Top Shelf – Islanders Daily 7/26/13


April 23, 2013; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders center

John Tavares

(91) looks on from the bench against the Carolina Hurricanes at the PNC center. The Hurricanes defeated the Islanders 4-3 in a shoot out. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Blues made yesterday’s big-ticket move in the NHL contract marketplace, signing free agent goaltender Jake Allen to a two-year deal worth $1.6 million. Allen provided much-needed depth at the position for the Blues last season, leading all rookie goalies with nine wins (9-4-0) and a 2.46 goals-against average.

When starting netminder Jaroslav Halak went down with an injury, the Blues were forced to rely on a combination of Allen and Brian Elliott in goal. Fortunately for St. Louis, Allen wasn’t a question mark in his 13 starts.

He posted a .905 save percentage and one shutout in 15 games played as the Blues finished the season as the Western Conference’s no. 4 seed (29-17-2, 60 points). St. Louis will still have to address the contract situations with Halak and Elliott, both of whom are scheduled to hit the free agent market after next season.

As far as New York’s most exciting young team goes, the New York Islanders were in the news yesterday, although not in the sense their fans have grown accustomed to seeing. But hey, at least the team got some of the national hockey spotlight on ESPN, right?

ESPN NHL blogger Paul Grant was the subject of scrutiny in Isles Country for his post titled, “John Tavares, Can You Do That Again?” And while his aim may have been to voice his concerns that the soon-to-be Isles captain might struggle to carry his team in 2013-14, the way in which he conveyed his opinion left something to be desired.

A lede that included the phrase, “Poor John Tavares. Being the best player on the New York Islanders is like being the best musician in One Direction: No one really takes you seriously,” didn’t help the writer’s cause.

In case the NHL writers and editors over at The Worldwide Leader in Sports hadn’t noticed, Tavares has led the Islanders to respectability since joining the team for the 2009-10 season. Oh, and he was a finalist—and considered by many to be deserving of—the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player last season.

So there’s that.

Poking fun at the Islanders by reciting tired facts about the team’s lackluster recent history (read: John Spano, the “fisherman” jerseys, the five consecutive last-place finishes in the Atlantic Division, etc.) isn’t “reporting.” It’s rehashing the same weak lines that have been spun into weak stories at major sports media outlets since 2006.

A little research could’ve saved Grant’s blog post. Or, you know…actually watching the Islanders play.

-MW (@MichaelWillhoft)

In Case You Missed It

Role Reversals: New York Islanders and Long Island Rangers? MSG Is On the Clock (EOI)

Mocking ESPN’s Mockery of John Tavares and the Islanders (Isles Optimism)

Zeitgeist: Possible Relocation Destinations for Madison Square Garden (Lighthouse Hockey)

Weight’s Induction Brings Back Fond Memories (New York Islanders)

USA Hockey Names Five for Hall of Fame (Miami Herald)

Blues Sign Allen to Two-Year Deal (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Ex-Agent: Luongo ‘Treated Like a Piece of Paper, a Fourth-Line Player’ by Vancouver (Pro Hockey Talk)

Two Minutes For Tweeting

I believe the appropriate response to this tweet—and Grant’s article if you’re an Isles fan— is as follows: LOLOLOLOL. (Yeah, I went all eighth-grader-chatting-on-AOL-instant-messenger right there. What of it?)

I’ll admit it: the minions from the Despicable Me franchise are pretty entertaining. But they’re no substitute for Islanders hockey. Well said, Jeremy. Well said.

Seems like the Isles are gaining a bit of notoriety off the ice. Even when there aren’t games being played, the Coliseum faithful make sure they’re heard in a crowd.

The fact that doctors call their work “practice” is unnerving enough. But outwardly displaying New York Rangers fandom? That might be grounds for an immediate revocation of a doctor’s medical license. (I’m kidding, of course. Or am I? Remember, it’s never too early to start ribbing Rangers fans.)

Shout-out to yesterday’s birthday boy, Evgeni Nabokov. 38 is the new 28, right?

As always, thanks for reading us at EyesOnIsles. Keep it right here for all of your NHL offseason coverage and up-to-the-minute Islanders news. Be sure to check the menu bar at the top of the page for ways to connect with the EyesOnIsles staff; we’re always happy to talk hockey.