Top Shelf : Islanders Daily 3/20/14


The New York Islanders are in the midst of a disappointing season to say the least. They are also on an extended four day break from games, coming off possibly their worst loss of the season, a 6-0 defeat at the hands of the Minnesota Wild.

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What they have been looking towards is the future as they get a good long look at some of the exciting talent coming through the pipeline from Bridgeport in the American Hockey League.

Brock Nelson has been a mainstay since training camp and Calvin de Haan and Matt Donovan have both spent more than half the season on Long Island. They are now joined by Ryan Strome, Anders Lee, Mike Halmo and the latest addition, Kevin Czuczman.

The question regarding the goaltending has yet to be settled however and will remain as a black cloud over general manager Garth Snow‘s head until it’s solved. The fanbase seem to be willing to give him one more summer to acquire someone who can take the team into Barclays Center, a problem that was not properly addressed in 2013.

Jonas Hiller and Jaroslav Halak were the two names most mentioned, granted they do not sign extensions in Anaheim or Washington, of course, until a rumor surfaced that James Reimer wants out of Toronto. The Maple Leafs picked up Jonathan Bernier last season from the Los Angeles Kings and immediately gave him the number one role, relegating Reimer to the bench just months after he performed brilliantly in the playoffs against the Boston Bruins.

What a fit that would be. Grabbing a 26 year old with a career .914 save percentage (.923 in last years playoffs) and inserting him in front of Evgeni Nabokov (providing he signs a one year bridge deal) would delight the fanbase and give the Islanders hope for their last season at Nassau Coliseum. Anders Nilsson can then continue his development in Bridgeport with the likely scenario that Kevin Poulin moves on in free agency.

With all the speculation comes the hardest part however……getting it done.

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Across The Bridge

Hartford scored three third period goals on Kevin Poulin to defeat the Sound Tigers Wednesday night 4-1. The official AHL game recap can be found right here.

With their playoff hopes over, Bridgeport now looks to develop some young kids who one day might have a future in the National Hockey League.

Weekend home games against St.John’s and Portland are on tap with start times 7pm and 3pm, respectively.