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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 | January 2010 |



Posting (2/28/10 - 6:45 p.m.) - The Olympics are now officially over with Team Canada winning the gold medal on Sidney Crosby's overtime game-winner through the legs of Ryan Miller.  From everyone with the Islanders, we'd like wish wish congratulations to head coach Scott Gordon who served as Team USA's assistant coach throughout the tournament.  Gordon was seen behind the bench leading Team USA's forwards and was in charge of the penalty-kill. 

Congratulations also to Mark Streit who captained his Team Switzerland to the quarterfinal round of the tournament, before losing to Gordon and Team USA.  Streit finished with three assists in the five games he played and led all Swiss players in ice-time with 134:53. 

Team Canada not only won today in Vancouver but also at the Nassau Coliseum as Canadian players faced-off against the US/Euro born players.  Despite Rob Schremp's four-goal effort, it was newly resigned Andrew MacDonald burying the game-winning goal past Rick DiPietro to seal the win for the Canadian Islanders earlier today. 

The Islanders will skate tomorrow before the season resumes when they face-off against the Chicago Blackhawks.


Posting (2/25/10 - 6:10 p.m.) -
The New York Islanders have announced that Andrew MacDonald has agreed to terms on a four-year contract extension. 

MacDonald was recalled from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers during the month of November and has not returned after scoring a goal and three assists for four points in 38 games.  He has played over 20 minutes in 16 of the team's 19 contests during the New Year. 

Technically considered a rookie this season, MacDonald played in his NHL debut last season and was a +2 in three games.  Last season, MacDonald had a career year in his rookie campaign with the Sound Tigers, scoring nine goals and 24 assists for 33 points in 69 games.  He was also chosen to represent the Sound Tigers at the 2009 AHL All-Star Classic, skating for the Canadian All-Star team. 

The year prior, MacDonald split time between the Sound Tigers and their ECHL affiliate, the Utah Grizzlies.  In 37 games with Utah, MacDonald totaled 12 points before he was recalled by the Sound Tigers.  With the Sound Tigers that same season, the Islanders sixth round draft choice in 2006, tallied two goals and three assists for five points. 

Posting (2/23/10 - 11:30 a.m.) -

Islanders Authorized: Everyone wants to be in the locker-room for the pregame speeches.  Can you give us an idea of what the speech was before the Canada game by the coaching staff to the players?

Scott Gordon:
We talked about the pressure they had on them because it was Canada, playing in the Olympics in their home country.  There are about 30 million people in the country and the numbers we heard was that at least 20 million were watching the previous game between Canada and the Swiss so we knew going into the game, how important it was not only to them but to the entire country.  Everything else said was the systems that we needed execute to be successful.  We though there was no medal at the end of the game, we wanted to stress its importance.

IA: How important was it to get Rafalski’s goal within the first minute of play?

SG:
Without question, that was huge.  Especially in a game of that magnitude.  We were able to get the wheels going to get Team Canada to thinking that this was not going to be an easy game.  It was the first time they trailed at any point of the Olympics and even when they scored, we were able to answer right away.  Holding the lead was an important part of our success. 

IA: People have talked about how young a team of so many first time Olympians you guys have but it was the vets like Rafalski, Langenbrunner and Drury scoring the goals.  How important have they been in meshing the team together?

SG:
Those guys have been around for a while.  They have experience.  Chris Drury has been in pressure situations ever since he played little league baseball.  Some people thought he shouldn’t be there, but you can see why he was selected now.  When there is more at stake he raises his game to another level and it isn’t so much the goals he’s scored but his efforts on the penalty kill and blocking shots.  With the experience and attitude he’s had, knowing his role and going forward has been great for our team. 

IA: It’s may be hard to see now but give me one lasting image that you have been able to take away from that game that will stay with you. 

SG:
I think when Kesler scored the empty-netter for the fifth goal of the game to solidify the win.  You could feel on the bench how huge this win was for our team. Now we have put ourselves in a situation to win three games instead of four to win the gold medal.  We still have a long road ahead of us with some tough teams but there is a light at the end of the tunnel you can start to see.  We are happy to be seeded one though because it means we don’t have to go up against some of the top teams in Sweden, Russia or Canada until the possible gold medal game.

IA: What was the feeling like on the bench throughout the game?

SG:
Biggest thing that I saw was the excitement and enthusiasm.  It’s very easy to take for granted the players getting excited because it is such a huge game.  The emotion and passion on every goal and at the end of the game, everyone was feeling pretty good.  Those are the moments you play for, to be a part of something like that and you could see how much everyone enjoyed it. 

IA: In those final two minutes of the game, Canada had you hemmed in the zone.  Did you or the bench see yourself looking up to the scoreboard, counting the seconds down?

SG:
When it was 4-3, and they scored on a fluky bounce to get them down one, I remember thinking we needed to hold to this with such little time left.  It wasn’t the way we wanted to win the game but looking back now, we’ll definitely take it.  We were coming off two penalty kills and didn’t have much time to establish anything.  On that second power-play, they had a couple of chances.  At that point, it was just trying to get through it. There was about a minute and a half where you didn’t know what was going to happen.  When we got the empty netter, we knew it would be tough for them to get two in less than a minute so we felt we had the game in hand at that point. 

IA: With yesterday being the anniversary of the 1980 Soviet game, were you pleasantly surprised to see so much attention on the win?  People were talking about it on morning TV shows, radio stations and other news outlets that hardly ever talk about sports, let alone HOCKEY. 

SG:
Its games like that win over Canada that put the game on the map for Americans.  It brings the casual fan back to watching hockey.  We feel we not only have hockey fans watching but sports fans, people who like the Olympics.  It is easy to attach yourself to any sport in the Olympics when a team/country is having success.  For no other reason, it’s USA vs. the rest of the world.  Whatever sport you’re watching, you want the USA to beat the other country and that’s a thing where being successful in the first three games, garners a new found enthusiasm. Like when the US won silver in ‘02 or the gold in 1980.  People became hockey fans.  As these events go on, it increases the passion and enthusiasm for the country and we’re just extremely proud to be a part of it. 

IA: Mike Eruzione and Jim Craig have been seen at the games in Vancouver.  Has either gotten a chance to come and speak to the team?

SG: Eruzione came by the first night before the Olympics and said a few words to the guys to raise their passion levels for playing for the country. 

IA: How do you keep the team from overlooking the next round and continuing to play at the level they are?

SG: It’s obviously the benefit of beating Canada.  The guys had the day off yesterday to decompress and then practice today with the batteries recharged and ready for the next opponent.  It’s not so much as who we’re playing but the opportunity to win a game and earn the chance to get a medal.  If you win that semi-final you’re guaranteed to get a medal, whether its gold or silver. 

IA: Take us through yesterday?  Any special reactions from fans or people reaching out to the team?

SG: We have gotten a few letters and they’re hung in the dressing room but with how technology is now, everything is text messaging.  When we get to practice today, we’ll all share some of the better reactions we all received.   

When I got to the hotel after the Canada game, my family was there waiting and told me that it was just so quiet.  Nobody was out partying like they were all expecting because the whole country was disappointed.  It was strange to see but a good feeling for us going into the medal rounds this week. 

Posting (2/20/10 - 11:30 p.m.)
- After Team USA's first day off of the Winter Olympics, Scott Gordon calls into Islanders Authorized to answer a few questions and talk about the biggest game of the tournament coming up on Sunday against Canada. 

Islanders Authorized: As a team, what did you take away from the win against Norway? 

Scott Gordon: I think the biggest thing for us is when we move the puck and are skating, we are much more affective.  From the few practices and games we’ve had, the way we pas the puck and go to the open areas to keep the play moving is impressive.  When we get away from that however, such as in the second period against Norway, we struggle.  Another thing that really stood out to me is the skill of Ryan Miller.  I always thought he was a great goalie but for him to have 11 shots at one point of the game that was so lop-sided and then for him to have to face so many high scoring opportunities was really impressive.  He made timely saves, the types of saves that do not give the opposition the time to think they’re in the game. 

IA: After the Norway win, you went up into the crowd and watched the Canada vs. Switzerland game.  Can you talk about watching that incredible game? 

SG: With the high quality of teams in this tournament, every year the Swiss do not get the credit they deserve.  They play as close a style to the North American hockey as any team in the tournament.  They have a hard pressuring fore-check and finish every one of their checks. What they lack in scoring, they accomplish what they need to stay in the game with those two key elements.  You’ll always notice that no matter what team they play, the Swiss never get blown out, and have won some major tournaments in the past. 

As far as the game against Canada, once the Swiss scored their second goal, they took the play to Canada.  With a couple breaks late in the game, they may have been able to put Canada away and skate off with the three points. It wasn’t a surprise that they were able to play as well as they did.  This is by no means a knock at Canada but instead a compliment to the Swiss on how well they played. 

IA: You were able to sit back as a spectator and watch Mark Streit.  What are some of the elements of his game that stood out to you?

SG: One thing with Mark is some of the little things he does go unnoticed.  His puck patience is extremely impressive.  He has a high threshold of patience with the puck when he is under pressure.  You take it for granted because he has the ability to protect, shield and get himself into positions where the opponent has to take a penalty to create a turnover.  They’re subtle moves he makes but the opponent can’t get the puck.  People also do not realize how strong he really is.  He took two BIG hits from Ryan Getzlaf and then was run over by a Canadian d-man.  On Getzlaf’s second hit, they both fell to the ice because Mark braced himself and turned the play from being finished to finishing Getzlaf.  You don’t pay attention to it but as a spectator I could take a step back and observe from a different vantage point. 

IA: The big game against Canada is coming up on Sunday.  What were you and the coaching staff writing down during the game to bring to your team’s attention come game-time? 

SG: We will talk about the same thing every game as far as executing our systems no matter the team we’re playing.  We will talk about their players and the different line combinations they have.  There is a lot of pressure on Canada and we will stress that.  They’re here to win gold in front of their fans, nothing else.  I’m just stating the obvious for them.  We have the same goal but the pressure is really on them. 

IA: Talk about some of the talent that you’re going to run up against in Canada on Sunday.  How do you prepare your team for them? 

SG: Depending on if Brodeur plays, I know things about him but its also Parise and Langenbrunner who will know some of the weaknesses he may have, if any.  One thing Ron (Wilson – head coach) does a real good job with is he doesn’t allow his players to over-think.  There is always a feeling that you need to know X, Y and Z to win the game.  The biggest thing is structure but at the same time you can’t put the players in situation when they’re trying to absorb so much information that they forget about just going out and playing hockey.  He balances it so well.  At the end of the day, if you have the right players they’ll go out there and succeed.  Give them the structure they need and its in their hands. 

IA: What did you do today because it was an off day as you prepare for practice on Saturday and then the big game on Sunday? 

SG: Today was a day off and tomorrow we’ll practice.  We thought that it was important that the players have time to get away, walk around and see what they want to see. For me it was nice to be with my family.  We went up Grouse Mountain and took some pictures.  We came back and had a team dinner with the women’s team at a local golf course. 

IA: There seems to be a team goal to get to the high scoring areas, which are in front of the net.  Is that a team philosophy that you’ve put on the players? 

SG: There is no secret that the puck is going to end up there.  For most of our forwards, an integral part of their game is to get there. It is something you talk about all the time but we also talk about shooting first and passing second.  With guys like Zach Parise and Phil Kessel, you don’t have to tell them to shoot the puck.  We have a good mix of guys that are not afraid to shoot and others who know their job is to get to the net if they’re not shooting.

Have a good day at practice tomorrow coach and good luck against Canada! 

Posting (2/18/10 - 9:40 a.m.) -
Mark Streit spent some time with Islanders Authorized this morning to go over his thoughts from Team Switzerland's first game against Team USA and then what he did on his "off-day" in Vancouver. 

Islanders Authorized:
Talk about Tuesday.  Everything from when you woke up until game-time.  Then what did you do with the rest of the day after the game?

Mark Streit: We had a pretty early wake up call for the game. We met at the village gym around 7.30 a.m. for a little warm up. After we had our usual pregame meal, our bus departed at 9.30 a.m. for the rink.  Since we had a noon game we had lots of free time the rest of the day. After the post-game meal and media interviews, I got some treatment from the trainers and then headed out into the city.  I went downtown Vancouver for dinner with a few guys and coincidentally bumped into my family!  Downtown Vancouver was absolutely crazy after the Canadiens beat Norway in the evening game. There were thousands of people on the streets celebrating Canada’s victory.  In Europe, that only happens during the World Cup of Soccer, but never in hockey. It was overwhelming.

IA: Was it strange playing a game at noon at such a high stage?

MS: We focused on having a good start to the game. We expected the US to come out really hard, that’s why we needed to be really ready from the start. I think we did a pretty good job.

IA: What players on the Swiss team are you closest with?

MS: I am really tight with Mathias Seger, Ivo Rüthemann and Martin Plüss. We’ve known each other for 15 years.

IA: Obviously the goal of the tournament is to win games but were you proud of the way your team battled against a talented USA squad?

MS: I am really proud of the boys. The level of play that most of the team competes at in the Swiss Elite League is such a big difference between the level the Olympics are played at. We made the adjustment really well and battled hard. There were a lot of positives to take carry over to the game against Canada and a couple of things we need to improve on as well.

IA: Were you able to see Scott Gordon after the game?

MS: I bumped into him and his family by accident at a restaurant in downtown Vancouver. We spoke a little bit about the game.

IA: What did you do on Wednesday, technically a day off because you didn’t have any games? 

MS: Our practice was really late (4:45 p.m. West Coast time). I went to the city around lunchtime and met my family and friends for a little chat. They’ve really enjoyed the whole Olympic experience just as much as I am. Vancouver is a beautiful city and the people are huge sports fans. What a place to have the Olympic Games, its really incredible. 

IA:
Are there any athletes from other sports that you've met or are looking forward to meeting?

MS: I’ve been talking a bit with the other Swiss athletes because our country is in the same living quarters. The group that I’d most like to meet is the Swiss skiers but unfortunately they’re all staying at Whistler Mountain.  I don’t know if I’ll get to meet them. 

Posting (2/17/10 - 10:30 p.m.) - Scott Gordon checks in tonight to talk about Team USA's victory over Team Switzerland on Tuesday and then what he has been doing to prepare for Norway on Thursday. 

Islanders Authorized: Talk us through your day on Tuesday.

Scott Gordon:
When we woke up, we had breakfast and headed to the rink for the game.  After, we watched Canada and Norway play, I was finally able to meet my family. We went to a restaurant in the local area and grabbed something to eat and it was nice to spend the remainder of the night with them. I went to the hotel that all of the accompanying family members of athletes were staying.  After that I went back to the village, checked in and went to bed. 

IA: Why isn’t your family able to stay in the village with you?  Are they allowed in the village?

SG: Family can go to the village but are only allowed in within the hours of 9 a.m. through 9 p.m.  My family will come in on Saturday but for them to be allowed in, they have to be approved by the Olympic staff.  I have given them their passports and other information to allow them to visit.  All of this has to be submitted 24 hours prior to the date you’d like them to visit, for approval.

IA: What are some of the things that impressed you and things you addressed as needing to improve as you enter the game against Norway Thursday?


SG: We didn’t like our third period against Switzerland.  It was a combination of being flat-footed and us not moving the puck.  The poor decisions we made in the offensive-zone led to their chances.  From the game and the score, Switzerland is a tough team to play, especially in the first game of the tournament.  We had a lot of anxiety, with the travel, press schedule, to talking about the systems, getting suited the equipment and then fitting in time to eat.  It’s an incredible experience but it is a lot mentally to absorb.  We are glad to get the first one out of the way and are looking forward to taking on a tough team in Norway. 

IA: Any players stand out for Team USA that you didn't know how good they were until coaching them?

SG: For us, it’s not so much that any certain guy stands out because we know each other from the summer orientation.  To watch these guys now though, sharing the same bench, you realize their skill and ability.  Some of the plays they can make under pressure and in traffic are incredible. 

IA: Were you able to see Mark after the game yesterday? 

SG: Its funny, because after their was no time to go over and see him but after the  Norway/Canada game, when I grabbed dinner with my family, Mark coincidentally, walked into the same restaurant.  There was a window separating the restaurant but when he walked by, we saw each other through the window.  After we were finished, we stopped by to say hi and he said the same thing, that he was tired.  Everything that went into the pregame rituals compressed into such a short amount of time was a lot.  You could tell with our players and from the look on Mark’s face, they were happy the first game was over. 

IA: Has there been any time to see other events?

SG: Not at all.  The free time I’ve had, I’ve spent with my family.  We did make a point to go and see the Olympic cauldron.

IA: Any athletes from other sports that you’ve gotten to meet in the village or around the area? 

SG: In the village, they’ve built from my vantage point, about five condo buildings and that’s where all athletes competing in the Olympics are housed.  For the USA team, our complex is strictly American athletes.  The hockey team is on one floor but the building consists of a mix of American athletes.  In the other buildings, some countries don’t have many athletes so there is a tremendous mix.  In the village, there is a dining hall with all kinds of foods so that each athlete is nourishing the way they did in prior to arriving in Vancouver.  They have Asian food, a salad bar, fruit, Italian and even a McDonalds.  There is an information center, merchandise store, bank, lounge with pool tables and TVs set-up and an area for the athletes to get on the computer.

IA: Without giving us the USA game-plan for taking on Norway, what do you need to do to win?


SG: The biggest thing with Norway is not taking them lightly. 

Posting (2/15/10 - 11 p.m.) -
Islanders Authorized will talk to team Olympians Mark Streit and Scott Gordon throughout the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games.  Monday was Day 1 for the Olympians in Vancouver and IA checked in with the Islanders’ head coach Scott Gordon and defenseman Mark Streit to see what was going on in preparation for their game on Tuesday against one another. 

Islanders Authorized:
When the final buzzer sounded last night against the Senators, talk us through your night until your head hit the pillow in Vancouver.

Scott Gordon: We had a car set-up outside the Coliseum, so we jumped in and were taken to the airport.  The flight left at 10 p.m. and it went by pretty quickly.  We were with the Rangers and Devils Olympic representatives.  I spoke with John Tortorella a little bit but when we finally boarded we both fired our computers on and did some work.  We landed 45 minutes ahead of time so that was nice.  When we landed, we all grabbed our luggage and were then taken to get our accreditation, allowing us into the Olympic Village.  By about 1:30 (West Coast time) we arrived in the village and by 2 p.m. I was in bed.  The village is set-up with numerous condos which are pretty much full, two-bedroom apartments.

Mark Streit:
A lot of guys were on that plane, mostly Rangers and Tampa Bay players.  I took it easy, relaxed and watched a movie.

IA: Did your family join you in Vancouver and are you planning any time to do the “touristy” things? 

SG: We really have not and most likely will not have much time to take in the sites and witness some of the other Olympic events.  Speaking with you is the first time I’ve had any downtime today.  We play tomorrow at 12 p.m. (West Coast time) so I will see them after the game.  I’m sure they’re going to get to take in some of the “touristy” sites but being here as a coach you don’t get that opportunity.  Once we play one game, we’re preparing for the next.  Right after our game against Switzerland, we’ll head right into the stands to scout the Canada/Norway game.  As a player, you have more time to play the games and then go to other events to watch because you don’t have to really prepare information for the next opponent, you just go out and play the game with the information the coaching staff provides. 

MS: I went to bed at 2 a.m. (West Coast time) and had an early skate. After, I took a nap in the afternoon and went to the city to walk around. It was crazy, so many people.

IA: Can you describe the atmosphere there in Vancouver?  The build up to the hockey portion of these Winter Olympic Games has been immense, do you feel the anticipation as the games start?

SG: Only thing I’ve really seen today has been the village and rink for practice.  We’ve done a lot of PR stuff so far.  The players have addressed so many media members that it will be good to finally start the games.  This morning we had breakfast with the coaching staff.  Once Ron (Wilson, head coach) got back from rules meeting this morning, we had lunch as a team and then had a meeting to go over the different systems we’ll be implementing.  After that we jumped on the bus to practice.  We had a meal after practice and then will have a meeting to go over Switzerland. 

MS: Everyone is ready for the hockey portion of the game to begin.  You know that they’re a hockey town but this tournament is raising the bar to another level. The village is really nice, it’s a great setup. It’s pretty cool to see all the athletes from all over the world! This a once in a lifetime experience.  I am looking forward to seeing other events but I don’t know if I’ll have time to go.  Whistler (skiing) mountain is 2 hours away, so it’s a long drive.

IA: None of the teams have played a game yet.  I know you can get tape from other games in the NHL but in this tournament, how can you show video of Switzerland when they haven’t even played a game yet?

SG: They played an exhibition game in Winnipeg and we have footage from that. 

IA: Mark, talk about your first day and what is the feeling coming into the tournament with Switzerland?  How do you see the team having success?

MS: We had a practice at 10 a.m., just a short skate to bring the team together on the ice. The rest of the afternoon was off. We had our meeting about Team USA after dinner. We are the underdog, no question. The USA has a really strong team, its going be a huge challenge for us. 

IA: What is the adjustment period like for these players, who may have played against one another a night ago to pulling on the Team USA sweater two nights later? 

SG: That was the main reason for the orientation camp this past summer.  There, the guys were able to get to know each other.  When the final decisions came out, it was easy for the guys to come here because of the familiarity they have from the summer and from past teams playing together.  The whole purpose was to come in here with the feeling of what it is like to be teammates. 

IA: How do you go from playing/coaching with each other a night ago to preparing to shut battle against each other on Tuesday?

SG: Well…I made a mistake.  I should have played him 35 minutes the other night against Ottawa to wear him down so he would have been tired to play us tomorrow night. (Gordon said with a laugh) It’s tough because he now becomes the enemy. I want him to play as well as I know he possibly can, but I want to win.  It is really no different from other guys I’ve coached at one time and then gone against.  I wish him well but now we need to beat him. 

MS: Its part of playing international hockey, you face a lot of friends, ex-teammates and coaches during those Tournaments. Once the puck drops its all business, you just want to win. 

IA: What is it like to be the head coach of the Islanders and now have to take a secondary role as the assistant coach?

SG: You have more of an opportunity to watch the game as an assistant.  You don’t have to worry about who is next on a line change or trying to match combinations with the other team’s players.  Ron (Wilson) has given me the privilege of coaching the forwards for tournament.

IA: Mark, is there an adjustment you have to make from going with the Islanders system to then playing for Switzerland?

MS: I’ve been playing for Switzerland since ‘97. Our coach has been the same since ‘98. The system is pretty much the same, which makes the adjustment a bit easier.

IA: Good luck guys!

SG/MS: Thanks and we’ll check in again soon.

Posting (2/14/10 - 8:30 p.m.) -
The Islanders have officially assigned defenseman Dustin Kohn and forwards Jesse Joensuu and Matt Martin to the Sound Tigers.  They will rejoin the Bridgeport Sound Tigers tomorrow and all three are expected to dress in the team's upcoming games, including Wednesday against the Lowell Devils.  

Mark Streit and Scott Gordon completed their post-game responsibilities with the team meetings and interviews with the press, then headed to the airport as they have a 9:45 flight to Vancouver, BC.  Streit and Gordon will match up in the tournament's first game on Tuesday when Team Switzerland goes up against Team USA. 

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Posting (2/12/10 - 6 p.m.) - There is one thing that will bring every fan in an arena, no matter which side they’re cheering for, out of their seats and that’s a fight.  The newest Islander on the team’s roster, Matt Martin has been in plenty in his career but on Wednesday night he dropped the gloves for the first time in the National Hockey League. 

Islanders Authorized sat down with Martin after the Islanders’ practice this morning to try to have him relive the moment once again. 

Islanders Authorized:
  Early in the game, Mike Rupp went after Andy Sutton to try and get some retribution for his teammate, Pascal Dupuis after Sutton was ejected from the teams’ last meeting on 1/19/09 for a hit from behind.  You stepped in there.  Can you give us some idea of what was said? 

Matt Martin:  I wasn’t at the game when Sutton hit Dupuis but I saw the highlights so it clicked when Rupp was going after Suts as to why.  Andy is a big strong man who can handle himself when it comes to a fight but he is also a catalyst on defense for us who needs to be on the ice matched up against guys like Malkin and Crosby and not in the penalty box for five minutes.  When I saw Rupp trying to challenge him, I knew I needed to step in because Suts plays a big role on defense.  Rupp shook his head and skated away and that was it. 

IA: Talk us through how your first NHL fight with Tyler Kennedy came about. 

MM:  It was the next shift that I stepped onto the ice and hit Kennedy.  He turned around and he asked me if I wanted to go and the rest is history.  Coming into the game, I didn’t know much about him as a player or fighter because I’d never played against him.  I watched him obviously in the Stanley Cup Finals but that’s about it.  Before every game, I always check the stats to see who are the tougher/chippier players.  From his numbers, I knew he’d fought before so when he asked me I was more than happy to drop the gloves with him.  When I got to the penalty box, I was tired.  There is so much adrenaline going when you’re in a fight that you don’t realize how tired you are but when I sat down, I felt it. 

IA:  What was the reaction from the team after the fight?

MM:  Seeing the guys on the bench when I came out of the box, tapping their sticks and yelling for me was something I’ll never forget.  Guys like Doug Weight and Mark Streit showing their appreciation was special.  In the dressing room during the intermission, Streit and Suts came over and tapped me on the pads.  It was exciting. 

IA: How do you train or prepare yourself for a fight?

MM:  Before I ever really started fighting in junior, my father told me to always be the aggressor or else I’d be the one on my back.  In junior, I never really knew strategies or how to study an opponent but this season, playing with Trevor Gillies, he’s been a tremendous influence on me.  Gillies, told me to try to slow down in my fights and concentrate on getting leverage on the other guy, making it easier to take advantage of their mistakes. 

IA:  This is your first professional season.  You fought Rob Davison, a former Islander in your first fight.  Take us through that tilt.

MM:  We were in Lowell, playing the Devils, and Davison was someone I had fought in exhibition so I knew he would go.  Even with his strength, I was able to stand toe-to-toe with him and it was right then that I knew I could handle the pro game.  Going into the game, I knew Davison had played in the NHL and been a tough guy so he was someone I did target as a respected opponent that I was hoping to measure myself against. 

Photo Gallery
Posting (2/9/10 - 1:30 p.m) - Islanders' assistant captain, Mark Streit had a whole slew of support at this morning's pregame skate.  A Swiss Team, preparing to compete in the Quebec International PeeWee Tournament was on hand to watch the skate and cheer on their favorite hockey player. 

After the pregame skate, Streit walked over to the team's home tunnel and met each member of the team, signing autographs and taking pictures.  He answered questions about what it is like to play in the NHL, the excitement of the upcoming Winter Olympics in Vancouver and some of his favorite things about Switzerland.  We would obviously like to translate it here for you but since they were all speaking in French, it made it tough to understand.

Prior to the Islanders' game tonight against the Nashville Predators, the Swiss Team will take on the Junior Islanders in an exhibition game as each team prepares for the Tournament starting this weekend.  The Junior Islanders are coached by a former player, Benoit Hogue who also took the Junior Islanders to China for the Charles B. Wang Project Hope Tournament. 

Posting (2/8/10 - 10:40 p.m.) - It is official, Islander prospects Matt Martin and Jesse Joensuu have been recalled from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers this morning as the team takes the ice for their practice.  Martin will wear number 46 with the big club after wearing number 27 this season with the Sound Tigers. 

Through 53 games with the Sound Tigers this season, Martin has nine goals and nine assists for 18 points while Joensuu has tallied 33 points (11 goals and 22 assists) in 46 games played this season.  Joensuu was recalled from loan by the Islanders earlier this season and played in seven games, scoring his second career NHL goal against the Florida Panthers on December 14.

Posting (2/7/10 - 1:40 p.m.)
- The New York Islanders are expected to place forward Josh Bailey on the Injured Reserve list and two likely candidates that the team may call-up are Jesse Joensuu, who has seen time with the Islanders earlier this season, and Matt Martin, the Islanders' fifth round selection in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. 

Goaltender Martin Biron has been recalled from his conditioning stint with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers after helping the team earn a 6-4 win over the Manchester Monarchs last night at Arena at Harbor Yard.  Biron made 27 saves on 31 shots to earn the victory.  Martin scored the game-clinching goal, his ninth of the season, coming late in the third period.  He also had an assist on Robin Figren's goal in the first period. 

Stay tuned to Islanders Authorized for the official news from Islanders' General Manager Garth Snow. 

Posting (2/5/10 - 10:35 p.m.)
- The Bridgeport Sound Tigers were in Massachusetts tonight taking on the Springfield Falcons with two familiar faces in Brendan Witt and Martin Biron in the lineup.  Unfortunately it was the Islanders' former first round draft choice, Ryan O'Marra, spoiling their debuts as he scored the game-winning goal for the Falcons in overtime, to win the game for the Edmonton Oilers' affiliate, 3-2. 

After falling behind 2-0, the Sound Tigers fought their way back with goals from Tyler Haskins and Trevor Smith to send the game to overtime.  Biron finished the game with 38 saves on 41 shots in his first game action since the Islanders took on the Philadelphia Flyers on December 27, 2009. 

Islanders' left-wing, Matt Moulson was about an hour south of the MassMutual Center in downtown Springfield watching Cornell University (Moulson's alma mater) battle it out with Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT. 

Moulson's brother Chris followed in his big brother's footsteps and is skating for the Big Red.  Cornell defeated Quinnipiac by the score of 2-0.  Moulson was interviewed during both intermissions, talking about his experiences this season with the Islanders and what it was like to play college hockey, first on Cornell's radio station and then CBS College Sportsline TV.

Posting (2/5/10 - 10 a.m.)
- Ever wonder why Freddy Meyer wears number 44 or how Trent Hunter wound up with the number 7?  Islanders Authorized went around to each player, asking them why/how they got their number. 

#2 Mark Streit – I used to wear 32 with the Montreal Canadiens before I came to the Islanders but my real lucky number my whole life was #7.  Obviously when I came to the Islanders I could not wear 7 because Trent Hunter had it and I wanted to change from 32 so my father convinced me to wear number 2 because that was his number on his handball team back in Switzerland. 

#7 Trent Hunter – Before I came to the Islanders, I had always worn #21 in junior and when I played for the Sound Tigers.  When I had finally earned a roster spot with the Islanders, Mike Milbury gave me #7 to wear because at the time Mariusz Czerkawski was coming back from playing the year prior with the Montreal Canadiens.   When he was with the Islanders for the five years prior, he wore #21 so they gave him the number.

#8 Bruno Gervais – The number 8 was what I was given from the team.  A lot of the guys were given their numbers on the team.  I’d always worn either #27 or #12 prior to coming to reaching the Islanders.  I’m still waiting for the equipment staff to ask me what number I’d like to wear (Gervais said with a laugh as assistant equipment manager Richard “Shakey” Krouse lingered near by). 

#10 Richard Park – I never was too particular about my number.  I’d always liked number 10 and 18 and that is what I’d worn for most of my career.  When I was drafted by Pittsburgh I was given number 76 because I wore number 77 in junior.  In Vancouver and Minnesota I wore number 18. 

#12 Josh Bailey – When I first started with the Islanders I was given number 27 in prospect camp.  Once I’d finally made the team, I was changed to number 12 because Jeremy Colliton at the time was wearing #27. 

#13 Rob Schremp – I’d always worn number 44 and really liked the number but when I came to the Islanders this season, Freddy Meyer had it.  With the Oilers I was #88 but hated it so I knew I wanted to pick a totally new number.  I went with 13 because my father had worn it when he used to play growing up and like they always say, the unlucky 13 so I wanted to make it lucky for me. 

#15 Jeff Tambellini – My grandfather wore the number with the Trail Smoke Eaters in the BCHL and they were the last amateur team to win the World Championship.  Ever since then, my father wore #15 and I just wanted to follow. 

#16 Jon Sim – The #16 was the only number available to me when I came to the team.  I’d worn #14 in Dallas, Nashville and Atlanta but when I came to the Islanders in the 2007-08 season, Chris Campoli was already wearing the number.  Its funny because my son picked number 14 for his youth hockey team as well. 

#20 Sean Bergenheim – I’d worn #10 my whole career prior to playing with the Islanders.  When I was in Bridgeport my last year and been called up, #10 wasn’t available because Richard Park was wearing it so I double the 10 and got 20. 

#21 Kyle Okposo – I was given the choice of either number 12 or 21.  I wore 12 with Bridgeport but chose to flip the number and take 21 because growing up, Peter Forsberg was my favorite player and he wore 21 so I was excited to wear the number. 

#24 Radek Martinek – Martinek is back on Long Island and was a part of the Islanders prior to when Islanders’ equipment manager Scott Boggs came in so we will have to report back on the reasoning behind #24 for Martinek. 

#25 Andy Sutton –
The number 25 was what I wore in college and I really liked the way it looked.  When I got to San Jose my first year, Vincent Damphousse was wearing the number but when I got to Minnesota and then Atlanta, I had number 25. 

#26 Matt Moulson – I’ve never picked a number my entire career.  When I joined the Islanders, I was told I was going to wear #26 and I didn’t really care but I was training with Martin St. Louis (Tampa Bay) and Ryan Shannon (Ottawa) and they said it would be good luck because we all had number 26 and so far the number has been good to me. 

#28 Tim Jackman – Jackman was not on the trip but Islanders Authorized spoke to the team’s equipment manager Scott Boggs about how Jackman wound up with #28.  “Jacks is the easiest guy to please.  When I told him that we had #28 for him, he said perfect and that was that.”

#30 Dwayne Roloson – I’d worn number 30 my whole career but most recently in Edmonton I was wearing number 35 only because when I joined the Oilers, Jussi Markkanen had it so I had to switch.  When I joined the Islanders I knew nobody had it so I was excited to get back in number 30. 

#32 Brendan Witt – When I first broke into the league in Washington, Dale Hunter was there and he was the captain.  When I was asked what number I wanted when I came to the Islanders, picking #32 in honor of him was a no brainer. 

#38 Jack Hillen – Hillen is back on Long Island after suffering a broken jaw but Boggs spoke about how Hillen got #38.  “When we signed Jack, we had to scramble to get all of his gear ready and a jersey made for him because he was playing the next night against the Rangers.  #38 was the only jersey that did not have a nameplate on the back so that’s how he got #38. 

#39 Rick DiPietro – I had no choice, I had to change my favorite number when I joined the Islanders.  Throughout my career in USA Development, college and then with the Sound Tigers, I wore number 29 but when I got to the Islanders, Kenny Jonsson was already wearing it so I just changed the 2 to a 3 and got #39. 

#43 Martin Biron – Its kind of a long story but when I played junior and in the AHL with Rochester, I wore #00.  Even in my first NHL game with the Sabres, I wore #00 but the NHL made a rule at the start of the 19998-99 season to disallow the number.  I had the choice of changing to #1 but hated that.  My brother at the time was playing for Shawinigan in the QMJHL and wore #34 which someone already had in Buffalo so I flipped the numbers and got #43. 

#44 Freddy Meyer – I wore #34 when I first broke into the league with the Flyers but when I was traded to the Islanders, Wade Dubielewicz already had it so I took #44. 

#47 Andrew MacDonald – I had been wearing #43 before this season with the Islanders but the team gave it to me.  When the Islanders signed Martin Biron, I knew it was his number so I surrendered it because I didn’t really have any ties to it and took #47, which has turned out to be pretty lucky for me thus far this season. 

#51 Frans Nielsen – #51 was what the number on the back of my jersey when I joined the Islanders.  I really like it now and wouldn’t change it but prior to joining the Islanders I wore #16 in the SEL and in Denmark. 

#57 Blake Comeau – I wore #14 my whole career in junior, at the World Junior Championships and in Bridgeport, but with the Islanders, my number was 57.  The training staff had given the number to me at my first Training Camp and at first I wanted to change it because it was a number that nobody had but now I really like it.  I can make it my own and wouldn’t change it if I could.

#91 John Tavares – I used to be #19 when I was younger, playing in minor hockey, but I changed teams and someone already was wearing it so I needed something new.  I decided to flip the numbers and it just so happened that I had a really good year so I have kept it ever since. 

#93 Doug Weight –
I’ve always worn #39 my whole career but when I came to the Islanders, some no-name goalie had it (Weight said with a smile) so Billy (Guerin) presented me with the numbers in reverse, 93. 

Posting (2/4/10 - 4:45 p.m.)
- The Islanders have officially assigned defenseman Brendan Witt to the team's AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.  The paper-work was passed by the league at 4:45 p.m. after Witt was placed on waivers as of noon yesterday. 

Posting (2/3/10 - 5:45 p.m.)
- The Islanders have announced that Islanders' forward, Josh Bailey will miss the next two weeks with an upper body injury suffered in the Islanders' 2-0 loss to the Florida Panthers on Sunday.  Bailey is expected to return to the Islanders' lineup as players return to their repective teams at the end of the Olympic Break. 

As reported this morning by Islanders' beat reporter Katie Strang at her blog linked below, Brendan Witt has been placed on waivers as of noon today.  If he clears the 24-hour window, he will be assigned to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. 

KATIE STRANG BLOG


Posting (2/2/10 - 4:30 p.m.)
- Islanders' goalie Martin Biron has been sent to Bridgeport on a conditioning loan.  He will leave Florida today and meet the Sound Tigers in Bridgeport tonight as they prepare for their games on Friday in Springfield and on Saturday at Arena at Harbor Yard against the Manchester Monarchs. 

Expect Biron to dress in both games and then return to the Islanders on Sunday. 

In other news, Trevor Gillies has cleared waivers and will rejoin the Sound Tigers today.  Josh Bailey returned to Long Island today to be evaluated on an upper body injury that he suffered in the Islanders 2-0 loss to the Florida Panthers on Sunday.

Posting (2/1/10 - 3 p.m.) -
The Islanders have just placed left-wing Trevor Gillies on waivers.  He was recently agreed to terms on a two-way NHL/AHL deal.  Since this is the first time since going back to Bridgeport, he must clear waivers with his new contract before he can rejoin the Sound Tigers who he had been playing with since the start of the 2009-10 season. 

Gilies was brought up to play in the Islanders' game on Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers to add some needed toughness to the lineup. He played only 3:16 but was a vocal force on the bench, cheering on his teammates and making sure the Flyers did not take any liberties with the Islanders more skilled players. 

The best line from "Gilly" as the players like to call him, was when he was walking out to the bus, the day prior to the Philadelphia game to practice at the University of Pennsylvania.  Someone kidding joked with him saying, "I bet you didn't think you'd have to get dressed and jump on a bus in your gear for practice when you got here."

Gillies responded by saying, "I will do this everyday if it means I get to play in the NHL."

Posting (2/1/10 - 3 p.m.)
- Today is an off-day for the team.  Several players took the liberty of receiving a massage from team Massage Therapist Jim Miccio, to relax their muscles after playing their 13th back-to-back set this season.  Tonight is the Rookie Dinner where every first year player takes out the rest of the team and pays for dinner.  Filet mignon, lobster and other very expensive entrees are usually ordered, much to the chagrin of the rookies.  However, every player has gone through it so in a way you could say that paying for the Rookie Dinner is a right of passage that means you've finally made it. 

On the hook for the bill tonight is Andrew MacDonald, Dustin Kohn, Rob Schremp, Matt Moulson and John Tavares.

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
K. Okposo 71 27 42 -9 69
J. Tavares 59 24 42 -6 66
F. Nielsen 80 25 33 -11 58
J. Bailey 77 8 30 -8 38
B. Nelson 72 14 12 -10 26
M. Grabner 64 12 14 -10 26
T. Hickey 82 4 18 5 22
C. Clutterbuck 73 12 7 -9 19
C. McDonald 70 8 10 -22 18
R. Strome 37 7 11 -1 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
E. Nabokov 15 14 8 .905 2.74
K. Poulin 11 16 1 .891 3.29

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