Cappy's Battle Level All Star Weekend

At the end of the first half of the season (technically more), the New York Islanders have secured second place in the entire Eastern Conference, first place in the Metropolitan Division with a record of 31-14-1 & 63 points.  Here at TCL, the Cappy's encapsulate what has gotten the Islanders to this point, and what will drive them towards future success & hopefully a long Stanley Cup run.

Depth Scoring- At the halfway point, it's very hard to single out one player to commend for the Islander's plethora on depth scoring.  Nikolay Kulemin is currently scorching hot, while in the past few weeks there have been cycles of Anders Lee, Ryan Strome, & even Matt Martin who were lighting up the lamp.  At the end of the day the depth scoring stems from two things: the maturation of the KID line (if you consider Fransy a kid), & the brutal, grinding forecheck of the Islanders on all fronts.  No longer are the days where John Tavares & Kyle Okposo need to score at least one goal between the two of them to have any chance of winning a game.  As much as people bitch & moan about the Islanders needing a left-winger, Josh Bailey has fit very well with them, & him being there balances out the rest of the lines where most of the scoring is coming from.  It's a great problem to have when Mikhail Grabovski comes back we don't know who's going to rest or sit, but the Islanders would be nowhere without their Bottom Six.

The Entire Fourth Line- Speaking of depth, if you were to tell me that the most important line for the New York Islanders would be their 4th line, I would've laughed you out of the building.  As it stands, however, Matt Martin, Casey Cizikas, & Cal Clutterbuck probably are the most integral part of this team.  They do all the dirty work, whether it be forechecking the opposing team til it gives way to a turnover, ramming guys into the boards, chipping in on the penalty kill, or even using their scoring touch, the guys have been all over the ice, & are finally getting credit for all the hard work they put in.  Don Cherry even said that this 4th line may be the best in hockey history.  You can truly see the impact of the Isles fourth line in the Philly game on MLK Day.  The Flyers had just scored & were buzzing for another when Capuano threw the 4th line on the ice.  They took Philly right out of their game, crashing them into benches & boards, while also re-energizing the crowd & shifting the momentum back to the Islanders.  It's amazing what 45 seconds can do to change a game.  That credit all goes to the Energy Line.

Nick Leddy & Johnny Boychuk- A lot of the credit as to why the Islanders have been much better defensively may have gone to the stellar job Jaro Halak has done, but it's these two guys, in more ways than one that have really held down the fort defensively.  They are both producing career highs in points & goals, playing defensively sound, bringing a veteran, Stanley Cup tested mentality to the team.  The most important factor however, is the two of them eat up minutes like crazy.  This allows guys like Calvin de Haan & Travis Hamonic to further grow into stud D-men while not being thrown into the gauntlet like A-Mac was last year.  It also gives guys like Thomas Hickey room to grow as well, and given that one opportunity to shine when Hammer, Boychuk & Lubo were out, Hickey did a fantastic job.  The amount of skill & talent these two guys have makes the Islanders a better team by allowing their young defensemen to grow & learn from them.  It also allows the youngins, Pulock & Griffin Reinhart, the opportunity to hone their game in Bridgeport.


The Draft for the ASG in Columbus kicks off at 7 tonight.  Look for JT to get taken in the first three rounds, while Jaro will probably be picked more towards the end.  The ASG is on Sunday at 5 PM, while there will be many skills competitions throughout the weekend.  Happy ASG weekend everyone!