Jason Brough

Getty

No production from Ladd among many concerns for Isles

4 Comments

The New York Islanders went into last night’s home game looking to prove Tuesday’s 6-1 loss to Tampa Bay wasn’t really who they were.

Alas, it’s hard to say they succeeded, after a 3-2 shootout defeat in which they were outshot 42-27 by the visitors from Philadelphia. With the loss, the Isles fell to 4-6-1 on the season, with possession stats that rank among the worst in the NHL.

What’s the biggest concern for head coach Jack Capuano?

It’s how to replace the offense that Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen, and Matt Martin took when they left in free agency

“Where are we going to get point production?” Capuano asked reporters. “One hundred and thirty-four points out of our lineup that we lost. Now we have to find a way. Like everything gets magnified, I get it. You guys are talking about the (losses) lately…but we have to find a way to get some balanced offense in our hockey team.”

The hope was that free-agent signing Andrew Ladd would help, along with youngsters like Ryan Strome, Mathew Barzal, and possibly even Michael Dal Colle or Josh Ho-Sang.

That was the hope. Now here’s the reality:

— Ladd has just one assist in 11 games, which sure isn’t what the Isles were banking on when they gave the 30-year-old winger a seven-year, $38.5 million contract on July 1.

— As for the youngsters, Strome has a respectable two goals and three assists, but Barzal has only dressed for two games, while Dal Colle and Ho-Sang are both in the AHL.

John Tavares leads the Isles with five goals, which is predictable. Dennis Seidenberg, a veteran defenseman they signed on the cheap, is second with four. Great for Seidenberg, but probably not sustainable.

— Let’s forget the offense for a moment, because the Isles are tied for 20th in goals-against (3.00), and that may actually be their biggest issue. Neither Thomas Greiss (2-3-0, .908) nor Jaroslav Halak (2-3-1, .908) have been particularly good in net, which isn’t great for GM Garth Snow, who’s trying to trade the latter.

— The Isles are surrendering 31.8 shots per game. That’s the ninth-highest total in the league, and without good goaltending, it’s no recipe for success.

The good news is that the Isles host Edmonton Saturday and Vancouver Monday, and those are both winnable games, especially the second one.

But then comes a very tough stretch in their schedule, including one trip to Florida and another to California:

untitled

Where they’ll be after those nine games remains to be seen. But they’re already in a hole, so the desperation factor better be high.

Julien’s hunch pays off, as Hayes wins it for B’s in shootout

AP
6 Comments

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien had a gut feeling about Jimmy Hayes and was right.

Hayes scored in the 10th round of a shootout, Tuukka Rask won his sixth straight game to start the season and the Bruins beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 on Thursday night.

“Jimmy Hayes is a pretty good shooter,” Julien said. “He’s one of those guys that has a quick release. I felt good about putting him out there. He didn’t disappoint.”

Hayes entered 0 for 4 in shootouts and has gone 26 games without a goal in regulation.

Tampa Bay’s Brayden Point and Boston’s Riley Nash both scored in the fourth round, but Rask and Andrei Vasilevskiy were strong during the shootout as Boston won 2-1.

Brandon Carlo, Ryan Spooner and David Pastrnak scored in regulation for the Bruins, who finished a 3-1 road trip.

“Start a little streak on the winning side of things is a lot more fun for us,” Carlo said. “Plane rides are a lot better back.”

The Lightning got two goals from Tyler Johnson. Victor Hedman had the other Tampa Bay goal in the team’s first home game since a 3-3 trip.

“Clearly, it’s troublesome,” coach Jon Cooper said about Tampa Bay falling behind 2-0. “I thought when the guys got their legs, I thought they played well enough to win the game.”

Johnson redirected Braydon Coburn‘s shot past Rask to tie it 3-all 10:04 into the third period. The goal stood after a video review showed Johnson didn’t score with a high stick.

Rask stopped 27 shots. He has Boston’s longest winning streak to begin a season since Tim Thomas went 8-0 in 2010-11.

Carlo beat Vasilevskiy from along the goal line at 4:01 of the first before Spooner made it 2-0 on the Bruins’ third power-play goal of the season with 9:13 left in the period. Tampa Bay challenged that Boston was offside before Spooner’s goal, but a video review proved inconclusive.

Cooper thought the play was offside.

“We shouldn’t have been down 2-0,” he said.

Related: Beleskey a scratch, Kuraly to make NHL debut for Bruins

 

 

Chychrun, 18, expected to remain with Coyotes

Getty

Jakob Chychrun is a big kid. He’s only 18, but at 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, he’s not your typical teenager.

The fact Chychrun has an NHL-ready physique is part of the reason he’ll reportedly remain with the Arizona Coyotes for more than nine games this season, thus triggering the start of his entry-level contract.

The alternative is to send him back to junior, though considering he logged 23:39 in Tuesday’s 3-2 victory over San Jose, that seems unlikely.

“I’ve worked so hard on my physical fitness and my skating for so many years and I think it has served me well to smooth that transition to the NHL,” Chychrun told Arizona Sports. “I feel with my size and strength and skating ability at this age, it has helped me not feel like I am out of place.”

There have only been a handful of 18-year-old defensemen who’ve lasted a full season in the NHL. The last was Florida’s Aaron Ekblad, who was pretty big and strong himself at that age. Others on the list include Hall of Famers Scott Stevens, Phil Housley and the one and only Bobby Orr.

Chychrun was drafted 16th overall in June, with a pick Arizona traded up to get from Detroit.

Mark Glavin, the assistant general manager of Chychrun’s junior team in Sarnia, told the National Post that Chychrun would’ve been drafted earlier in the first round if he hadn’t been “under the microscope since he was 14 years old,” giving scouts so much time to pick his game apart.

“We felt that he probably didn’t deserve to fall that far, and he’s proving that right now,” said Glavin. “Credit Arizona for that pick.”

The Coyotes have two other teenagers that may or may not get sent back to junior. Forwards Lawson Crouse, 19, and Dylan Strome, 19, have played six and four games, respectively, so the clock is ticking on them.

Of the two, Crouse may be more likely to stay. Like Chychrun, he’s physically ready, while Strome has the talent, but still needs to get bigger and stronger.

But in the end, all three of the teenagers may stay, with the Coyotes choosing to develop them at the NHL level, as opposed to sending them back to a level where they have nothing much to prove.

Arizona hosts Nashville tonight. And with injuries to Martin Hanzal and Tobias Rieder, all three teenagers, plus 20-year-old Christian Dvorak, are expected to be in the lineup for the Coyotes.

The probable forward lines, per NHL.com:

Domi – Martinook – Vrbata
McGinn – Strome – Duclair
Rieder – Richardson – Doan
Crouse – Dvorak – White

Related: Coyotes send Dvorak to the AHL, which could mean an extended opportunity for Dylan Strome 

Report: Tryamkin ‘likely’ to make season debut for Canucks

Getty

For the first time this season, Vancouver Canucks fans might get to see Nikita Tryamkin play.

The big Russian defenseman is “likely” to make his season debut tonight in Ottawa, according to TSN 1040’s Matt Sekeres.

Tryamkin has been a healthy scratch in Vancouver’s first 10 games. The 22-year-old has refused an AHL assignment, choosing instead to wield the KHL out-clause in his contract. When he hasn’t been sitting in the press box, the Canucks have been working him hard, trying to get him into better shape.

The opportunity for Tryamkin comes as Chris Tanev continues to battle a lower-body injury. Tanev returned to action last night in Montreal, but may have to sit again tonight. Vancouver also has Alex Biega available. He’s a right shot like Tanev, while Tryamkin shoots left.

If Tryamkin does get into the lineup tonight, he could skate with Luca Sbisa on the third pairing, with Philip Larsen bumping up to the top pairing with Alex Edler. Tryamkin and Sbisa practiced together a few days ago, before the Canucks departed on a six-game road trip, which began with a 3-0 loss to the Canadiens.

The Canucks continue their trip Saturday in Toronto. If Tanev can’t play tonight against the Senators, he may be available for the Maple Leafs game.

Yesterday, the Canucks sent rookie d-man Troy Stecher back to the AHL. To bring him back up again, they’d have to clear a roster spot.

AV shares key to Rangers’ winning ways

AP

Like most hockey coaches, Alain Vigneault believes that a good defense is the most important ingredient of a good offense.

The Rangers’ head coach shared his thoughts today on his team’s current form, and how everything starts with coming back hard to defend.

“I think the biggest thing about our game right now is we defend well, in the sense that all our forwards are coming back real hard to the house and real quickly, permitting us to outnumber the opposition,” said Vigneault. “And then when we get the puck, it’s just north-south real quick.

“To tell you the truth, it’s not a lot different than my first or second year, if you remember we were one of the better five-on-five offensive teams, even last year as far as scoring. But defensively last year, I don’t think we were as committed to coming back as quick as we possibly could, and getting on the other team and trying to take their skill and their speed and their quickness away.”

Related: The Rangers had a ‘puck-moving’ problem

Indeed, the Rangers (7-3-0) are off to a rollicking start. Their past two outings have seen them blast Tampa Bay, 6-1, and embarrass St. Louis, 5-0. After 10 games, they boast the NHL’s top offense, averaging four goals per game.

“That’s a hell of a team,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock told reporters Tuesday. “They gave us a hell of a lesson. They are playing great team hockey and they just exposed any weakness we had. They exposed it. They’ve done it to a few teams.”

Tonight, the Rangers host the Edmonton Oilers, who are off to a pretty good start themselves, thanks in large part to a former Blueshirts backup. Cam Talbot has started all 10 games for the Oilers, going 7-2-1 with a .932 save percentage.

Prior to getting traded to Edmonton, Talbot started 34 games for the Rangers in 2014-15, the season that saw Henrik Lundqvist miss 24 games after a puck hit him in the throat. 

“When Hank was out for close to two months, Cam came in and played extremely well,” said Vigneault. “I think that’s where he found the confidence in himself to know that he could be a No. 1. That summer at the draft, we gave him the opportunity.”