first time he saw NHL experience.  Due to the incident, he did not play in any more games because he received a suspension from the league for the remainder of the preseason.

From everyone with the Islanders, congratulations to Pascal and his wife Melissa.

"Two nurses told me this morning that he was a feisty one," Morency said of his new son.  Must take after his father...


Posting (1/23/10 - 11 p.m.)
- At the conclusion of the Islanders/Devils game on Saturday night, Dustin Kohn was returned on loan from the Islanders to the Sound Tigers.  Kohn was recalled earlier in the week to replace defenseman Andy Sutton who was suspended for two games after delivering a hit on Pittsburgh Penguins winger Pascal Dupuis. 

In the two games that Kohn played, he recorded his first career NHL point, an assist on Blake Comeau's game-tying goal on Thursday against the Florida Panthers.  Kohn finished the two games a combined +1 with on shot on goal.

Posting (1/21/10 - 11:50 p.m.) -
Nate Thompson was claimed off of waivers by the Tampa Bay Lightning just prior to the noon deadline.  He will join the Lightning today and travel down to Tampa Bay as the team begins a four-game home stand, starting tonight at the St. Pete Times Forum against the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

Dustin Kohn was officially recalled from loan by the Islanders today after Thompson was claimed and will play in his first NHL game tonight as the Islanders prepare to take on the Florida Panthers at 7 p.m. 

Posting (1/20/10 - 3:30 p.m.) - The NHL has announced that Islanders' defenseman Andy Sutton has been suspended for two games due to his hit on Pascal Dupuis in last night's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.  The official release from the league offices is below:

TORONTO (Jan. 20, 2010) -
New York Islanders defenseman Andy Sutton has been suspended for two games, without pay, for an incident in NHL game #738 against Pittsburgh Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis, Tuesday night, the National Hockey League announced today.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and based on his average annual salary, Sutton will forfeit $31,088.08.  The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

Sutton was assessed a major penalty and game misconduct for boarding at 17:05 of the third period.  Dupuis was injured on the play.    

Sutton will miss Thursday’s game against Florida and Jan. 23 against New Jersey.  He will be eligible to return Jan. 26 against Washington.

Posting (1/20/10 - 12:00 p.m.)
- The Islanders have placed forward Nate Thompson on waivers as of noon today.  If he clears after the 24-hour period he will report to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and could begin playing as early as this upcoming weekend when the team hits the road for two games, starting Friday in Albany against the River Rats and then Saturday in Binghamton against the Senators.

Posting (1/20/10 - 11:30 a.m.)
- Dustin Kohn completed his weekend at the 2010 AHL All-Star Classic in Portland last night by helping Team Canada defeat the PlanetUSA squad 10-9.  Kohn was not on the scoreboard but made his mark in the Skills Competition the night prior.  Kohn finished with a time of 13.997, which placed him in third behind Peoria Rivermen (St. Louis Blues affiliate) Lars Eller who completed the lap with a time of 13.790 and Bobby Sanguinetti of the Hartford Wolf Pack (New York Rangers affiliate) finishing with a time of 13.677. 

While Islanders' defenseman Andrew MacDonald played for the Sound Tigers the past two seasons, he grew a close friendship with Kohn and spoke with him to get his interpretation of the event. 

"He told me that he wasn't happy with the way he finished because when he made his final turn into the finish line, he went too wide and his skate got caught next to the board, which slowed him down just enough," MacDonald said.  "In every skating drill that we'd do in Bridgeport, 'Kohnner' was always the one leading the pack.  He is one of the fastest skaters I've ever played with."

To watch interviews with Kohn from the event, CLICK HERE

Interesting note:
All three of the Islander goalies, Rick DiPietro, Martin Biron and Dwayne Roloson all played in AHL All-Star games.  Roloson competed in the 19995, 1996 and 2001 games, Biron was in the 1999 game and DiPietro was a part of the 2002 game.

Posting (1/17/10 - 5:37 p.m.)
- The Sound Tigers issued a press release stating that defense prospect, Dustin Kohn will replace Mark Katic at the 2010 AHL All-Star Classic.  Katic was initially chosen to represent the Sound Tigers and play for Team Canada but has recently been side-lined by injury.

AHL Release


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Posting (1/17/10 - 2:20 p.m.) - Friendly bets are always the best.  Nobody loses money in the end and all that is won is pride, which sometimes is sweeter than money.  This morning at the Islanders' open practice at the Coliseum, the fans in attendance got to witness a bet between team captain Doug Weight and his "roommate" John Tavares.

As each player took the ice, they were introduced to the fans but as Tavares walked through the Islander drapes, Tim Beach (Director of Operations) got on the loud speaker and pointed out the special jersey the Islander rookie was wearing, a Team USA sweater.  If you know any hockey player, the pride they have for their home countries is immense and for Tavares, born and raised in Canada, to don a Team USA jersey, it was painful, but for Weight, nothing could have been sweeter.

"We had a bet during the World Junior Championships that if Team Canada won the gold medal game, I'd have to wear a Team Canada jersey during practice but if Team USA won, John would have to wear the red, white and blue," Weight said.  "When Team USA won the gold medal game over Canada in a 6-5 shootout victory, John's fait was sealed."

So as the team skated onto the ice in their colored jerseys that represented lines, Tavares had on a white Team USA jersey. 

"Its a tough day just because Dougie gets so much pleasure out of seeing me in that jersey," Tavares said.  "He can enjoy this one, but it won't last long." 

The moment the coaches called practice, Tavares stripped the Team USA jersey off and completed the skate with his shoulder pads and elbow pads showing. 

Jamboree: At 6:30 a.m. kids at the mite and squirt hockey levels poured into the Coliseum to participate in the Lighthouse Jamboree.  About 20 youth hockey teams skated this morning in 10 minute games on the ice split into three sections.  This afternoon, the older kids skated. 

The Day After: Following a night full of "DP" chants, the man himself, Rick DiPietro, did not skate this morning and instead was put through an off-ice workout with the team's Strength and Conditioning Coach, Jesse Demers.

Posting (1/16/10 - noon) -
Scott Gordon has confirmed that Rick DiPietro will start tonight's game against the Buffalo Sabres.  It will be his first start at the Nassau Coliseum since December 26, 2008 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.  In that game, DiPietro made 28 saves on 29 shots and had an assist on the Islanders' first goal, scored by Kyle Okposo.

Tid-Bit:
DiPietro will wear the Islanders royal blue jersey for the first time in his career tonight.  Last season was the first official year the Islanders wore the jersey and DiPietro never got the opportunity to dress a game when the team was wearing them. 

Posting (1/14/10 - 5 p.m.) -
The Islanders practiced for one of the first times on a non-game day today at the Nassau Coliseum.  As players got dressed, in their usual garb (skates, shoulder pads, shin guards, etc.), you wouldn’t know it but several of them had on a tight band wrapped around their core.  Attached to the band is a Polar Heart Rate monitor that Strength and Conditioning Coach, Jesse Demers uses to evaluate his players. 

It’s called the Polar Team 2 program and it is a real time heart monitor system that currently, about four other NHL team use the system but it is most popular with NFL and English Premier League players.  

“When the guys show up for the skate in the morning, I leave the strap in their stall so that they know it is their day to wear it,” Demers said.  “Once they have it on and practice starts, I go onto my computer which is collecting all of the data through a wireless system.” 

Demers has each players’ height, weight and age saved into the system so it is able to monitor their progression over the course of their careers with the Islanders. 

The goal of the system is to find the players’ minimum, average and maximum heart rates during a practice or game.  It is able to show the breakdown of calorie expenditure, duration of the intensity and heart rate throughout the work-load of the physical activity. 

Hockey is an an-aerobic sport, meaning it is more of a power sport that requires short bursts of energy as compared to an aerobic sport (such as soccer) that requires more long-term endurance.  Demers said hockey is about an 80/20 split between short bursts and endurance.  Each short burst, Demers has trained his players to have the ability to withstand over a 45 second to a minute time frame, mirroring their shifts on the ice. 

“I want to see how high they can peak (usually when the activity is most demanding), come back down into recovery and then get back to that high peak stage again,” Demers said.  “The quicker the recovery time they have, better equipped they will be for each shift they take during a game.  I will watch practice with my computer and track when they do a drill, their recovery time back in line, and then how quickly they can get back to that peak level again.” 

Based off the chart below, players will spend most of their time during practice, getting back to the Warm-Ups/Recovery stage because after each drill they need to catch their breath.  When the players get their heart rates up into the An-Aerobic and Threshold ranges, they’re hitting their maximum performance levels which gives them the ability to buffer waste products such as lactic acids and hydrogen that cause fatigue. 

Zone 1 Zone 2 Zone 3 Zone 4 Zone 5
Warm-Up/Recovery Aerobic/Recovery Moderate An-Aerobic Threshold
50 - 60% 60 - 70% 70 - 80% 80 - 90% 90 - 100%


The monitors are also used to track how close an injured player is to returning to the lineup.  The difference in playing in a game and a practice is big which made it seem like unchartered waters when a coach was deciding when a player was in their top an-aerobic shape to return to the lineup.  Now when players use the heart monitors in practice or off-ice workouts, Demers is able to see if a their an-aerobic shape is back to where it needs to be to get them back into the lineup. 

Posting (1/13/10 - 5:35 p.m.) -
Reported by Newsday earlier today: As of Jan. 2, the Islanders' TV ratings are up compared to last season by a higher percentage than those of any team in the NHL, according to the Sports Business Journal.

The Islanders' jump has remained impressive since then. Not counting Tuesday night, they are averaging 0.39 percent of area homes, up 105 percent from 0.19 this time last season.

Posting (1/13/10 - 11 a.m.) -
Islanders prospect Jason Gregoire has been honored as the Co-Offensive Player of the Week in the WCHA for his play in the University of North Dakota's sweep of conference rival Minnesota State, last weekend in Grand Forks, ND.

Gregoire, a sophomore from Winnipeg, MB had a four-goal weekend, scoring twice in Friday's 4-1 win over the Mavericks, then he followed that up with two more goals in Saturday's 3-2 win. The 5-foot-11, 196-pound winger scored the game-winning goal in both victories and was a +2 on the weekend.

A third-round draft pick (76th overall) of the New York Islanders in 2007, Gregoire has scored points in 10 of the last 11 games, amassing seven goals and seven assists during that stretch. He has taken over the team lead in points (19) and goals (12) and is tied for the national lead with four game-winning goals.

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Posting (1/13/10 - 10 a.m.) By Carmine Vetrano - New York Islanders Hall of Famer Bryan Trottier used two words to describe current Sound Tigers’ defenseman Dustin Kohn; veteran prospect.

At a glance, the two words are not necessarily put together in the sports world.  However in hockey, those two words mean a lot to an AHL player looking to make the jump into the NHL. 

“He’s a guy I talk to regularly,” Kohn said. “[Trottier] helps me out and gives me pointers and little lines of encouragement like that.  It’s definitely nice to hear that from him.”

Combine the two meanings, and there is a recipe for NHL stardom.  For Kohn, the amount of experience he has in the AHL makes him overly ready for the next step.

Kohn was selected in the second round, 46th overall, of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft by the Islanders.  Since his selection, Kohn has been making a name for himself within the organization, and especially Trottier and the Sound Tigers’ coaching staff.

“He can skate with the best with them.  That’s stuff you can’t teach and that is what he can bring to the table,” Sound Tigers assistant coach Pat Bingham said.  “That is why he is a NHL prospect.  He is a great guy and has a love for the game.”

The Edmonton, Alberta native started major junior hockey at 16-years of age and played four seasons in the Western Hockey League.  Kohn skated in 253 career WHL games, including 36 playoff contests. 

He has seen his jersey change twice during his junior stint, starting his young career with the Calgary Hitmen in 2003.  He would then play the remainder of the ’05-’06 season (two games) with the Sound Tigers.  Kohn would finish his junior career with 131 career points between the Hitmen and Brandon Wheat Kings.

After getting the taste of the AHL and finally completing his junior career, Kohn was ready for the pro game -- destination Bridgeport.

The then 20-year-old would start calling Arena at Harbor Yard his new office in ’07-’08 and has been a mainstay on the Sound Tigers blue line ever since.  Kohn is currently in his third season with the Islanders top affiliate, and has been progressing each year.

“An extra year of experience and confidence helps,” Kohn said about his recent success. “I am learning how important it is to be consistent all the time.”

In his first two seasons with the Sound Tigers, Kohn has played in 120 games and registered 29 points.

“Knowing my surroundings, teammates, and the coaching staff and what they want from me, it’s easier to be comfortable,” Kohn said.

Recently 6’1, 205 pound defenseman’s offensive production of 14 points is serving as a benefit to both him as well as the team, especially with his former defensive partner, Andrew MacDonald, up with the Islanders.  He is on pace to break his point total from last season of 17 and already eclipsed his 12 points in his rookie season.

“I think the points are a bonus,” Kohn added with a smile.  “ If you do get a bounce sometimes, it’s icing on the cake.  The most important thing for me is making a good first pass and being consistent every night, [as well as] being a guy who can play 20 or 22 minutes a [game].”

Bingham described Kohn’s success on the stat sheet from his perspective.

“He is playing the key man-advantage times and in situations where we need him,” Bingham explained.   “He is encouraged to join the play and is doing well at it.  Either he is getting points or we are scoring goals as a result of him creating those odd man chances.”

Defensively, number five has been more aggressive this season in hopes to change his current place of work.

“I think for myself to get to the NHL, I have to play more physical and compete hard every night,” Kohn said.  “To bring that edge to the game and hopefully to continue to get better at it will give me an added advantage to my game.”

Furthermore, Kohn has taken more of a leadership role with the younger guys on the team adding to his recipe for future NHL success.  At the age of 22, first year Sound Tigers such as former junior teammate Robin Figren and former WHL opponent Victor Bartley, can learn from a seasoned AHL player.

“They’re all very enthusiastic,” Kohn said.  “They all want to learn and work hard and my role as a leader has increased a little bit.  It is nice to have a 22-year-old encourage them and to help them feel more comfortable.”

Just like any AHL player, the goal is to make the jump into the NHL.  A player needs to have it all; potential, leadership, the experience.

The next step for Kohn would be a jersey change that he would without question happily greet.

Posting (1/12/10 - 7:30 a.m.) -
The country of Sweden will be well represented tonight as the Islanders take on the Detroit Red Wings.  Detroit has seven players on their roster that are from the country.  For the Islanders, they do not have any players from Sweden this season, but they do have a former Swedish defenseman, Kenny Jonsson, who became one of the the best all-around defenseman the Islanders have ever had.  Islanders' General Manager Garth Snow has informed Islanders Authorized Jonsson will attend tonight's game. 

Jonsson will be at the Coliseum all day today, visiting with the Islanders and then taking in the game.  Look for the Game Ops staff to honor him at some point during tonight's game and for IslandersTV to do a sit-down interview with the former Islander great, which will publish some time later this month.

Over the course of nine seasons with the Islanders, Jonsson compiled 57 goals and 219 assists for 276 points in 597 career games.

Posting (1/11/10 - 11 a.m. EASTERN TIME)
- Islanders' Assistant General Manager informed Islanders Authorized that Travis Hamonic was traded from the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League, to the Brandon Wheat Kings as they prepare for the post-season. 

In exchange for Hamonic, the Wheat Kings sent 17-year old defenseman Dallas Ehrhardt to Moose Jaw as well as a group of bantam draft picks, including a first and second round selection in 2010. The Warriors also get Brandon's second round pick in 2011.

Hamonic was a second round draft choice of the Islanders in the 2008 National Hockey League Entry Draft, is having a career year this season, through 31 games, Hamonic has ten goals and 39 points.

He was a member of last week's silver medal winning Canadian team at the World Junior Hockey Championships in Saskatoon. Hamonic suffered a separated shoulder during their semi-final game against Switzerland and is expected to miss at least another month.

In 171 career WHL games, the 6'2, 215 pound defenseman has 28 goals and 104 pointswith 305 penalty minutes.

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Posting (1/9/10 - 5:40 p.m. MOUNTAIN TIME) - Scott Gordon has confirmed in his pregame interviews with MSG PLUS that Freddy Meyer will dress tonight and Brendan Witt is scratched.  

This is Meyer's first game since the Islanders took on the New York Rangers at the Coliseum on December 17.  Meyer has six assists this season in 27 games played.  It is a coincidence that Meyer returns against the Phoenix Coyotes as he played five games in for the Coyotes during the 2007-08 season when he was waived by the Islanders and then reclaimed after Phoenix tried to send him through waivers the same season. 

Tonight's match-up with the Coyotes will put Meyer in his 28th game of the season, surpassing his total last year after suffering a season ending groin injury.

Posting (1/8/10 - 11:35 a.m. CENTRAL TIME)
- Its official, Rick DiPietro will start tonight's game against the Dallas Stars.  Islanders' Head Coach Scott Gordon confirmed with Islanders Authorized this morning as the team walked out to the pregame skate that he would start his first game since January 2, 2009 in Phoenix. 

The last time the Islanders were in Dallas was on November 15, 2006 when they defeated the Stars by the score of 3-0. DiPietro was in goal and earned the shutout for the Islanders, turning aside all 35 shots.

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Posting (1/7/10 - 10:15 a.m. CENTRAL TIME) - Islanders Authorized is not a spot where you’re going to find stories that “pump the tires” of your favorite players to make them look better in your eyes because they can do that on their own through their performances on the ice, but when a story like the one you're about to read comes along, its going to be written here. 

At the Islanders’ last home game on January 2 against the Atlanta Thrashers, Kyle Okposo did something that changed one little boy’s life in the 20 minutes in between the warm-up and when the team takes the ice for the opening puck drop.  One of the members of the Islanders’ PR staff was positioned in the home tunnel waiting to grab Rob Schremp for the game operations interview as the players walk off the ice from warm-ups.  He received a tap on the shoulder from one of the biggest Islander fans at the Coliseum every night, best known by the team’s training staff as FedEx Joe. 

“Hey, do you think you could help out the kid behind me get a puck from one of the guys as they come off the ice?” 

His name is Ryan O’Mack and his smile stretched from ear to ear as he dangled his arm over the railing waiting for one of the players to walk by.  Always first off the ice is defenseman Brendan Witt, followed by Dwayne Roloson (when he’s starting) and Jack Hillen.  As each player got closer to his five-year old hand, he started to jump up and down (literally) with excitement that he was about to touch one of his heroes. 

As the Islander staff member turned around, he saw that the boy suffered from Down syndrome and he knew that they needed to make this day something he’d never forget.  As Ryan turned each time to tell his mom about each sweaty player’s palm he touched, you could see the orange 21 on the back of his t-shirt and the name of Islander assistant captain, OKPOSO. 

Okposo, being one of the players on the team that has a routine prior to a game but often times is not bothered by if something interferes, especially if it involves taking care of a fan, was called over to the team’s bench.  He was told that the boy was in the home tunnel and had his t-shirt on.  Okposo gave a head nod and a wink and that was all he needed to know. 

The final buzzer blew on the warm-up and Okposo came skating to the team’s exit from the ice and looked up and saw Ryan waving his hand to get Okposo’s attention.  As Okposo came to Ryan, he stopped to look at the boy asking, “Hey bud, how’s it going,” and “thanks for coming.”  Ryan turned around to his mother and showed her that he not only got to touch Okposo’s hand but the Islander winger had put two pucks into it. 

Once the lights had gone down in the arena bowel, and the team had all returned to the dressing room, Okposo came back out of the room and called the team PR member to grab the kid and bring him down to the high-five area right outside of the locker-room.  Thankfully Ryan was still outside the home tunnel smiling and explaining to his mother and sister what had just happen.  The team PR member caught the mother and explained that Okposo wanted the boy to come down to the high-five area and see the team take the ice.  Her face lit up with excitement for Ryan, just as his did when he was handed the pucks by Okposo from warm-up. 

So, led by Ryan, they went down through the home tunnel and as he saw the Islander banners draped in front of the runway, he darted through just like his favorite players do every night.  Ryan found his spot at the corner of the Islander barriers outside of the Islanders’ dressing room and could not contain himself, high-fiving anyone who walked by.  Islanders’ Director of Communications, Seth Sylvan saw what was going on and went to the team’s equipment manager, Scott Boggs, and got a hat for him. 

“Who’s your favorite player Ryan?” Sylvan asked while placing the hat on his head. 

“DP, Witt and Poh-Soh (Okposo),” Ryan shouted out. 

With about four minutes showing on the scoreboard clock, the first of the Islanders’ players started to come out of the room and get into their traditional spots, ready to take the ice.  Jon Sim was first and when Ryan saw him at the top of the runway stretching, the ear-to-ear smile returned to his face and he began his game preparation of jumping with excitement once again. 

Sim screamed to one of the trainers, “Hey, I need a game puck!”  He handed the puck to Ryan and gave him a strong fist pump as he returned to his customary spot. 

Now Ryan’s night couldn’t get any better.  He had two pucks from warm-up, a hat and now a game-puck. 

“Here we go Roller,” Sim turned and yelled as Roloson began walking by, leading the team onto the ice.  Ryan’s hand once again was stretched to its max over the barriers and each player that passed gave him a smile and another high five. 

Okposo was given the heads up by Sylvan that he was there.  Mesmerized by the large bodies passing him one-by-one and tapping his hand, he did not see Okposo turn the corner with two sticks in hand.  Okposo got up to his new friend leaned down so he could see him better and handed him a game-used stick.  At the bottom it read, “To Ryan, All the best, Kyle Okposo.” 

Posting (1/6/10 - 4:10 p.m. MOUNTAIN TIME) -
Rick DiPietro will officially return to the Islanders lineup tonight as he will back-up goalie Dwayne Roloson as the team gets set to take on the Colorado Avalanche at 8 p.m. (ET).  Nate Thompson has also been removed from the IR and should return to the team's fourth line with Richard Park and Jon Sim. 

Posting (1/5/10 - 10:30 p.m. MOUNTAIN TIME) - Matt Donovan and Team USA defeated Team Canada tonight by the score of 6-5 in an overtime thriller.  After leading 5-3 with less than three minutes remaining in the third period, it was Jordan Eberle leading Team Canada to an improbable comeback, scoring two tallies to send the game to overtime.  In the extra session, it was Washington Capitals' prospect John Carlson scoring the game-winner, 4:31 in to give Team USA their first World Junior Championship since 2004. 

To read the game recap, CLICK HERE

For the highlights, CLICK HERE

Posting (1/5/10 - 6:35 p.m. MOUNTAIN TIME) - The Islanders have landed in Colorado and as the team landed, the hotel rep sent out an e-mail to Director of Communications Seth Sylvan that the USA/Canada World Junior Championship game can be viewed inside their hotel rooms.  So...right about now, Kyle Okposo, Jack Hillen and Andy Sutton are all together cheering on the Americans as Jeff Tambellini, John Tavares and Blake Comeau (all former members of Team Canada in the World Junior Championships) are routing for the Canadians. 

One side note is that Islander defense prospect, Travis Hamonic is on the bench, fully dressed supporting his team.  We've been told by Islanders Assistant General Manager that by having him on the bench for Team Canada, it does not count against the team for a roster spot so he is not taking a healthy player's spot. 

Earlier today at the tournament, Islander goalie prospect, Anders Nilsson won a bronze medal as Team Sweden defeated Team Switzerland by the score of 11-4. 

Posting (1/4/10 - 11:53 p.m.) -
Team Finland has beaten Russia by the score of 4-3 in Saskatoon, completing the World Junior Championship tournament in fifth place.  Islander defense prospect, Jyri Niemi scored a goal in the victory for Finland.  Petrov finished the game with an assist on Russia's first tally and four minutes in penalties.

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Posting (1/4/10 - 10 p.m.) - Islanders' Assistant General Manager Ryan Jankowski has just informed Islanders Authorized that Kirill Petrov was been named the captain for Team Russia for their game tonight against Finland.  Russia is battling Finland for the fifth place finish in the tournament. 

Nikita Filatov was the captain of the Russian team from the start of the tournament but was stripped in favor of Petrov for tonight's game.

Petrov was selected by the Islanders in the third round (73rd overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.  For the past four seasons, Petrov has played in his home-land of Russia in the KHL for Kazan Ak-Bars.

Posting (1/3/10 - 9:05 p.m.)
- Just got word that Hamonic has a grade 3, AC joint tear and will miss the next six to eight weeks.

Posting (1/3/10 - 8:40 p.m.) -
Islanders Authorized has just gotten word from Assistant General Manager, Ryan Jankowski who is out in Saskatoon, SK, that defense prospect Travis Hamonic will not play in the 2010 World Junior Championship game on Tuesday.  After hearing from Hockey Canada representative, Brad Pascal, Hamonic has a grade 2 separation at the least in his left shoulder.  Team Canada beat Switzerland earlier today by the score of 6-1 to advance to the Championship on Tuesday.

With less than two minutes remaining in regulation time, Hamonic was hit from behind, into the boards by Switzerland's Jeffrey Fuglister.  Hamonic crashed into the boards and favored his left shoulder as he skated off the ice.  Fuglister received a five-minute major for boarding and a game-misconduct and could suffer supplementary discipline.

The other Canadian defense prospect that the Islanders have in the tournament is Calvin de Haan who was injured but returned to the lineup tonight. 

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS FROM CANADA vs. SWITZERLAND

Posting (1/2/10 - 2:30 p.m.) -
Islanders' goalie Rick DiPietro started in his first game since December 12 for the organization's AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, turning aside 25 of the 28 shots he faced against the Providence Bruins.  The Sound Tigers were beaten 4-2 with the Bruins scoring an empty-net goal with a second remaining in the game.  To watch the highlights or read the game recap, CLICK HERE.

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Posting (1/1/10 - 12:40 p.m.) - As many of you sat around the TV, watching the Islanders take on the Senators on Thursday night, Islanders Authorized got the call from the team’s training staff at the start of the second period to report to the dressing room. 

With no time left on the clock at the end of the first period, Islanders’ forward Tim Jackman did what he does every night he steps onto the ice, finish his checks.  Thursday night, the victim of one of his hits was former Islander defenseman Chris Campoli.  Jackman buried the Senators’ defenseman behind the net and then as he looked up, saw Campoli’s defense partner, Matt Carkner skating towards him with his gloves off. 

“I finished the hit and then saw Carkner skating right for me with his gloves off,” Jackman said.  “If he came at me with his gloves on challenging me I probably would have dropped the gloves and fought him straight up but when I saw his gloves were already off, I knew we’d get a power-play if I took a punch or two.” 

Can you imagine that, taking a few punches to the face just for two minutes where your team has a man-advantage?  That is one characteristic that not many players have, but for Jackman, it shows just what kind of team player he is.  Jackman is always willing to take on any opponent to defend a teammate or benefit his team in any way. 

So…back to what happened. 

Jackman was escorted off the ice by one of the referees and joined his team in the dressing room, prepared to watch his Islanders' top power-play units take the ice and try to take advantage of Carkner’s double minor for roughing.  As Jackman sat in his stall, he felt some blood slowly trickle out of his nose so he got up and went to the bathroom to grab a tissue.  He went to blow his nose but when he did, a pocket of air went through his sinus and behind his eye. 

“I felt the air travel through my face and then all of a sudden, POP,” Jackman said.  “It immediately dropped me to my knees and when I tried to open my left eye, I couldn’t.  Right then I knew my night was over.” 

The rugged Islander winger was seen by the Islanders’ training staff but they ruled it was best to have him go to the hospital to get checked for precautionary reasons.  Jackman was walking and talking just fine and never lost consciousness.  The ambulance came and Jackman slipped inside and headed off to the local hospital in Ottawa.  There, the doctors checked him out after administering a cat-scan and ruled that everything was fine and that he was clear to fly home with the team. 

The last obstacle we had to overcome now was how were we going to get back to ScotiaBank Place, a 20 minute ride not considering the snow, on NEW YEAR’S EVE.  All the cabs were out taking the partygoers to the local bars and clubs.  When we originally arrived at the hospital we alerted the staff of our situation so they could try to have a cab waiting but on this special night, there were no cabs passing up a sure job to wait for us at the hospital. 

When Jackman was finished, the nurses were calling every taxi service in the area to try and get a ride but the consistent answer was that it would be about a 30-45 minute wait.  Jackman was fed updates of the game throughout his visit to the hospital and knew that the team was in the shootout after Robbie Schremp and Jon Sim had scored in regulation time.  That’s when one of the nurses (we won’t name her because she was on duty and being covered by another nurse so that she could help us get back to the rink to meet the team to board the plane) drove us back to the rink.  We made it just as the final guys were saying their good-byes to their family that had come to the game and jumped on the bus to head to the airport. 

“Was one of your New Year’s resolutions to help out total strangers,” Jackman asked the nurse. 

She replied by saying “This has been the best shift I’ve ever been on.  We had a little party for New Year’s and then I got to drive an NHL player.” 

When Jackman got on the plane he kidded one of the flight attendants by saying, “Excuse me mame, do you have a window seat on the right side?” 

The woman looked up and had a good laugh because she could see that he could not see anything out of his left eye, which would have made it impossible for him to see anything if he got the window seat. 

In the end, Jackman is fine.  He has a little soreness around his left temple where the swelling is but once the swelling goes down he will be right back in the Islanders’ lineup, finishing his checks just as if nothing had ever happened. 

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 PIT 31 21 6 4 99 71 46
2 TBL 33 20 10 3 110 87 43
3 NYI 31 21 10 0 99 89 42
4 DET 32 17 7 8 92 80 42
5 MTL 33 20 11 2 88 82 42
6 TOR 32 19 10 3 110 91 41
7 FLA 30 14 8 8 68 76 36
8 WSH 31 15 10 6 91 85 36
9 BOS 32 16 13 3 81 83 35
10 NYR 29 15 10 4 89 79 34
11 OTT 31 13 12 6 82 86 32
12 CBJ 31 13 15 3 76 100 29
13 PHI 31 11 14 6 81 92 28
14 BUF 32 13 17 2 62 100 28
15 NJD 33 11 16 6 74 96 28
16 CAR 31 9 19 3 66 88 21

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 31 12 15 -5 27
K. Okposo 31 7 20 -3 27
B. Nelson 31 13 11 4 24
R. Strome 31 6 15 10 21
F. Nielsen 31 6 11 0 17
N. Leddy 31 5 10 7 15
J. Boychuk 21 2 12 7 14
M. Grabovski 28 5 7 4 12
N. Kulemin 31 5 7 -3 12
T. Hickey 30 2 9 1 11
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 16 6 0 .917 2.35
C. Johnson 5 4 0 .868 3.59

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