Radek Martinek

Isles other 2009 first-rounder de Haan wants to stick around


New York Islanders defenseman Calvin de Haan has been waiting awhile to get his chance to prove he can stick in the NHL. He was their second first-round pick in 2009 as some guy named John Tavares went first overall that year.

Now that he’s gotten called up and played against the Washington Capitals on Saturday night, he’d like to seize the opportunity as Arthur Staple of Newsday shares.

“I like to think I’m a realist, so I think [staying in Bridgeport this season] was the plan,” de Haan said Saturday morning. “But I’m here and I want to make the most of it.”

De Haan played in place of Radek Martinek against the Caps last night and got a healthy 20:07 of ice time. It was just his second career game in the NHL after making his first appearance December 15, 2011. Given the Islanders’ problems all over the ice this season, the time is ripe for de Haan to stake a claim to a regular spot in the lineup.

Isles’ MacDonald out 6-8 weeks after hand surgery


Barring a deep run, Andrew MacDonald’s playoffs are done.

That was the story out of New York on Friday as Isles head coach Jack Capuano told reporters MacDonald underwent surgery on his left hand, and would be out 6-8 weeks.

MacDonald, 26, broke his hand during the third period of New York’s 6-4 win in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal against Pittsburgh. He was replaced by Radek Martinek in Game 5.

MacDonald was an integral component of New York’s success this year, appearing in all 48 regular season contests while racking up 12 points, averaging a team-high 23:31 per game.

In four postseason games, MacDonald was again averaging over 23 minutes per game but went scoreless, recording eight shots on goal.

The six-week timetable does leave a window of opportunity open for MacDonald to return if the Isles were able to get to the Eastern Conference final, or beyond.

Vitale, Kennedy to draw in for Pens; Martinek likely for Isles


Looks as though the lineups for tonight’s tilt between the Pens and Isles are coming into shape.

Joe Vitale and Tyler Kennedy appear likely to suit up for the Penguins, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Neither Vitale nor Kennedy has played this series — instead, head coach Dan Bylsma has used the likes of Tanner Glass, Jussi Jokinen and Beau Bennett, all three of whom look to be healthy scratches for Game 5.

“I’m excited to get back out there,” Vitale told the Post-Gazette. “I [hope to bring] a lot of speed, a lot of tenacity, a lot of grit around the net.”

As for the Isles, they’re primed to give Radek Martinek his postseason debut.

New York had a problem to solve on its blueline after Andrew MacDonald — who was averaging over 23 minutes per contest — suffered a broken hand in Game 4, knocking him out of the playoffs.

It appears Martinek will be the solution. For now.

The 36-year-old Czech hasn’t appeared in the playoffs since 2004, but did play in 13 games for the Isles this season, scoring three goals while averaging over 16 minutes per game.

Pekka Rinne, once pepper-sprayed by Finnish pizzeria owner, highlights ’13 Masterton nominee list


The official nominees list is in for the 2013 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy and, if voting is based purely on entertaining anecdotes, Pekka Rinne will be the runaway winner.

Nashville’s Masterton nominee for this season, Rinne had this story attached to his nomination bio:

In the summer of 2006, after Rinne’s first year in North America with the Milwaukee Admirals, he was at a bachelor party in Finland when he was a victim of an assault by a pizzeria owner.

The assailant fired pepper spray into Rinne’s eyes and tackled him. Rinne had to undergo shoulder surgery, which kept him out four months.

“I was still young and right away you’re thinking ‘this is it,’ ” Rinne said in a 2011 article about the incident. “It’s a scary feeling.”

Kudos to whoever wrote this for going into such detail, though now we’re left to wonder why a Finnish pizza joint owner was packing pepper spray. Is this, like, a thing?

Anyway, back to the Masterton…

The award is given annually to the National Hockey League player that “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication” to hockey.

Last year’s winner, Montreal’s Max Pacioretty, captured the award after suffering a concussion and fractured vertebrae (on this hit from Zdeno Chara) to record career-highs in goals (33), assists (32) and points (65).

Each team was asked to submit one player for consideration for this year’s award.

They are:

Western Conference

Andrew Cogliano (Anaheim), Steve Begin (Calgary), Marian Hossa (Chicago), Jean-Sebastien Giguere (Colorado), Vinny Prospal (Columbus), Ray Whitney (Dallas), Patrick Eaves (Detroit), Ryan Smyth (Edmonton), Jonathan Bernier (Los Angeles), Josh Harding (Minnesota), Pekka Rinne (Nashville), James Sheppard (San Jose), Brian Elliott (St. Louis), Shane Doan (Phoenix), Kevin Bieksa (Vancouver).

Eastern Conference

Adam McQuaid (Boston), Jochen Hecht (Buffalo), Dan Ellis (Carolina), Peter Mueller (Florida), Andrei Markov (Montreal), Stephen Gionta (New Jersey), Radek Martinek (New York Islanders), Marc Staal (New York Rangers), Andre Benoit (Ottawa), Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh), Kimmo Timonen (Philadelphia), B.J. Crombeen (Tampa Bay), James Reimer (Toronto), Tom Poti (Washington), Ron Hainsey (Winnipeg).

Isles put Strait (broken ankle) on IR


The Islanders’ 7-0 loss to Philadelphia on Monday was made even worse with the announcement that defenseman Brian Strait suffered a broken ankle.

Strait, 25, has been put on injured reserve and replaced by fellow defenseman Radek Martinek, who was activated to New York’s official roster.

The former Penguins rearguard caught a rut in the second period of the Flyers game and crashed feet-first into the boards, breaking his ankle in the process. Newsday reports the recovery time is 6-8 weeks, and that Strait’s season might be finished.

It’s a tough blow for a guy that only just got his NHL career on track.

Strait was plucked off waivers from Pittsburgh the day prior to New York’s season-opening loss to New Jersey and has since gone on to appear in 15 games, registering four assists with a plus-3 rating while averaging 17:54 in ice time.

On Jan. 31, the Islanders signed Strait to a three-year, $2.3 million extension.