Marek Zidlicky, 39, Defense
Contract: Signed through 2015-16 -- eligible for unrestricted free agency
Season stats: 53 GP - 4 G - 12 A - 16 points - 48 shots - 15:35 ATOI - 48.8 CF Percentage
Marek Zidlicky, 39, Defense
Contract: Signed through 2015-16 -- eligible for unrestricted free agency
Season stats: 53 GP - 4 G - 12 A - 16 points - 48 shots - 15:35 ATOI - 48.8 CF Percentage
This summer, coming to general manager Garth Snow's office near you, the long awaited sequel to the blockbuster hit "The Departed." Frans Nielsen, Kyle Okposo and Matt Martin star in…"The Unrestricted."
Now that we have gotten that poor attempt at humor out of the way, Snow does face some challenges, maybe for the first time in his tenure, in deciding what to do with three very core members of the Islanders organization -- three players who have never worn another sweater in their careers and bring different attributes to the table.
With the unrestricted free agent market looking average yet again outside of superstar Steven Stamkos, Nielsen and Okposo especially will be highly coveted by rival general managers looking to improve their clubs over the summer. Snow will be talking to Nielsen's agent soon and opening up dialogue. As far as Okposo and Martin go, there has been no contact to date and, specifically in Okposo's case, an uphill battle awaits to keep them in the fold.
Ryan Pulock and Ryan Strome will be back in the lineup for Game 4 and Marek Zidlicky and Alan Quine will both be scratched, the team announced prior to the start of the game.
Pulock will be on the third defensive pair with Thomas Hickey and Strome will center the third line with Brock Nelson and Steve Bernier on the wings.
Pulock skated and headed to the dressing room early on Friday, while Zidlicky stayed on for extra work, implying Pulock will be in the lineup.
Islanders D Ryan Pulock could return to the Islanders' lineup for Game 3 against the Lightning, reports Arthur Staple of Newsday.
Head coach Jack Capuano said that once Pulock is healthy, the team will have a tough decision to make.
"Looking at Game 1, there were some matchups that weren't in our favor," Capuano said Thursday, according to Staple. "Ryan's a big guy, he's got the righthanded shot and he helps our power play with that big shot of his. No doubt as we move forward, once he gets healthy, we have some tough decisions to make."
John Tavares may have been the difference on the score sheet, but two Islanders defensemen made big plays the set the stage for the captain's heroics.
With a minute remaining in regulation, Nick Leddy made an incredible end-to-end rush up ice to force a shot on net. That allowed Nikolay Kulemin to get a chance in front that Luongo made a spectacular save, but the puck stayed loose, and Tavares cashed it in to tie the game, 1-1.
Then, with just under 10 minutes remaining in double overtime, Marek Zidlicky made a great positional play to regain the puck after Florida had dumped it deep in the Isles' zone. On the ensuing Islanders possession, Tavares scored the winner to send New York to the second round for the first time since 1993.
Capuano: Greiss in goal, Zidlicky in for Pulock, forwards tbd.- Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) April 22, 2016
Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter
So there we have it. The setup for game five and some gamesmanship being played by Florida head coach Gerard Gallant as well -- the first time we have seen that in the series.
The Islanders are only a few weeks away from filling out a playoff lineup for Game 1 of a first round matchup, but questions remain as to just what mix of guys gives the team its best chance to win a series for the first time in 23 years.
Chief among these is on defense. Provided they get through the next seven games unscathed, Johnny Boychuk, Nick Leddy, Travis Hamonic, Calvin de Haan, and Thomas Hickey are locks. That leaves Brian Strait and Ryan Pulock duking it out to grab the sixth d-man assignment while Marek Zidlicky works his way back from injury.
"[Pulock] knows that when he first got here, when I talked to him, you're going to play some games and you're going to be in and out," head coach Jack Capuano told the New York Post's Brett Cyrgalis, who tackled this very issue. "It's a great experience for him, just being able to practice with our guys, working on his feet. He's still a young kid. That's what it's about, too. I just like the fact that he's getting better every day. That's a big thing for me."
As the final eight games of the regular season get set to unfold, the Islanders faithful is stuck in a strange purgatory. New York's performance has been so uneven this season that it has left fans to wrestle with the notion that a playoff run (or even a playoff berth) is in the cards. Islanders head coach Jack Capuano, though, has a theory on why the Isles haven't been able to sustain their best level of hockey for as long as anyone would like: injuries.
Capuano told Newsday's Steven Marcus the Islanders don't get enough credit for overcoming the rash of injuries they've sustained this season.
"We've got 40 wins this year. Nobody gives this team any credit," Capuano said. "There's some other teams that have had some significant injuries, they struggled. These guys have struggled, but they're competing and they're right in the race. That's what I like about this group. They're battling hard every single day [in] practice, games.''
Our latest edition of a new weekly column here at SNY's Islanders Point Blank, as Andy Graziano and Brian Erni will trade opinions on two of the hot topics working their way around the Islanders and give their two cents.
The Isles picked up just three of a possible eight points this week, dropping games in Boston and Nashville, picking up a point in a shootout defeat in Pittsburgh, and beating Florida with a furious third period comeback. New York wraps up their road trip Saturday in Dallas before heading home to square off against Philadelphia and Ottawa.
Ryan Pulock scored his first NHL goal on Thursday night in Nashville and the early returns on him have been solid. Do you envision Pulock getting significant ice time in the playoffs?
The Pittsburgh Penguins have certainly been encouraged by their recent results, which include a number of lopsided wins.
The New York Islanders are probably feeling even better as they continue their upward surge in the Atlantic Division.
With both coming off big victories, the Penguins visit the Islanders in a crucial division matchup Tuesday night.
The hectic, no-rest-for-the-weary part of the schedule is now upon the New York Islanders as they fight for every last bit of standings points in the NHL's crowded playoff picture.
New York currently sits four points back of the second-place New York Rangers with a game in hand in guaranteed playoff positioning. But they are just one point ahead of the New Jersey Devils (with two games in hand) and two points up on the Pittsburgh Penguins (even in games). It's that thin of a line from being given a playoff spot outside the wildcard to being on the outside looking in.
Looking further at the overall conference picture, Washington and Florida are Nos. 1 and 2 in the standings due to leading their respective divisions. The Capitals, who come to Brooklyn Thursday, are pretty much locked in while Florida has stumbled lately, giving hope to Detroit and Boston that there might be some ground there that they can make up. The third spot in the conference (Rangers) is only separated from the 10th spot (Carolina) by 10 points. The Western conference divide for the same positioning is 15 points.
Brock Nelson had a goal and an assist to key a three-goal second period and the New York Islanders beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-1 on Monday.
Josh Bailey, Marek Zidlicky and Ryan Strome also scored to help New York win for the fourth time in five games overall and fourth straight at home.Thomas Greiss stopped 28 shots to win his fifth straight start and seventh of his last eight, improving to 16-6-2 on the season.
With the Islanders off through the All-Star break, the Islanders Point Blank team took a look back at the first-half of the season. Next up, the team's biggest need, a trade deadline acquisition question, the 2015-16 season and beyond...
The Islanders got off to a poor start against the league-leading Washington Capitals, but it looked like they were about to dig out of it. That is, however, until their fate turned late in the second period.
Brock Nelson scored just under two minutes into the second to cut the Caps' lead to 2-1. Then, shortly after the Isles killed off a high-sticking call on Kyle Okposo, Tom Wilson was sent to the box for unsportsmanlike conduct with just over seven minutes to go in the stanza.
The Isles inundated Braden Holtby with a flurry of shots, but Holtby turned them all aside and Washington killed off the power play. Just six seconds after Wilson left the box and the sides were even, Nate Schmidt blasted a slap shot from just inside the blue line past Jaro Halak to give Washington a 3-1 lead.
Marek Zidlicky had been looking far more comfortable of late, and on Sunday, the Isles veteran d-man notched a few goals to boot.
Zidlicky opened the scoring just under eight minutes into the game, just shortly after an Islanders' power play had expired. He added a second goal with 43 seconds to go in the second when he threw the puck on net and beat Keith Kinkaid.
"Throughout his career, he's been known for his shot," Jack Capuano said of Zidlicky after the game. "It's his release. There's a lot of velocity."
In 27 games this season, Zidlicky has three goals and seven assists.
Zidlicky got off to a rough start this year, and some fans were ready to relegate him to the press box. But how much of that was attributable to being paired with Brian Strait? The way Zidlicky is playing right now, it looks like that may have been the bulk of the problem. Since Thomas Hickey's return, Zidlicky has three points, 11 blocked shots, and is a +2. I'm not blaming all of Zidlicky's early season troubles on Strait, but that pairing together was a liability. Neither could compensate for the other's shortcomings. Now that Hickey is back, it's allowed Zidlicky to focus on the core components of his game, and he looks far more comfortable.
I think as we head down the stretch and into the playoffs, Zidlicky is going to be an important part of this team. He's going to need to be rested occasionally, like he was on Saturday in Columbus. But as long as he is kept on a pairing with Hickey, I think this is turning into a very reliable five-six for the Islanders' blue line that can do a little bit of everything. That added element of depth will be big in keeping the top pairings' minutes down, and hopefully will get the Isles to April fresh and healthy.
NEW YORK -- Marek Zidlicky scored twice and Thomas Greiss made 27 saves for his first shutout of the season to lead the Islanders to a 4-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Sunday, extending New York's streak without a regulation loss to 10 games.
John Tavares and Matt Martin also scored for the Islanders, are on an 8-0-2 stretch and moved into second place in the Metropolitan Division - one point ahead of the crosstown-rival Rangers. The Islanders trailed the Rangers by 11 points entering play on Nov. 25.
The Islanders also improved to 11-4-2 at home in their first season at Brooklyn's Barclays Center.
Less than 24 hours before that, the Isles announced they had signed the veteran defenseman to a one-year deal. Rumors had been swirling for weeks that the two sides had been in talks to hammer out a contract. Zidlicky said everything came together very suddenly.
But, given the defenseman's no-trade clause, the Devils' hands were tied.
"He was aware of the teams that were interested in him. When he has the choice, you then can only make the best transaction that is available," Lamoriello said Monday. "There were other deals out there, yes, if that were a place Marek wanted to go.
The Devils sent four players to Sochi, with Jaromir Jagr, Patrik Elias and Marek Zidlicky representing the Czech Republic and Damien Brunner representing the Swiss.
While the host country, Russia, s one of the favorites, the Canadian team is loaded. Of the 12 teams in the field, there are at least six teams that can make a pretty good case as to why they'll take home the gold medal.
Martin Brodeur stopped all but one Canadiens' shot. It was like watching paint dry while listening to a presentation about a timeshare.
Mark Fayne, a defenseman, who didn't record a point, was the third star of the game. Taking the SATs is more exciting than that.
After last night's win against the Kings, it's time to take another peek at some advanced stats.
The stat I like to use is CorsiOn, which is basically a formula that combines all shots directed towards the net in the offensive zone versus shots towards the net in the defensive zone while each player is on the ice.
- The Devils were outshot 14-2 in the first period, as the Kings dominated the first twenty minutes.
The New Jersey Devils defeated the Boston Bruins 4-3 from TD Garden in Boston. The win brings their record to 2-5-4 on the season.
The Least You Should Know:
By Jeff O'Connor
It's another disappointment.? Another frustrating night and another loss.? But the season-long weakness was actually a strength last night.
It's always great to answer some reader questions, especially now that we have quite a few games worth of information to go on. If you have a question, always feel free to tweet @SNYDevils.
Jonathan Harpula - @Starpula - Larsson for Yakupov? Who says no at this point?
Today we finally lay to rest an offseason of trials and tribulations. No longer can we lament about the losses of old number 17 and 23. It's about the future, and it's about Devils hockey.
The wait is over. In just a few short hours, it begins anew.
Elliotte Friedman noted on HNIC that teams are starting to investigate the idea of trading for Streit and signing him to a new deal before he becomes a free agent.
Brooks does say that the Rangers are expected to look into free agent Marek Zidlicky who has spent the last season and part of 2011-12 with the Devils.
This is a series of posts on the Devils' pending free agents (restricted and unrestricted). We'll cover their strengths and weaknesses and end up with a final verdict on whether we think the Devils should re-sign the player. There will also be a poll at the end of each post so you guys can weigh in with your thoughts.
The Devils did not.
New Jersey ended its disappointing campaign with a flat, uninspired effort in a 4-0 loss to New York at Madison Square Garden.
When: 7:30 p.m. ET; Pregame show at 7 p.m. ET
Where: Prudential Center, Newark, NJ
As I said on Twitter postgame, this was an impressive win for a lot of reasons. Yes, the Devils probably should've played like this at some point during their 10-game slide. No, two more wins like this won't drastically change how we look at the season. However, there were bright spots in this game that lend themselves toward a positive look for next season and it's possible missing the playoffs flipped a switch in the psyche of a lot of these players, which is another topic for another day. As for? tonight's game, some thoughts...
Fortitude: At least for me, the most impressive part of tonight's win came after the Canadiens scored two unanswered, the second of which came including one in the final minute of the second period. We've seen the Devils melt down multiple times in that scenario, giving up an early goal in the third and going on to lose in regulation or in extra play. It's been one of my biggest criticisms of this Devils team, particularly during their recent slide. This team lacked a strong enough mental edge to their game to rebound from "woe is us" moments. Tonight, though, they didn't need a timeout to correct them and while they struggled to get shots on net in the third, they still kept the Canadiens at bay for long stretches. Also, the Habs came out in the third and tried to bully the Devils, who fought right back. Ilya Kovalchuk, for one, went right at the Canadiens after he got hit from behind. Kovy's response, along with the the energy he's played with and the way he drives the train (so to speak), has me wondering if it should be Kovalchuk with the captain's "C" next season. I know Salvador is respected in the room and a lot of guys like him, but would it kill them to give it to Kovy and have Salvador take an "A?" I think it would be a wise move that would help shape the team's mindset going into next season. Food for thought.
A lifeless start, a couple of bad penalty calls and suddenly the Devils were frustrated, losing and on their way to playoff elimination. All in all, a sad but fitting end (as far as playoff chances go) to a season that was flawed from the get-go. Some thoughts...
Two things: When you combine a lack or energy with some questionable officiating, you usually get one of two results. Sometimes the team will take on an "us against the world" mentality, snap out of their funk and go on a tear the rest of the game. That didn't happen today. Instead, the Devils went further into their shell and seemingly quit on the game and essentially their season. Even Martin Brodeur admitted that he felt his teammates gave up when things didn't go their way. The Devils basically mailed in the first period, negating to forecheck or apply any sort of offensive pressure on the Rangers. It was almost like the Devils came out assuming they were already eliminated from the playoffs. While it was a mathematical eventuality, it's still disconcerting to hear players after the game talk about how they knew it was just a matter of time. When you hear stuff like that, you can understand why you get a first period like the Devils had today.
The last time the Devils were in the midst of a lengthy losing streak, Pat Pickens and I got together and debated whether the Devils were in real trouble. Pat was a little more optimistic than me, although we both saw a chance for redemption. Then Ilya Kovalchuk got hurt and the Devils went off the rails. With eight games left, Pat and I faced a simple questions: Will the Devils make the playoffs? What follows is a quick answer to that question followed by a debate over why it happened, how to fix it and whether Pete DeBoer should be part of the solution or on the chopping block.
Marek Zidlicky played his best game this season. The Devils outshot the Buffalo Sabres 39-22 and even scored a power-play goal.
Yet, all that still couldn't translate into a win.
Here's some numerical knowledge that back that up.
Minus-3- Marek Zidlicky's rating in New Jersey's last four games. Zidlicky is a minus-8 overall this year.
Carry on with your day, folks. Oh, and we have no idea if Zids will be in the lineup Thursday against Boston. But that's all secondary.
Zidlicky said yesterday he hadn't been asked to provide a list of teams with whom he'd be willing to accept a deal. Could the Devils be moving him for a scoring forward? It's possible. It's been a season-long suggestion around these parts that Lou Lamoriello move one of his eight NHL defensemen for some help up front. Instead, Lou held on to all eight and dealt picks for Alexei Ponikarovsky, Andrei Loktionov and Matt D'Agostini. The waiting game begins...
If you had to pick a word for tonight's game, it would probably be disappointing. On a night they could've put six points between themselves and the Islanders, the Devils came out of the gate so sluggish someone joked they thought the game started at 7:30. Is it the end-all, be-all? No, but it's not a good sign after being unable to finish off an opponent the past two games. Some thoughts...
10-minute warning: How many times have we talked about the Devils taking 10 or sometimes 20 minutes to show up in a game? Once again, the Devils seem to have tremendous difficulty generating energy to start a game, something coach Pete DeBoer seemed totally flummoxed by. He admitted after the game that the slow start (a trend all season long) was disappointing and said the Devils didn't take the Islanders lightly. OK, fair enough. DeBoer also didn't seem to have an answer for why things started off so sideways and said that he actually tried to be calm in (yet another) first-period timeout. Think about how differently this game goes if the Devils are at least somewhat present for the first half of the first period. I mean, how many timeouts does DeBoer have to call in the first period? Matter of fact -- does anyone have that stat? The bottom line is I shouldn't have to ask that question. This is a veteran team with leaders galore that has been through the ringer. Their coach knows what it takes at this time of the season; everyone from the goalie out knows what it takes. So why are the Devils still having the same problem in April they had in January? One theory is that there's no one in the room willing to overturn a table or kick something across the room. I'm starting to think that might have some merit. Even listening to the few Devils talk after tonight's game, you get the sense that things are too even-keel for a team that's on the edge of the playoff picture. The problem is that's not something you add at the deadline. That's something you need from the get-go, a player that's been through training camp and the dregs of the season in that room. I just don't think they're suddenly going to "figure out" these slow starts and that's going to cost them, either at the end of the season or in the playoffs.
Yet, they still blew a two-goal lead and lost a very important point.
New Jersey scored a shorthanded goal, on its power-play, an even-strength goal and even on a penalty shot. Still, the Devils lost 5-4 to the Tampa Bay Lightning in a shootout on Friday at Tampa Bay Times Forum.
It was almost a storybook return, but history turned out to be too good to be true for Martin Brodeur. Still, after weathering a hectic first 10 minutes, the Devils responded with an excellent overall effort and have ended their most recent losing streak in impressive fashion. Some thoughts...
Marty: It may not have been history, but it was an excellent return for Brodeur, who single-handedly kept the Devils in the game long enough for them to find their sea legs. Brodeur's performance during the first 10 minutes of the first period was the shining example of what we wrote earlier this week. While Johan Hedberg was good enough, he wasn't Brodeur. He didn't have that extra level. Moose was likely to be beaten on the fifth shot of a rapid-fire barrage. Brodeur, on the other hand, was calm, cool, collected and his usual reliable self. Of course, he was blatantly exhausted at the end of that stretch, but thankfully the rest of the team took over from there, shutting the Hurricanes down so well even Drake would've been impressed. But it wasn't just those saves -- or his goal (yes, his goal) -- that stood out for me. It was all the little things that Brodeur does that make him such an excellent netminder even at the age of 40. One of those examples came during the first period when there was a turnover and Alexander Semin came rushing up the gut toward the puck. Moose might've dove at the puck and he might have disrupted Semin enough to be successful. It's a risky proposition we've seen Hedberg both win and lose this season. Instead, Brodeur stayed calm, stayed upright and came out just far enough that he forced Semin to shoot at one of several tiny windows. Semin, of course, nearly scored, rocketing a shot off the post just over Brodeur's shoulder, but that's a nearly impossible shot to make and it's the only one Brodeur gave him. Marty also made at least two or three excellent decision with the puck on his stick, deftly moving the play away from the net and helping the Devils get out of the zone. Brodeur's return will likely be remembered for his incredibly bizarre goal and those frantic first minutes, but it was the things that went unnoticed, things not seen in the box score that impressed me the most.
0- The number of goals David Clarkson's scored since Feb. 15-- a span of 13 games. Clarkson does have one assist in that time frame but is a minus-7.
5- Marek Zidlicky's rank on the Devils' scoring-leaders list. Though he's still a minus-6, Zidlicky has assists in two of the Devils' last three games.
Being that the Devils are at the half-way point of the season (OK, a couple games past it but cut us some slack), we decided to do some ?grades? for this team. Originally, this was supposed to be one full post, but after compiling them, it seems better to break them up into different pieces today. Earlier, we gave you our grades for the forwards. Next up, the defensemen.
Wins don't get much bigger than that. The Devils desperately needed a "W" before tonight's game and it became even more crucial considering the sterling effort they got from Johan Hedberg. As bad as last night was, tonight was a strong, strong effort across the board. Some thoughts...
Moose call: Honestly, that game shouldn't have even gone to overtime. While the Evander Kane goal (Holy shit, what a shot) was unavoidable and basically unstoppable, the Mark Stuart score only happened because Andy Greene had brain fart and tried to play a bouncing puck about a foot in front of Hedberg. If you look on the replay, Hedberg was in perfect position to stop Stuart's shot and likely would have. Now, does that mean the Jets wouldn't have scored another time and forced OT regardless? No, but I use it to point out that Hedberg was about as iron-clad as goalies get, especially backup goalies. Moose had probably his second-best game since taking over the full-time gig and it couldn't have come at a better time. The Devils needed this game in every sense of the word and their goalie delivered. Hedberg doesn't need to play this well every night, but the Devils do need his play to be close to what they've gotten in two of the last three games. The most impressive thing I saw from Moose tonight was how he stayed calm and didn't get overwhelmed or downtrodden after the Stuart goal. We've seen him in past games (Saturday night in particular) give up goals in bunches after the defense lets him down or a bad bounce leads to a goal. Tonight, however, he bounced right back and got better as the game went on. He was the absolute reason the game didn't end before OT and he was the reason they won in a shootout. This was very much a goaltender duel and in the end, Hedberg made a couple more saves when it was necessary. Impressive, indeed. Necessary -- absolutely. Now, let's see if he can do it two games in a row.