In a move to bring more size and physicality around the net, the Islanders are expected to recall Bridgeport power forwards Matt Martin and Jesse Joensuu in time for practice Monday.
Both Martin and Joensuu are big bodies with offensive upside, something the Islanders have lacked recently in their season-worst seven-game skid. The Islanders have been outscored by an aggregate 27-9 during that span and have not scored more than two goals since January 19, a 6-4 loss to Pittsburgh.
“It’s an opportunity for them to come up here and see where they are as far as their development,” coach Scott Gordon said. “Both those guys are big guys, but they can play with the puck, too.”
Representative of the Islanders need for physicality around the net and toughness in the crease, was their paltry output—only one goal--against Hurricanes goaltender Justin Peters in his NHL debut Saturday.
"We didn't have much traffic in front of him," Moulson said. "He saw almost every shot. Knowing him he's going to make those saves, especially if he sees every shot."
Martin, a fifth-round pick in 2008, has 9 goals and 9 assists in 53 games for the Sound Tigers this season.
Gordon said when he watched him in Bridgeport recently he was struck by Martin’s improved skating.
“[The Bridgeport staff] did a real good job at getting him to play out of his comfort zone. He’s skating lower to the ice, generating more power, and getting to places quicker than in training camp. “
Joensuu, who had one goal in seven games this season for the Islanders, will get a second chance this season to prove himself an everyday NHL'er. The 6-4 207-pound Finn has 11 goals and 22 assists in 46 games for Bridgeport this season.
After a disappointing training camp this summer, the Islanders saw Joensuu experience success by simplifying his game.
“Oh yeah,” Gordon said. “Those games he played with us there was a noticeable difference.”
When asked if an infusion of young guys could provide the team with a spark, or at least a reality check, Gordon said he hopes his players are more motivated than to need such a thing.
“If you need an outside source to jumpstart you, you may find yourself having a jumpstart from the stands rather than on the ice,” he said.
That said, the Islanders meager offense needs to be better.
“No one is playing poorly,” Gordon said. “But we need better than good. We need everyone’s best games.”
To accommodate both Martin and Joensuu, the Islanders will put Josh Bailey (upper-body) on injured reserve, retroactive to Sunday January 31, when he suffered the injury against Florida.
Doug Weight, Trent Hunter and Mark Streit all did off-ice conditioning while the rest of the team participated in a practice open to the public Sunday.
Super Bowl Sunday
Kyle Okposo predicts Colts by 4; Blake Comeau, Jack Hillen and myself are all going with the feel-good team in the Saints.
Scott Gordon (whose Patriots are not in the Super Bowl) said he won't even watch. He's going to go to a movie instead...in fact, he said may even be up for a double-header. That's a football purist if I've ever heard one.