Author: Joe Yerdon

New Jersey Devils v New York Islanders

Islanders’ Brooklyn debut gets mixed reviews


Last night saw Barclays Center in Brooklyn get its first shot at hosting hockey as the Islanders faced the New Jersey Devils. While the Islanders came away as 3-0 losers, it was the arena being judged the hardest and the reviews are mixed as Allan Kreda of The New York Times reports.

Coaches and players seemed to love Barclays Center. Isles coach Jack Capuano praised the atmosphere. Travis Hamonic also had a rave review.

“It’s an unbelievably cool place,” he said. “It makes you look forward to being here. I thought the rink was great.”

As for the fans, the people who will have to pay hundreds of dollars for tickets, there were some complaints.

“You get the creature comforts of a new arena, but I was unimpressed with the spectator area,” 23-year-old Megan Leach said. “There were a lot of terrible sight lines.”

When the New York Islanders announced they would be moving to Brooklyn in 2015, fans were curious how a building constructed without hockey in mind, Barclays Center, would work out. Now they have an idea what needs to be worked out before the team is there full-time.

Related: Video: Devils’ Jacob Josefson scores first goal in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center

Eakins on Yakupov: ‘The kid is so much fun to watch play’

Nail Yakupov

During Edmonton’s 5-2 win over Vancouver last night in preseason action, forward Nail Yakupov scored late in the third to put the game on ice at 4-2. With a rip of a wrist shot he beat Eddie Lack and then holstered his stick as if he were an Old West gunman.

It’s all part of the package with Yakupov and Oilers coach Dallas Eakins enjoys every bit of what he brings to the game as Joanne Ireland of the Edmonton Journal shared.

“The kid is so much fun to watch play,” he said. “When he gets the puck everybody leans forward… to see what he’s going to do.”

Yakupov’s flashy play and exuberance found ways to rub some folks the wrong way last season. His celebration after scoring to miraculously tie up a game against the Kings last season saw him recreate Theo Fleury’s knee-slide celebration. It was so much that even Don Cherry said he “acted like an idiot” by doing that.

All in all, however, it’s almost refreshing to see a player enjoy doing what he does as much as he does. As for Yakupov’s goal last night, have a look at it here.

Stars send ’12 first-rounder Faksa back to juniors

Radek Faksa

The Dallas Stars confirmed what they said over the summer and won’t rush 2012 first-round pick Radek Faksa to the NHL.

The team announced they’re sending the 19-year-old Czech back to the OHL Kitchener Rangers. Faksa was taken 13th overall in last year’s draft and they’re hoping he’ll be one of their top centers soon.

Last season with Kitchener, Faksa had his season hampered by a MCL strain. He played in just 39 games scoring nine goals with 22 assists. In the OHL playoffs, he had four goals and two assists in 10 games. Two years ago, his first in the OHL, he had 67 points in 62 games leading to his lofty position in the draft.

Coyotes release Latendresse from PTO

Guillaume Latendresse

Guillaume Latendresse won’t be suiting up for the Phoenix Coyotes this season.

The team announced they released the seven-year veteran winger from his professional try-out agreement. Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports says the team had until this weekend to make a decision to sign him to a contract or not. He’s now free to scope out other opportunities.

In Coyotes camp, Latendresse got off to a quick start with two goals and two assists in two games. With his big body frame and offensive skills, he could get a look elsewhere soon. What’s always held his career back are the injuries, most notably were his concussion issues.

Last season, Latendresse played with Ottawa and had six goals and four assists in 27 games. The last time he played nearly a full season was 2009-10 when he appeared in 78 games split between Montreal and Minnesota.

NHL looking at various sites for Washington’s Winter Classic

Nationals Park

With the announcement of the Washington Capitals hosting the 2015 Winter Classic, the speculation on just where the game is played can begin. While the Caps will host it, who they’re playing and where they’ll play the game is still to be decided.’s Chuck Gormley was on hand at Capitals Convention for today’s announcement, and NHL Chief Operating Officer John Collins says there are four possible locations in the region they’re looking at.

“Obviously, Nationals Park, with the relationship with Ted [Leonsis], but also the fact it’s a new ballpark [opened in 2008]. It’s a phenomenal ballpark. It’s downtown, it’s got a lot of the charm and element we like.

“We’ve been there and we know how good a ballpark it is. It’s available. I don’t think they’re playing baseball January 1. I would say that would be one of the first. But we’ll look at RFK. We’ll talk to FedEx. We’ll look at Camden Yards. We have blue skies for a little while and then we’ll focus on getting a deal done with one of the venues.”

The mention of Camden Yards in Baltimore is a curious one as it’s the more picturesque of the two baseball stadiums, yet Nationals Park is located in downtown Washington. Considering all Caps owner Ted Leonsis has done to get the game in Washington, you’d think he’d want it actually in the city, but he says that decision is up to the NHL and that’s OK.

Both FedEx Field and RFK Stadium would offer more seating than either Nats Park or Camden Yards, but the NFL schedule could keep them out of FedEx and RFK’s lack of aesthetics might keep the NHL away from there.

If they want a football stadium and they’re already scoping out Baltimore, perhaps M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Baltimore Ravens, could be in play.