March 14, 2013; Tampa FL, USA; New York Islanders left wingEric Boulton
(36) skates with the puck as Tampa Bay Lightning right wingTeddy Purcell
(16) defends during the first period at Tampa Times Forum. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Astoria, NY – The New York Islanders offseason is in full swing. Well, kind of. Technically, general manager Garth Snow has been doing his thing, filling roster spots at both the AHL and NHL level by inking deals with Chris Bruton – formerly of the AHL’s Peoria Rivermen; and with Eric Boulton – formerly of your NEW. YORK. IIIIIIISLANDERRRRRRRS.
(If you say that last line in the voice of the Coliseum’s public address announcer, it’s almost like you’re back at the Coli. Try it. Admit it, you smiled a little bit. OK, I’ll stop now.)
They might not be the flashiest free agent signings, but they’re important nonetheless. Snow doesn’t take days off, and what he’s done by signing both players to cost-effective, short-term deals is add depth to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers’ and the Islanders’ rosters alike.
The Twitter reaction to the Boulton deal was harsh. (After all, trials in the Court of Public Opinion are swift and absolute, are they not?) However, it’s important to note that Boulton was only signed at slightly above NHL minimum salary and brings toughness and a respected locker room presence to the team. Snow spending the bare minimum for a “glue guy” is fine by me.
As for Bruton, when the news of his signing broke yesterday, most people – yours truly, included – spent a few minutes asking, “Who?” before googling his name and realizing that his career numbers and two-way deal likely mean he’ll be a depth guy for the Sound Tigers, at best.
You can never have too many bodies, especially if you can get them on the cheap.
After all, 82-game seasons don’t lend themselves to teams staying 100 percent healthy for their duration. Think of Boulton and Bruton as items in a contingency plan: you hope you don’t have to use – or overuse – them, but they’re there just in case something goes wrong.
These guys won’t fill up the stat sheet, but they certainly fill a role.
Fan Retrospective: Top 10 (EyesOnIsles)
Chris Bruton Joins the Islanders On One-Year Deal (Isles Optimism)
The 20 Types of Depressed Sports Fans (Grantland)
Floating Around The Twitter-Sphere
Not even the press box at Madison Square Garden is immune from the Islanders “bug.” Considering the spark that the Isles gave the NHL postseason during their first-round series with the Pittsburgh Penguins, it makes sense that the team would be missed now that it’s been eliminated. Whoever that media member was, I think he or she speaks for all of Isles Nation by saying that next year can’t come soon enough.
New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist put on a show again last night, only to be let down by his teammates on the offensive side of the puck. I’m sure that after an effort like that, Henrik can’t help but wonder what he has to do to get some scoring from his team. I’m just spitballing here, but if the Islanders are still putting up solid offensive numbers in two years, who knows…maybe The King looks at Brooklyn and decides he’d like a change of scenery.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, or you’re an NHL referee – kidding, kidding (kind of) – and you haven’t seen the results of the recent round of EA’s NHL 14 cover vote, the one and only John Tavares is among the four finalists. Keep voting for JT at covervote.nhl.com; let’s make sure the rest of the league knows that the face of the Islanders franchise has arrived.
…then again, can you ever really have too many Islanders shirts?
Last Night In The NHL
Boston Bruins vs. New York Rangers (BOS 3-0)
The Boston Bruins took control of their series against the New York Rangers with a 2-1 win in Game 3 at Madison Square Garden, earning a 3-0 series lead on the strength of their gritty play.
The Rangers looked to be a step slow all game long, despite scoring the game’s opening goal. A Ryan McDonagh shot from the point was deflected past Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask by Taylor Pyatt at 3:53 of the second period, but New York wasn’t able to make the lead stand up despite stellar play from their Vezina-caliber goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist.
Goals from Johnny Boychuk and Daniel Paille in the third period earned Boston a well-deserved victory. The Bruins controlled the pace of play for much of the game and killed off three penalties – as the Rangers’ power play woes continued – en route to the win.
Game 4 is scheduled for Thursday at 7:00 p.m. ET. Rangers fans are hoping that with their backs to the wall, their team will finally play to their potential. It would be a good time for New York to show up; their season depends on it.
Los Angeles Kings vs. San Jose Sharks (Tied 2-2)
San Jose was the more aggressive team during the game and it showed on their first goal of the night, as captain Joe Thornton bore down on the forecheck and was able to find Burns not once, but twice in front of the net. Burns put home a second chance opportunity off a nice pass from Thornton to give the Sharks a lead they would not relinquish.
Both teams have defended home ice in this series so far; as the team travel back to Los Angeles for Game 5 Thursday night at 10:30 p.m. ET, it’s up to the Kings to hold serve at home, or risk going down 3-2 and having to face the crowd at the Shark Tank with the series on the line.
Bruins vs. Rangers game highlights…
Kings vs. Sharks game highlights…
As always, thanks for reading us at EyesOnIsles. Keep it right here for all of your NHL playoff coverage and Isles offseason news. Be sure to check the menu bar at the top of the page for ways to connect with the EyesOnIsles staff, as we’re always happy to talk hockey.