Behind Enemy Lines: 5 Questions with Islanders Insight

Andy Graziano (Twitter)

Andy Graziano (Twitter)

Andy Graziano of Islanders Insight and I decided it would be a great idea to go behind enemy lines and ask five questions each about the Rangers and Islanders.

The goal was to provide our readers with the opposition’s perspective heading into tonight’s big game at the Garden between the two bitter rivals. I thank Andy and Islanders Insight for their time and we hope you enjoy the read. Head on over to their website for my answers to their five questions.

GOING FULLTILT OVER ISLANDERS-RANGERS MATCHUP

FullTilt: The Islanders have been outstanding this season. Many felt they could contend for a playoff spot but here they are battling for the division. What do you feel are the main reasons for this?
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Islanders Insight: The Islanders have arrived here on new found depth on offense. They are still not the best team defensively, their goals against and penalty killing statistics proving that point. Simply put, they are outscoring teams. John Tavares has been outstanding since Kyle Okposo went down but truth be told, New York has a record of 14-5-0 when he does not record a point. That is unheard of and could not be further from the reality on past Isles teams. And no matter how they are doing it, they are winning games in their own division (18-2-0) and conference (27-10-1).

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FullTilt: The trade deadline is coming up, Kyle Okposo is injured and they have some UFA’s to make decisions on. What do you think happens with the Islanders come March 2nd.
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Islanders Insight: I think they take a look around the league for depth but remain quiet. General manager Garth Snow is very guarded when it comes to moves so any rumors need to be taken with 10 spoonfuls of salt. They also are big on character guys in the dressing room and are very leery of upsetting team chemistry, which is at an all-time high right now. The moves that Snow made to get the Islanders to this point were made in the summer when he went out and scored huge in the free agent and trade fronts. Also hurting his bargaining position is the lack of a 1st or 2nd round pick in the upcoming entry draft in Florida. As far as free agents, they are already talking extensions with Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy. Leddy is restricted so Snow holds most of the cards there. Boychuk is 60-40 IMO to remain on the Island. All other free agents will be signed with not much difficulty.
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FullTilt: The last seaon on Long Island, I know you’ve been on top of it but what are your thoughts about the move to Brooklyn and more importantly – what will the Nassau Coliseum be like on Mar 10th for the last NYR/NYI game?
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Islanders Insight: It should be as it has been all season long. Absolutely crazy. The fans have come out and ‘celebrated’ the team’s last in Uniondale with a lot of passion and the players have noticed and responded with a 20-6-0 record at home, including 11-0-0 against division opponents. The ‘yes,yes,yes’ chant has grabbed hold of not only the fanbase but the players as well, something you just don’t see every day. In terms of Brooklyn, I believe the move will be a good way for the team to play in a more modern building that they deserve and attract a new sub-set of fans to the brand. Most of the diehards currently purchasing seats at the Coliseum will make the trek. I think that part of the discussion has been blown a little out of proportion.
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FullTilt: Jaro Halak and the Islanders have dominated the Rangers this year – why have they had such success in your opinion?
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Islanders Insight: They have just wanted it more. The Rangers have long been the big brother from Manhattan and the Islanders are trying to capture anything they can from them leading into their move closer to Manhattan. Jaroslav Halak, as you mentioned, has been a big reason why. He has shown a clutch big-game mentality in the past and I think that really comes to fruition when these two teams meet. The Islanders so far in the first three meetings have been able to bottle the Rangers up in the neutral zone and not allow them to use their terrific overall team speed to the outside entering the offensive zone. And they have stayed primarily out of the penalty box, a big driver for Islanders success in any game with such a lackluster penalty killing unit.
Rangers v. Islanders

Rangers v. Islanders

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FullTilt: What do you think about tonight’s game at the Coliseum? Can the Rangers “upset” the Islanders?
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Islanders Insight: Predictions are not my favorite thing, as I am usually wrong about almost every one I make. Both teams are playing extremely well coming in (Isles 4 straight wins, Rangers 9 wins in last 13) but without Lundqvist, it will be really interesting to see how the Rangers fare against the Isles offense with Cam Talbot in the other goal. As we saw Saturday night, when the Isles turn it on, they are extremely difficult to handle. Personally, I can see this game being a true playoff preview, atmosphere and all and should be a treat for both fanbases. That’s really all you can ask for out of a hockey game. Whether an Islanders fan or Blueshirt backer making the trip, I can’t see anyone going home not getting their money’s worth.
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Andy Graziano

Founder / Editor-in-chief
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Behind Enemy Lines: 5 Questions with Islanders Insight
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Behind Enemy Lines: 5 Questions with Islanders Insight
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Andy Graziano of the Islanders Insight and I decided it would be a great idea to go behind enemy lines and ask five questions each about the Rangers and Islanders.
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One comment

  • As a lifelong member of the Blueshirt Brotherhood(started following hockey when there were still only 6 teams)——-I saw the Icelanders getting better every year and THEY HAVE ARRIVED! LET’S GO RANGERS!!!#!

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