Cappy's Battle Level Winners Week 1

Here at The Checking Line sometimes when things start to go south for the Islanders we try our best to lighten everyone's moods.  Although it seems to be that the Islanders are about to fall right into their annual November swoon, we can only hope that the hard work they HAVE put in up to this point (I think they've played decently well except against Colorado) will pay off with some bounces their way and some goals to go along with it.

That being said, the pitchforks are sharpened & the Isles twitter mob is chomping at the bit of every Isles mistake that is made on this road trip.  To combat that, we've come up with a playful little segment called "Cappy's Battle Level Awards" or "Cappy's" for short.  Our coach, Jack Capuano, has said on a few occasions the phrase "battle level", and although sometimes vague without context, when you dig deeper into what he is trying to say it all makes a lot more sense.

The Islanders are built to be a speedy, grinding, 200-ft team & nothing exemplifies that attitude quite like the words "battle level".  So every week we will have a new set of Islanders that stand out for their effort, tenacity, & playmaking ability.  The winners for week one are:

Nikolay Kulemin- If you were to open up a hockey dictionary & look for the phrase battle level, there would be a picture of Kulemin right next to it, with a wry smile.  Kulemin is everything a coach looks for in a complete player; strong forechecking, a scoring touch, defensively sound, responsible with the puck, & a good passer.  It also helps that he & Mikhail Grabovski are already loved on the Island.  He receives the first Cappy because of his excellent play in both zones all season, and hopefully he'll continue to live up to what was thought to be an overpriced contract.

Travis Hamonic- You might be surprised to see Hamonic, considering he's been hurt recently, but that's exactly why he's on here.  We're never sure how serious an "upper-body injury" is when coaches give the diagnosis, but you can tell Hamonic has played through lots of pain when he's been on the ice, especially against Pittsburgh earlier this year.  The kid is just tough as nails, & is slowly becoming a leader on this team.  If you haven't checked out the E:60 on him dealing with the death of his father, make sure to watch it because it shows how strong & humble of a person he is.

David Leggio- My final Cappy brings us up to Bridgeport, where goaltender David Leggio has brought a whole new meaning to the phrase "the post is a goalie's best friend".  The Sound Tigers were caught up ice after a giveaway, and it was an impending 2 on 0 for Leggio, so instead of trying to press his luck into guessing right on which winger would shoot, he took it into his own hands & dislodged the net purposely.  He then went on to save the penalty shot that was given as discipline for his action.  That my friends, is using your head!

Well that's all for the first weekly Cappy's Battle Level.  If you want us to include any other fun sections tweet us at @TCLIsles or myself @SupRos22.  Let's hope the Isles can end their skid tomorrow night against Anaheim.  Puck drops at 10:30 PM.  LGI!

-Chris Passarelli