EuroIslanders 2012-13

The NHL is still riding the pine. We are not guaranteed a season in 2013, but if a season were to start, it would be no earlier than January 1st. There would be no Winter Classic, but I’m sure not many would complain if they got to see their team back. All we want is hockey, and it’s so difficult when this cannot be guaranteed, and we’re only a few weeks (at most) away from no NHL hockey until October 2013.

Thankfully for hockey fans, we still have other leagues to watch. Granted, they aren’t always so accessible on TV, but at least we know there’s life out there.

As we cope without our Islanders of New York, keep in mind, we currently have several Islanders of Europe to follow. There are a few Islanders’ players with jobs overseas at the moment, including franchise player John Tavares, and “franchise goalie” Rick DiPietro.. Let’s see what our EuroIslanders of 2013-13 are up to these days.

John Tavares, SC Bern: Yeah…JT is having fun over in Switzerland. Tavares is currently 5th in scoring, behind familiar names such as Tyler Seguin, Linus Omark, Damian Brunner, and Glen Metropolit (former Long Island Jawz star…).  In 22 games, Tavares has blown up for 35 points (14 G, 21 A). All looks well for the Islanders star centre, which should make Islanders’ fans even more anxious for the NHL to start-up again.

Mark Streit, SC Bern: The Islanders Captain is playing alongside our future captain on SC Bern. Streit returned to his home country to play hockey, and like JT, he is not disappointing. Currently listed as a D/F (reminders of Montreal), Streit has registered 22 points (6 G, 16 A) in 26 games, which is good for 4th on the team, and 3rd for defensemen in the Nationalliga A. Even better: his plus/minus is reflecting better defensive play. No, it’s not the NHL, but a +12 looks better than a -27 in any league. Our captain looks appears to be healthy, and in game shape. It’s another reason why Islanders’ fans need this season to get going, especially if the team were to look to trade him in his final year under contract on the Island.

Jesse Joensuu, Assat: Almost forgotten, but Jesse Joensuu signed a one-way deal with the Islanders over the summer. After impressing in the World Hockey Championship, Joensuu rejoined the Islanders after sitting out the previous season. I was actually excited to see the kid play here again, and my excitement was reaffirmed when he went on to score 24 points (11 G, 13 A) in 20 games, which had him at the top of the SM-liiga for a little bit. He even added 67 penalty minutes. Unfortunately, Jesse suffered a hand injury in November, and is expected to miss another month from now.

Frans Nielsen, Lukko Rauma: The Frans is doing Frans things in Finland. Like Joensuu, Nielsen is playing in the SM-liiga while the NHL is on hold. In 22 games, Nielsen has 18 points (3 G, 15 A). His +7 rating is among the top of the league. What else would you expect from Frans? He just plays a sound game. The Islanders seem to be losing a year on his bargain 4-year extension. Let’s get this game back.

Mikko Koskinen, KalPa Kuopio: Forgot about him. The Finnish-native was banished from Bridgeport last season to allow Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson more playing time. The former 2nd-round pick seems to be doing just fine in the SM-liiga, though. Mikko currently holds the 5th-best save percentage (.916) for goalies who played more than 20 games. He has four shutouts on the season, and a low 2.02 goals against average, which is best in the league. With the abysmal goal-tending in Bridgeport right now, you kind of wonder if the Islanders made the right choice in sending him away. Good thing he’s still ours. With NHL-experience, Mikko is a wildcard in the Islanders’ goalie situation.

Josh Bailey, Bietigheim Steelers: I don’t know what to make of Bailey. I think only special players can put together 5 points in a game. Bailey did that once in the NHL last season, and then in his second game in the 2. Bundesliga. Next thing you know, you don’t hear from him on the score sheet. Right now, Bailey has 11 points (3 G, 8 A) in 6 games, but 5 of those points came in one game. Call him Sam Gagner. Give Bailey another year. At least he plays good two-way hockey. Just need him to start making the scoresheet on a consistent basis.

Rick DiPietro, SC Riessersee: Nothing’s changed. Ricky played one game after his hyped-signing, and hasn’t played since. It’s been two months without a game from Rick, but he repeatedly states he is not injured. There’s 100% chance he is. Again, it’s a win-win for the Islanders. If the season comes back, there’s no Ricky to throw off the team at the beginning of the year. He’s already out of the equation.

Michael Grabner, EC VSV: Honesty, cannot find much on Grabner. The EBEL isn’t very accessible, but Grabner seems to be doing alright in his hometown of Villach, Austria. In 17 games, Grabs has 19 points (10 G, 9 A). He’s also still active on Twitter. I maintain that he can score 50 goals any given year, but he has to convert breakaways. I believe he had two goals on 30+ chances last season, yet he still made it to 20 goals.

Lubomir Visnovsky, HC Slovan Bratislava: Will we ever see Lubo play for the Islanders? If the NHL doesn’t come back this season, probably not. Lubo seems to be getting his wish, though. He’s playing in the KHL, where he’s closer to his family. In 23 games, Visnovsky has scored 14 points (6 G, 8A). He should be exciting to see on the Islanders blue-line, but if the NHL season comes back, he will probably fake his own death or something.

As a hockey fan, I’m dying for the NHL to come back. Let’s hope we all get our wish soon. Nobody really knows what’s going to happen, but let’s just hope they get it right. Until next time.

Follow @ChrisTriants

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About the Author: Writes at Islanders Op-Timism. Islanders Season Ticket Holder who tends to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hofstra Graduate currently working at Portnoy, Messinger, Pearl & Associates. I definitely want to end up working within the world of hockey. Blog: E-Mail: Twitter: @ChrisTriants

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