Few Clouds 28° Good Morning
Few Clouds 28° Good Morning

Tyler Kennedy, Michal Neuvirth thrilled to be with Islanders

Michal Neuvirth of the New York Islanders skates

Michal Neuvirth of the New York Islanders skates during pregame warmups before the Islanders take on the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center on March 3, 2015 in Dallas. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Tom Pennington

DALLAS - Tyler Kennedy walked out to the ice for his first morning skate as an Islander, sporting an orange warm-up jersey and a big grin.

"How do I look boys? Like a million bucks!" Kennedy was clearly happy to be an Islander, as was Michal Neuvirth, the team's new goaltender. The Islanders are a happy destination these days.

Kennedy was slated to play his first game as an Islander Tuesday night here, but was a late scratch just before warm-ups with an upper-body injury. There was no further word on what caused the injury and whether it is long-term.

Kennedy has strong memories of facing the Isles in his six seasons with the Penguins. He scored 11 of his 84 career goals against them, including his first NHL goal on Nov. 3, 2007, at the Coliseum.

After two unhappy seasons with the Sharks, Kennedy is excited to be back in the East and in familiar territory. He's got fond memories of the 2013 playoff series between the Pens and Isles -- at least now that he's not a Penguin anymore.

"They were really taking it to us," Kennedy said. "We were a team that was [supposed] to win a Cup and they took us to a Game 6, we really knew we were in a series with them. The building was great. It was one of those things I'll never forget."

Neuvirth, who was acquired from the Sabres on Monday for Chad Johnson and a 2016 third-round pick, came to the Isles having played eight straight games for Buffalo the previous two weeks. He won't get that kind of workload now as backup to Jaroslav Halak, but Neuvirth believes his recent play will help him whatever happens.

"It was a good experience, facing a lot of shots, a lot of scoring chances," said Neuvirth, who had a .941 save percentage those last eight games. "I was really happy with my game lately."

Neuvirth actually has a history with a couple Islanders, having briefly played with Josh Bailey for Windsor and John Tavares for Oshawa in the Ontario League in 2007-08. The 26-year-old was eating lunch with his Sabres teammates in Tampa on Monday when one tapped his shoulder and directed him to look at the trade-deadline coverage on television.

"That's how I found out," he said. "I'm happy I end up here with a great team."

New York Sports