Isles Files

Your source for behind-the-scenes New York Islanders hockey news and information.

Idea: Maybe Isles should trade for Michael Del Zotto

Rangers defender Michael Del Zotto is seen on

(Credit: Getty Images)

The Islanders are in trouble on defense -- bigger trouble now that Thomas Hickey, one of the few remaining reliable defensemen, is likely out.

The Rangers need to make a change and want Michael Del Zotto to be the one moving out.

Here is a not-so-modest, but sensible, proposal: A real trade between the Isles and Rangers.

Garth Snow has been working the phones to find a defenseman...

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Isles in need of a win now

Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Jeff Zatkoff stops a shot

(Credit: AP)

PHILADELPHIA - Must-win on Saturday night? You bet.

It’s come to this for the Islanders, playing their 25th game of the season against the Flyers. They have lost six straight on the road, are 2-7-0 in the last nine and come into play tonight in last in the Metro Division -- they are four points out of third, but still.

Nearly everyone around them is headed upwards, most of all Saturday’s...

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Thomas Vanek back, Brock Nelson out for Penguins game

Brock Nelson celebrates his first-period goal during a

(Credit: Jim McIsaac)

PITTSBURGH -- Jack Capuano said he wants to go with a more veteran lineup against the Penguins on Friday night, so he’s shuffled the deck a bit.

Thomas Vanek is back, and that was a no-brainer. After missing five games with a strained upper-body muscle, Vanek did not even need to skate Friday morning to pronounce himself ready to go for the first time in nearly two weeks. He’ll be back with...

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Islanders hope to turn it around, avoid last place in Metropolitan Division

John Tavares looks on during a game against

(Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke)

Pittsburgh -- There are two words the Islanders hoped never to hear again in describing their team, words that are now looming close -- as close as the result from Philadelphia on Thursday night.

Last place.

If the Flyers beat the Sabres on Thursday, they will leapfrog the Isles and Blue Jackets, leaving the Isles tied at 19 points with Columbus but with fewer regulation/overtime wins....

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Test of leadership for Isles, Tavares

Toronto Maple Leafs' Jay McClement, left, battles for

(Credit: AP)

TORONTO -- A few thoughts on the latest blah performance from the Islanders here on Tuesday night:

-- The players kept the doors to the locker room closed for a few extra minutes after the game. They did the same thing after the loss in Columbus 10 days earlier. It wasn’t exactly a cure-all then, and I think these players-only meetings can be a bit overblown at times.

Nearly every Islander...

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Michael Grabner expected the scratch

Michael Grabner of the Islanders skates against the

(Credit: Jim McIsaac)

TORONTO -- Michael Grabner says he felt this move coming on.

Grabner will be a healthy scratch on Tuesday night here against the Leafs, the first time he’s missed a game without an injury or the impending birth of his son since Oct. 9, 2010, shortly after he was claimed off waivers from the Panthers.

“Everybody knows what my role is and I haven’t scored a point in 12 games,” Grabner...

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Still no timetable for Visnovsky, Strait

Lubomir Visnovsky skates during a game against the

(Credit: Jim McIsaac)

The most maddening part for Jack Capuano and Garth Snow regarding the two injured defensemen, Lubomir Visnovsky and Brian Strait, is that both players’ injuries are so nebulous.

Visnovsky still has not reported back symptom-free to the team, now 29 days after suffering a concussion. Even when Visnovsky, who was sent to a specialist in Minnesota two weeks ago for an exam, does finally get to...

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Faceoffs a problem for Isles

Islanders' John Tavares skates against the Buffalo Sabres

(Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke)

Despite his slow start, Casey Cizikas is still the best faceoff-taker on the team, winning 48.9 percent (133 of 267) of his draws entering Saturday night. The Isles as a team entered play on Saturday winning only 44.9 percent of their faceoffs, 29th in the league, ahead of only the Flames.

That’s not a death sentence as far as the postseason is concerned -- the Ducks and Avalanche are in the...

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Casey Cizikas has struggled amid high expectations

Kevin Poulin and Casey Cizikas of the Islanders

(Credit: Jim McIsaac)

John Tavares was known earlier in his young career for being a player who had trouble letting go of rough nights. There were plenty of those for Tavares as a teenaged star on a losing Islanders team; now, at the ripe old age of 23 and wearing a captain’s “C” on his sweater, Tavares has learned how to channel his frustration and have the short memory needed to survive and succeed in the NHL.


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Thoughts after Thursday night's loss

Casey Cizikas scores a second-period goal past Ben

(Credit: Jim McIsaac)

A few thoughts before the Wings come to town on Saturday and I take off for the weekend -- you’ll be in Jim Baumbach’s capable hands for Saturday night game coverage:

-- Thursday night was a real stinger, and it was evident after the game. Jack Capuano usually tries to zig when everyone else zags, so his mild postgame comments are not a sign of denial. He’s not one to pile on when he sees...

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