Top Shelf : Islanders Daily 8/4/2013


Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning Islanders nation. The dog days of August are firmly entrenched now, although with temperatures expected to drop into the mid to upper 50s tonight across the Northeast, you would not know it by stepping outside. The only true sign for us would be the lack of any significant hockey news to bring you with each new passing day. That might slow down some other sites, but not Eyes On Isles, as we continue to peruse the internet for anything relevant and discuss some new fun ideas to grace the pages of our website.

Last night on Twitter, I posted that my gut feeling was that remaining free agents such as Mikhail Grabovski, Damien Brunner and even Brad Boyes have pretty much made their decisions on where to sign but are awaiting teams to clear more cap space before making it official. Word then filtered in this morning that Grabovski indeed might be signing with the Washington Capitals, but has to wait for them to make a trade.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, part of the exciting offensive movement in Edmonton, may not be ready to start the season on time after all, as he is still recovering from off-season shoulder surgery.

Rumors out of upstate New York claim that goaltender Ryan Miller has been or will be shortly asked to accept a trade.

Last week, we asked for mailbag questions and to be honest, the feedback was disappointing to say the least. Maybe a function of the summer or maybe Garth has really answered everyone’s queries with his moves but we did get a couple and two of those I will post and answer today.


1. I really liked Bailey (who I feel has more speed & creativity with the puck) playing with JT & considering Cappy split up JT & MM in the most important part of the season, do u feel that his LW spot is up for grabs in training camp?
Winnipeg, Manitoba

  • Thanks for your question Billy. I feel that Capuano’s decision in the playoffs was more to spread out the attack and not let Dan Blysma match up too easily. My feeling is he still likes Nielsen, Bailey and Okposo for their unique and very different skill sets they bring to a line. That being said, the competition is open and Pierre-Marc Bouchard is not guaranteed that prime spot.


2. Hello Eyes on Isles staff, I was wondering who you project will be Michael Grabner‘s new 3rd line center come opening night at the Rock?
Old Bridge, NJ

  • Hi Mike and thanks for your question. There is no question that future captain John Tavares leads the first unit, and my feeling is the lack of acquiring another center this off-season entrenches Frans Nielsen again as the second pivot.  You would have to think Casey Cizikas remains on the 4th line with Matt Martin, leaving Ryan Strome and Brock Nelson to battle it out in camp for the 3rd center. I still don’t think Strome, in his first full professional season, gets moved to wing and ends up on the first line.


Stay tuned for an exciting new feature that will be gracing the EyesOnIsles pages every Wednesday starting this week ; The Clutterbuck Chronicles as senior staff writer Mike Willhoft takes you inside the mind of the newest bash brother in blue and orange as he prepares for his first training camp on Long Island. I have resisted the urge to take a look at Mike’s draft in WordPress (as tough as that has been) because I don’t want to spoil the surprise even for myself. haha

-AG (@tazman19)

In Case You Missed It

Two Minutes For Tweeting

  • Oh it is indeed Mike….The Miami Dolphins and Dallas Cowboys kick off the pre-season this evening and that can only mean hockey is right around the corner. Just have to get through August and we’re golden!
  • Grabs commented he was sweating watching TV and this reply was five stars. Sometimes the team gives me heart palpitations but at the end of the day, with a defibrillator on hand, it’s all good.
  • Willhoft continues to produce Twitter gold, even with a summer cold (sniff, sniff) — so excited for the premier of the Clutterbuck Chronicles on Wednesday (shameless promotion-all the majors do it) hee hee
  • I would have to say the Italian hot dog at the Rock in Newark, NJ is absolutely amazing. My son and I were in absolute heaven. Then again, I am not sure if I qualify to answer this question as I have not been to more than 5 NHL venues.
  • And that’s all folks <drops microphone, walks off stage>