Travis Hamonic couldn’t have asked for a better thanksgiving week if he tried. Yesterday morning Hamonic was recalled by the New York Islanders and is set to make his NHL debut tonight against Columbus.
“I got all antsy and I felt like a little kid again on Christmas morning,” Hamonic said while describing his reaction to the news. For the 19, soon to be 20, year old, it’s been a lifelong dream to get to this moment. “It’s been a lifetime wanting to play in the National Hockey League and when you finally get that call for the first time, there’s nothing like your first game.
Even in all the excitement, Hamonic Knew just who to call.
“I got on the phone right away to my family back home,” Hamonic said after the morning skate. ”They're just as excited because they've definitely been here along the way with me and it's nice that I can share it with them.”
Harmonic’s family made arrangements and will be on hand at the Coliseum tonight for their son’s first NHL game.
While Hamonic may not have made the team out of training camp, he has been playing very well down in Bridgeport. Harmonic leads the Sound Tigers defensemen in points.
However his stats aren’t the only indication of how well he has been doing. His coaches and teammates are also singing his praises.
“He's got some size, he’s a good skater and obviously a good puck moving defensemen,” Jack Capuano told reporters gathered at the morning skate. “He'll give us a shot from and give us the physical play if we need it.”
Dylan Reese also had plenty of good things to say about the young Isles defensemen.
“Travis is going to be a great player, there is no question,” Reese told WRHU Saturday morning prior to the Panthers/Isles game. “He's a great two way player, very physical, he’s been fighting quite a bit, not afraid to get out there and help out. He's got a great hard shot from the point and I think he's going to be a really great player. He's fine tuning his game and he came in with a lot of confidence, which is great for a rookie. He wasn’t afraid to make a play which is what you want at that level.”
Hamonic made sure he made mention of the people down in Bridgeport who have helped him along the way.
“The coaching staff and management down in Bridgeport showed a lot of confidence in me giving me a lot of ice time and a lot of big minutes in a lot of key situations,” Hamonic explained. “(I had)a lot of good teammates down (in Bridgeport) that defiantly helped me along the way and obviously the coaching staff helped me a lot to, So I'm thankful.”
Hamonic described tonight's game as the “biggest one in my career." He will have to overcome one thing tonight, the butterflies that go along with making your NHL debut.
“Obviously there is going to be a handful of emotions that going through my mind come the anthems and the warm up, “Hamonic told me. “But for me I’m really going to work hard on calming myself down and not letting those emotions get to my head. I just got to make sure I go out there and play my game and not get out of my comfort zone at all.”
That shouldn’t be too hard to do; this is a young man who’s played in the Memorial cup and on the World stage at the World Juniors. What one more game of hockey for this successful 19 year old defenseman.
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13 losses in a row…..not much else to say. When you think about, Howie Rose summed it up the best when he got caught jokingly asking if it was spring training yet off camera.
While the game was a far cry from the worst performance we’ve seen from the Islanders it also wasn’t the prettiest. The Isles allowed their opponent to once again get a lot of shots on net, 35 to be exact. They were outshot 14-6 in the first, 10-8 in the third and 35 -29 overall in the game. Oh, and outshot 1-0 in overtime and that 1 shot was the game winner. To make matters worse the Islanders power play once again was flat going 0-4 tonight. The icing on the cake however was when Mike Mottau left the game after taking a shot to the face. It was later learned Mottau was taken to the hospital but no other details were given.
The only saving grace from tonight’s game was a very strong performance by Rick Dipietro, who earned third star honors after the game. DP pushed away 33 of 35 shots including a one on one shot from Evander Kane on a shorthanded opportunity. After seeing his play decrease, it was good to see DP play very well and for the most part kept the Islanders in the game.
Next up is Columbus, that one should be interesting.]]>
Tonight the 4-11-3 Islanders look to end their 11 game losing streak by defeating the Panthers and giving coach Jack Capuano his first win, in just his second game.
I truly believe the Islanders could get an easy win tonight, but they need to move their feet. They can't spend time in their own zone, and they have to get the puck out of the zone in a easier way then dumping and chasing. Hopefully Jesse Joensuu, who was recently called up after Jon Sim was sent back down to Bridgeport, can spark the team.
Interim head coach Jack Capuano states the following on the Panthers via the Isles offical website:
“(The Panthers) are a quick team and transition well on defense,” Capuano said. “I watched the game last night against Boston. They’re well coached with Peter DeBoer there. So as far as what they do, we really need to generate offense and play solid defensive zone coverage.”
Captain Doug Weight will not play tonight according to the Islanders Twitter account. He will be out with back spasms. He missed practice yesterday as well. Rob Schremp is in to take his place. Good to see Schremp getting a chance as he's been the healthy scratch lately, along with Gillies.
Katie Strangtweets that Rick DiPietro will play tomorrow. So obviously Roloson, who's been on fire lately, will get the nod between the pipes.
Maybe the Isles could have good karma as their first loss of this 11 game skid resulted vs the Panthers on October 23rd in Florida. You never know! The game will air on MSG Plus 2, but apparently there is now an HD channel for it. Thank god!]]>
The passing of Pat Burns was a sad moment for the NHL and its fans. Sad not only because he was a great coach and hockey personality that has been taken from us, but sad because no one with authority saw it fit to take any initiative to get him into the Hockey Hall of Fame before his passing.
Due to his recurring cancer bouts, Burns himself had come out and said he was no longer going to fight the cancer and that he knew his “time” would be coming soon enough. Because of this, people who admired Burns wanted to see him get inducted into the Hall of Fame while he was still alive so he could live to see this prestigious achievement.
And this wasn’t just a sentimental story; not a, “he has cancer so let’s do something nice for him before he dies” type deal. He had a career record of 501-350-161-14, went to two Stanley Cup Finals and won the Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils in 2003. The man had Hall of Fame Credentials.
A Facebook group page named “Let’s Get Pat Burns into the Hockey Hall of Fame - NOW!” surfaced in late March and has since garnered over 70,000 members. Essentially a petition over 70,000 people have signed, the numbers weren’t enough to convince those who vote for the Hall of Fame ballot to elect him in, nor were enough for him to be given an honorary induction, regardless of the votes.
Now that he’s passed away, I wouldn’t be surprised to start seeing Hall of Fame officials tripping over themselves to get him in there now, and if not now, then get him in during next year’s voting process.
It’s a shame no one exercised enough initiative, authority and/or interest to get this deserving man into the Hall before he passed on. Hopefully, though, sometime in the near future, the right thing will be done and he will make his way into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
With utmost respect, rest in peace Mr. Pat Burns and thank you for what you brought to hockey.]]>
I’m guessing the week of November 15, 2010 will be one week the New York Islanders would like to forget. After firing their head coach Scott Gordon on Monday, the team has once again come under fire (deservingly) this time for pulling the credentials of popular blogger/writer Chris Botta of NYI Point Blank.
As one who has criticized Botta and a good portion of his writing in recent times, this is was a poor decision by a team that has made quite a few in recent history. As many know I’m not the biggest Chris Botta fan as of late due to posts such as this and this (in my opinion) unnecessary jab. Also other issues I have had with his analysis and such, but that does not change the fact he is one of the premier sources for Islanders news, up to the minute updates and his insight to the team is second to none due to his long standing history in the organization. He’s well respected through out the hockey community and like it or not he is one of the few media members in the area who actually cares about covering the Islanders.
The Islanders organization is often the punch line to many jokes (whether fair or not) and when they took away Botta’s credentials they became an even bigger punch line to many. The statement Media Relations director, Kimber Auerbach, gave was, “We funded his blog for the first year. When that changed he went from reporting the news to making the news.” He went on to tell Newsday, We have not stopped his blog. There are lots of bloggers out there who write from their homes, their couch, outside the arena. He just won't have access” The vague response left many questions unanswered and gave way for Botta’s explanation that it was a personal grudge that Garth Snow had with him that got him the boot.
Since then there has been (mostly) an out poor of support for Botta from the fans of the Islanders and many hockey media personalities and not so much for the Islanders. It’s hard to tell what the real reason actually was, but we know who was in the wrong. The Islanders. Taking away Botta’s credentials did the team nothing but make them look bad. I mean surely someone should have fore seen the backlash it would create, right? The Islanders took away the credentials of a man who has a massive following and provides the most consistent coverage, next to Newsday, of this team. Whether they dislike what he has written is irrelevant, they should not have taken his credentials away. It merely gives credence to anyone to continue to make jokes about this organization and more importantly angers a fan base that has suffered through so much already. It has angered fans so much that articles like this one from IHB’s own Nick McGuire have become more and more prevalent. As well as this grass roots campaign by Fred Faust trying to let the organization how displeased fans are by using protests, walk outs, chants, etc.
Hopefully, this can all be hashed out by the right people and this will all go away. But for now this is another black eye for the Isles organization and no matter who is right or wrong in the end, for the next few days or weeks, the Islanders will face some of the biggest backlash from their fanbase they’ve seen in a long time. And trust me, it wont be pretty.]]>
But now, in light of his less-than-flattering coverage of the team’s crash and burn, popular Islanders blogger, senior NHL writer for AOL FanHouse, and founder of Islanders Point Blank, Chris Botta, has had his media credentials pulled by the Isles’ front office.
The team confirmed that that AOL FanHouse and I.P.B. could continue to cover the team, as long as they sent someone other than Botta. This is a personal beef, not a professional one.
This controversy has stirred up the Professional Hockey Writers Association (an organization of which Botta is a member), and NHL officials may soon get involved.
It is important to note that the NYI Blog Box, Islanders Hockey Blog’s claim to fame, was created under Botta, when he worked for the team. So, if it were not for him, we at Islanders Hockey Blog would not have our media credentials.
I see this action as a clear warning shot, a warning shot to people like Katie Strang of Newsday, should she voice an opinion unflattering to the team. I see it as a warning shot to any of the members of the NYI Blog Box, including Islanders Hockey Blog, who could, just as easily, havetheir·credentials removed, in a heartbeat.
This action is a CLEAR manifestation of the frailty of our privilege of Blog Box membership, should our superiors find us to be irreverent and highly critical, as was Botta, before his plug was yanked.
This will surely not be the last you will hear about this controversy.
Stay with IHB for continuing coverage of the unfolding situation.]]>
Tonight, new Islanders head coach Jack Capuano will coach his first NHL game, and hopefully will get a win under his belt. There were a few changes made to the young Islanders system, but the coach states that he's going to maintain Scott Gordon's system along with the one he himself used in Bridgeport.
It seems that Rick DiPietro will get the start in goal tonight. If they were to start Rolie, then we'd know something is up with DP as Roloson has played five in a row so far. Rick isn't perfect and needs to work on some things to get back to his normal style of goaltending, but some goals aren't totally his fault either. I give Rick credit for atleast trying to stay healthy. It isn't easy to come back from multiple surgeries and play goalie.
This loosing streak can't go on to 11. It's just ridiculous and even the team realizes it. Garth Snow knew something had to be done as a new coach was named. It's also lack of scoring as well. The Islanders could of went out this off season and if they really wanted to they could of got guys like Stempniak or if they really were in bid for Kovalchuck, they could of got him. Even Satan who's yet to sign a deal with a team this season. But instead, they get third or fourth liner like Parenteau. Parenteau however hasn't been on the third or fourth line, but he isn't a proven scorer either. When we get Okposo back, hopefully he can help this team out. They need it.
With an 82 game schedule it’s next to impossible to ever get an even read on all the teams until the season is almost over. There’s always a discrepancy in the number of games played and therefore numbers are skewed.
You can look around at a lot of different websites that cover hockey and almost all of them have some type of power ranking system. Systems which are usually based off only opinion, but obviously looking at the standings to help form that opinion. And while writers aren’t supposed to be biased, it’s impossible for anyone to not have even the slightest bit of bias when ranking teams for their power standings.
Realizing that, I developed a power ranking system based off of numbers only, meaning you get a true reading of team success without any bias because the numbers don’t lie.
I used this system once near the end of last season and decided to introduce it earlier this year so I can update it a time or two throughout the year to see how teams are doing.
This is how I formulate my power ranking system: You take points percentage, power play percentage, penalty killing percentage and goal differential and all the sum of those four parts together. Those numbers are then ordered one through thirty and the higher the number the higher ranked a team is. No bias, just statistics.
Below are how the rankings fell, with the number being the total sum of the four above parts.
1-Los Angeles Kings-207.6
4-Detroit Red Wings-194.1
5-Vancouver Canucks-194.1 (Detroit wins the tie over Vancouver via points percentage)
8-San Jose Sharks-172.6
10-St. Louis Blues-169.1
12-Tampa Bay Lightning-157.4
13-Columbus Blue Jackets-157.1
14-New York Rangers-155.7
27-Toronto Maple Leafs-115.0
28-New York Islanders-114.0
29-New Jersey Devils-107.1
As is likely, there are some teams that play at a level equal to their numbers, some below and some above. Examples include Detroit and Toronto, who at 4th and 27th respectively, are the same in standings in my power rankings as well as the current league standings, while several teams throughout are only one or two off. The Boston Bruins are the largest gainer in my system, jumping 11 spots from their 18th spot in the league standings to 7th in my power rankings, while Phoenix is the biggest fall being 12th in the standings while coming in at 22nd in the power rankings. A bit of a coincidence that those two teams opened the season against one another in Europe. And a team of note, the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks, currently 9th in the league, ranked 16th in my power rankings. The biggest reason for their seven spot fall is their winning percentage, only 50%.
Let me know what you all think of the system and I’ll update these power rankings a few times more during the year. Let’s say the All-Star break and after the trade deadline, usually two good checkpoints to evaluate the standings.]]>
Shock and surprise are some of the reactions from fans and players when the news broke that the Islanders had fired Scott Gordon had been fired from his position as head coach of the New York Islanders. Gordon will still be with the organization but as an advisor to GM Garth Snow.
As much of a shock this is, it also shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to anyone. It’s a very popular trend in pro sports, especially New York, to dump the coach when things are going south, aka a 10 game losing streak. While the Islanders have been bad YOU CAN NOT blame this all on Scott Gordon. Yes, Gordon shares some of the blame for the ten game skids that the team is currently on but, more importantly so do the 23 guys who take the ice every game. The guys on the ice who have been outscored 40-16 and cannot score more than one goal in a game. This is a move that, as Chris Botta would say, only hides the real problems of this team.
While Capuano takes over for now, the big question becomes does he stay permanently or does another coach take over in the near future. A rumor that sprung up on twitter by @incarceratedbob that Doug Weight could become the new coach of the Islanders. Hey, if you look at the past they do like to keep it in the family sort to speak and wouldn’t be a stretch for the Islanders to hire the inexperienced candidate.
To add, new head coach Jack Capuano is on Long Island at Ice Works for todays practice according to Katie Strang.]]>